The smallest things give me the greatest pleasure, like the first bite of a crepe on a lazy Sunday morning. A tender crepe lightly coated with berry drippings and powdered sugar always says ‘weekend’ to me like nothing else.
I usually prepare my crepes with a simple, four-berry jam. But on this day, I woke up feeling adventurous. Playing on the crepe suzette theme, I grabbed a jar of orange marmalade, scooped out a few spoonfuls into a saucepan, added lemon zest, lemon juice, and a splash of Grand Marnier.
Auguste Escoffier's suzette recipe, published in Larousse Gastronomique, mixes tangerine juice, Curacao, and olive oil in the batter and lets it set for two hours before cooking. Escoffier then melts more than a half stick of butter mixed with tangerine juice and zest on top.
My quickie version uses Grand Marnier instead of Curacao and marmalade instead of butter as the base of the sauce, which makes this dish healthier without losing the flavor. Sorry, Escoffier, it’s a healthier world now -- at least in this household!
Quickie Crepes Suzette
For the crepes (makes 9 – 10 crepes, depending on pan size)
¾ cups Italian tipo '00' flour or all-purpose flour*
¾ cups milk
½ cup warm water
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
For the sauce
5 heaping spoonfuls of orange marmalade
1 tablespoon Gran Marnier
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon of butter
Combine all the ingredients and whisk or blend until smooth. Let the batter rest for at least a half hour.
Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the orange marmalade, the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the Grand Marnier and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve.
Heat a crepe pan on medium-high heat. Add about a teaspoon of butter to the pan. I like to use a silicone pastry brush to spread the butter evenly across the pan to limit the amount of extra butter between crepes. When the butter sizzles, the pan is ready.
Using a soup ladle, scoop one ladle full of batter (or slightly less depending on the size of your pan) onto the pan's surface and quickly distribute across the pan evenly by lifting the pan and rolling it around. When the underside begins to pull away from the sides and brown, flip the crepe to its backside with a spatula using a metal spatula (rubber spatulas will stick to the crepe's surface). Cook the second side for about 30 seconds, then place the crepe on a plate in a warming oven at 200 degrees and continue until the batter is used.
To serve, fold several crepes over like envelopes on a plate, and pour the sauce over the top.
*Lately, I’ve been experimenting with Italian ‘tipo 00’ flour. After years of crepe-making with all-purpose flour, I found that crepes made with ‘00’ flour are thinner, more tender, and eggier – exactly what I think a crepe should be. You can find a great explanation of the difference between all purpose and 00 flour on Joe Pastry's terrific blog.