Classic Crepes Suzette

This is a qualifier for my 1960s recipe revival. There was a time when this recipe was certainly overexposed, but now that it has become a forgotten rarity, we can all re-appreciate its undoubted charm, which remains in spite of changes in fashion.

Serves 6

This recipe is taken from The Delia Collection: Puddings

Classic Crepes Suzette
For the crepes:
 4 oz (110 g) plain flour
 a pinch of salt
 2 large eggs
 7 fl oz (200 ml) milk, mixed with 3 fl oz (75ml) water
 grated zest of 1 medium orange
 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
 2 oz (50 g) butter, melted
For the sauce:
 5 fl oz (150 ml) orange juice (from 3-4 medium oranges)
 grated zest of 1 medium orange
 grated zest and juice of 1 small lemon
 1 tablespoon golden caster sugar
 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier, Cointreau or brandy, plus a little extra if you are going to flame the pancakes
 2 oz (50 g) unsalted butter

You will also need two solid-based frying pans, one with a 7 inch (18 cm) base diameter and the other with a 10 inch (25.5 cm) base, some kitchen paper, greaseproof paper, a palette knife or flexible pan slice, and a ladle.


First of all, to make the crepes, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl with the sieve held high above the bowl so the flour gets an airing. Now make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Then begin whisking the eggs - any sort of whisk or even a fork will do - incorporating any bits of flour from around the edge of the bowl as you do so. Next, gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, still whisking (don't worry about any lumps - they will eventually disappear as you whisk). When all the liquid has been added, use a rubber spatula to scrape any elusive bits of flour from around the edge into the centre. Then, add the orange zest and caster sugar and whisk once more until the batter is smooth, with the consistency of thin cream. Now spoon 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into the batter and whisk it, then pour the rest into a bowl and use it when needed to lubricate the pan, using a wodge of kitchen paper to smear it round. Next, get the 7 inch (18 cm) pan really hot, then turn the heat down to medium and to start with, do a test crepe to see if you're using the correct amount of batter. I find 11/2 tablespoons about right. It's also helpful if you spoon the batter into a ladle so that it can be poured into the hot pan in one go.

As soon as the batter hits the hot pan, tip it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated with batter. It should take only half a minute or so to cook; you can lift the edge with a palette knife to see if it's tinged gold as it should be. Flip the crepe over with a pan slice or palette knife - the other side will need a few seconds only - then simply slide it out of the pan on to a plate. If they look a bit ragged in the pan, no matter, because they are going to be folded anyway. You should end up with 15-16 crepes, and as you make them, stack them between sheets of greaseproof paper.

For the sauce, mix all the ingredients - with the exception of the butter - in a bowl. At the same time warm the plates on which the crepes are going to be served. Now melt the butter in the larger frying pan, pour in the sauce and allow it to heat very gently. Then place the first crepe in the pan and give it time to warm through before folding it in half and then half again to make a triangular shape. Slide this on to the very edge of the pan, tilt the pan slightly so that the sauce runs back into the centre, then add the next crepe. Continue like this until they're all re-heated, folded and well soaked with the sauce.

You can flame them at this point if you like. Heat a ladle by holding it over a gas flame or by resting it on the edge of a hotplate then, away from the heat, pour a little liqueur or brandy into it, return it to the heat to warm the spirit then set light to it. Carry the flaming ladle to the table over the pan and pour the flames over the crepes before serving on the warmed plates.

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