Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crêpe Suzette

"Crêpe Suzette (pronounced: [kʁɛp syzɛt]) is a French dessert consisting of a crêpe with beurre Suzette, (pronounced: [bœʁ syzɛt]), a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier or orange Curaçao liqueur on top, served flambé."

"The origin of the dish and its name is somewhat disputed. One claim is that the dish was created out of a mistake made by a fourteen year-old assistant waiter Henri Charpentier in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, whose guests included a beautiful French girl named Suzette."

"This is told by Henri Charpentier himself in Life a la Henri, his autobiography, although later contradicted by the Larousse dictionary."

"It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought it was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious medley of sweet flavors I had ever tasted. I still think so."

"That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crêpes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present."

"She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little skirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. 'Will you,' said His Majesty, 'change Crêpes Princesse to Crêpes Suzette?' Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane."

Crêpe Suzette with raspberries photo by StuSpivack at Flickr"Different sources (like the Larousse Gastronomique) however doubt that Charpentier was serving the prince instead of the head waiter because he would have been too young."

"The other claim states Crêpes Suzette was named in honor of French actress Suzanne Reichenberg (1853–1924), who worked professionally under the name Suzette. In 1897, Suzette appeared in the Comédie Française in the role of a maid, during which she served crêpes on stage. Monsieur Joseph, owner of Restaurant Marivaux, provided the crêpes. He decided to flambé the thin pancakes to attract the audience's attention and keep the food warm for the actors consuming them. Joseph was subsequently director of the Paillard Restaurant in Paris and was later with the Savoy Hotel in London."

"In 1896, Oscar Tschirky published the recipe as "Pancakes, Casino Style" with everything in place except the final flambée. This appears on page 629 of his book published in New York, The Cook Book by "Oscar" of the Waldorf."

"The dish was already a specialty of the French restaurant Marie's by 1898 (Paris Vécu, L. Daudet, 1929)."

Oscar Tschirky's Pancakes, Casino Style

Rub fifteen lumps of sugar on two whole orange peels; also rub five pieces of
sugar on two vanilla sticks; take one wineglass of curaçao and a pony of brandy,
together with half a pound of fresh butter and mix the whole together until the sugar is dissolved, and the mass forms a paste. After having your pancakes prepared as shown for plain pancake [*plain pancake instructions below], take a chafing-dish and use for each pancake one tablespoonful of the above preparation.

Place the preparation in the chafing-dish and when it is hot, put one pancake into it, and leave it there for about a minute, and turn your pancake over for the same operation as before; keep on doing the same thing for every pancake. It is proper to do this at the table as soon as the pancake is done, and serve it to your guest.

*Plain Pancakes

Mix two teaspoonfuls of flour with a little salt. Beat the yolks of four eggs and the whites of two, a few drops of orange flour water, and then stir this in with the flour. Butter a small omelet pan, and when hot, pour in a small quantity of the batter, bake until brown, then turn and brown the other side. Roll up the pancake, put it on a hot dish, and keep near the fire till all are made. Arrange them on an ornamental dish-paper on a hot dish, sprinkle a little sugar over, and serve.

Text Credits: || Wikipedia

Image Credit: Wikipedia

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