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Crêpe Suzette

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Crêpe Suzettes are usually flamed at the diner's table

Crêpe Suzette is a French dessert. It consists of paper-thin crêpes, an orange flavored butter, a sauce of caramelized sugar, butter, orange juice, and zest, and an orange flavored liquor. The dish is usually flamed.

Origin[edit | edit source]

The origin of the dish is disputed, but it was well known in the late 19th century. One legend says the dish was created in 1895 at the Maitre at the Café de Paris in Monte Carlo for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, and his guest, a beautiful French girl named Suzette.

Café de Paris, Monte-Carlo, 1899

Fourteen year old waiter Henri Charpentier was waiting on the Prince's table and recalls in his autobiography: "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."

The Comédie Française

One legends says it was named in honour of French actress Suzanne Reichenberg (1853–1924), who worked professionally under the name Suzette. In 1897 at the Comédie Française, she played a maid preparing crêpes. It was decided to flame the dish to keep it warm for the actors who were about to eat it.

Process[edit | edit source]

Several crêpes are spread with an orange juice/orange zest butter. The crêpes are folded into fourths and arranged in a chafing dish filled with a warm orange/butter sauce. The orange liquor is added and flamed. The crêpes are ready to serve, but vanilla ice cream, raspberries, strawberries, or other fruits are sometimes added.

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