Reputedly this dish was invented in 1895 by French chef Henri Charpentier, then a youthful assistant waiter at Monte Carlo's Café de Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of England, and his companion Suzette. In Charpentier's autobiography Life à la Henri he tells the story as follows:
"It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I 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 melody 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 Crepes 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 Crepes Princesse to Crepes 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."
Whether or not you accept the veracity of his story, this dessert is delicious and is possibly the most spectacular dessert you could ever serve.
|1 C. milk (divided)
sm. pinch salt
2 T. sugar
2/3 C. flour
7 T. butter, melted then slightly cooled
½ C. Gran Marnier orange liqueur (divided)
additional sugar for sprinkling
Pour two-thirds of a cup of milk into a bowl. Add salt, sugar, eggs and flour. Beat well. Mix in remaining milk, cooled melted butter and 2 T. Gran Marnier. Cook each crepe in butter, sprinkle with sugar and fold into quarters.
To serve, array the crepes on a flame proof serving dish, pour the remaining Gran Marnier over the top, then ignite to flambé. Makes about 4-5 crepes, which is about 4 small servings or 2 large servings.
Fire danger! Take proper precautions including avoiding flambéing near flammable materials, and have a fire extinguisher on hand!
Note: See Basic Crepes for more detailed information on how to prepare crepes.
Note: I intend to introduce orange zest and possibly orange juice into this recipe's sauce the next time I prepare it.
Credit: My own original recipe... Or maybe it's Henri Charpentier's original recipe.
Filed under Desserts Tagged French, desserts