A French Classic Fit for a King
We love it when wonderful things happen by accident. Such was allegedly the case when Maitre at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris assistant waiter Henri Charpentier – just 14 years old in 1895 – accidentally set some cordials that were near the chafing dish he was using on fire. Adding more stress to this precarious situation, the Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) was the VIP Henri was serving that day. Rather than keep the royal waiting and begin again, Henri snuck a taste of the flambéed syrup and found that the flavors melded beautifully, so he served the prince to rave reviews. And so, according to Henri’s autobiography, one of the world’s favorite French desserts was born.
It’s not known for sure whether this dramatic origin story also began the tradition for Crêpes Suzette to be prepared tableside, flames and all – which has our mouths watering for evenings in Waterside – but this display only adds to the specialness of the dish. And with every bite, the candied citrus flavors combine with the buttery burst of cognac and Grand Marnier, recalling the decadence of French cuisine. This Sunday, Chef Jon Ashton takes our taste buds to the patisseries and cafés that line the cobbled avenues of places like Rouen, Marseille, St-Tropez, Bordeaux and other French destinations that fill our Crystal Cruises bucket lists.
Check the detailed recipe below, prep your pantry and plan to join us LIVE for Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton on Sunday, September 20 on the Crystal Cruises Facebook page. We’ll see you in the kitchen.
Chef’s Note: These crêpes taste great with vanilla whipped cream or ice cream.
By Chef Jon Ashton
Ingredients for Crêpes:
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (177 ml)
1/2 cup water (125 ml)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan
Ingredients for Sauce:
3 tablespoon Cognac, plus 1 extra tablespoon (divided).
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (85 g)
1/4 cup sugar, plus a little for sprinkling on crepes (45 g)
1 cup fresh orange juice (237 ml)
1 tablespoon grated orange zest (15 g)
2 tablespoon Grand Marnier (30 ml)
In a blender, combine all of the crêpe ingredients and pulse for 10-20 seconds to mix batter. Place the crepe batter in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
Remove batter and heat a non-stick pan.
Brush a little butter to coat bottom of pan. Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the center of the pan, and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30-60 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to cutting board. Lay crêpes out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone. Cover with plastic wrap.
Add 3 tablespoons of Cognac to non-stick pan. Heat pan to medium high and ignite Cognac and shake pan until flames subside. Now, add butter, sugar, orange zest and orange juice to cognac; simmer briskly over high heat, whisking occasionally, until many large bubbles appear and mixture reduces to a thick looking syrup, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in zest, Grand Marnier, and remaining cognac into sauce. Cover to keep warm.
Fold each crêpe in half, then in half again to form wedge shape. Arrange folded crêpes on oven tray. Sprinkle crêpes evenly with a little extra sugar. Place tray in oven and broil until sugar caramelizes and crêpes turn spotty brown, about 3-5 minutes. (Please keep an eye on crepes, as they can scorch; turn pan as necessary.) Remove pan from oven and transfer crêpes to individul serving dishes and drizzle with sauce. Serve immediately.
Crystal’s Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are. “Sunday Cooking with Chef Jon Ashton” represents the culinary excellence found aboard Crystal ships, as some of the greatest travel memories are created over the greatest meals.