Classical vs. Modern: Crêpes Suzette

enri Charpentier claims to have accidentally invented crêpes Suzette in 1895 when he was a 14-year-old assistant waiter at the Maitre at Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris.In his autobiography, “Life à la Henri”, he recalls serving the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom: “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?” Charpentier served the dish anyway, and the prince loved it so much that he requested it be named for a young woman who was in attendance. Thus, one of the most popular desserts in the world was born. There are other origin stories, but this one is perhaps the most fun to imagine.However it was invented, crêpes Suzette has become a classic, essential recipe. “Writing a menu with a classical dish on it brings a nostalgic feeling to your guests,” says Tracy Morris, CWPC, executive pastry chef at the Chevy Chase Club in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

“Having classic skills such as segmenting citrus, caramelizing sugar and making crêpes is a great way to not only keep your skills fresh, but also a tool to be able to teach pastry cooks and interns the basics before getting into more modern techniques.”

Morris joined forces with Lydia LeMasters, CEC, the Chevy Chase Club’s chef de cuisine (and her former teammate on ACF Culinary Youth Team USA 2016) to create two versions of crêpes Suzette. LeMasters chose to make a gluten-free version.

“Today we have the ability to make substitutions for dietary restrictions that creates a good product,” she says. “Being able to make a modern take on a classical dish showcases traditional flavor profiles with contemporary techniques.”


Classical: Crêpes Suzette

Classical Recipe by Tracy Morris, CWPC Executive Pastry Chef, The Chevy Chase Club

Crêpes Suzette is a traditional French dish of a thin dessert pancake served with an orange and brandy sauce and flambéed.

When served in restaurants it is common for crêpes Suzette to be made tableside.

The components of the traditional dish are crêpes, sauce and orange segments.

Click here for the classical recipe.

Helpful Hints

When mixing the crêpe batter, make sure there are no lumps in the mixture.

The easiest method of putting the crêpe batter in the pan is to use a ladle.

Flambé means to briefly light on fire to cook off alcohol.
To emulsify means to remove it from the heat and stir consistently.


Modern: Gluten Free Crêpes Suzette

Modern Recipe by Lydia LeMasters CEC Chef de Cuisine, The Chevy Chase Club

The modern crêpes Suzette is a gluten-free version. The recipe uses Cup 4 Cup flour, a gluten-free product that can be substituted into any recipe using a 1:1 ratio.

This version of the dish is plated, rather than made tableside.

The plated components are gluten free crêpes, Grand Marnier caramel, orange pearls, whipped mascarpone, salted almond oat crumble, bourbon ice cream.

Click here for the modern recipe.

Helpful Hints

Included is the wet method of making caramel, meaning that there is water added to the sugar to help in the caramelizing process. The dry method omits the water.

Moving the pot around on the heat when making the caramel will help to evenly cook it.

After you remove the caramel pot, the mixture will immediately bubble up, but don’t stop stirring.

If the olive oil is extremely chilled when making the pearls, the pearls will form a more spherical shape.

For the oat crumble, make sure to get certified gluten-free oats. Oats are gluten-free, however, mass-produced varieties may be contaminated by wheat.

When heating the ice cream mixture, watch for a nappe stage, which should coat your spatula.