Put the butter and sugar in a large shallow nonstick frying pan and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour in the citrus juices and the Grand Marnier and cook for another 5 minutes.
Put 2 cooked crepes in the pan and turn them over so they are well coated with sauce. Fold them in half and put them on warm plates. Continue until all the crepes are served. Pour any remaining sauce over the crepes.
Much has been written about the origin and the authentic recipe for these Suzette French pancakes and how they were to be served. For some answers, I will go back to a debate that raged in London in the newspapers just before Escoffier died—for he was the last man to know the “truth.” A French chef living in America claimed he invented them for the Frince of Wales in Monte Carlo in 1894. The very great restaurant Paillard in Paris claimed originality. Prosper Montague of Larousse gastronomique fame said Escoffier invented them. Two famous London French chefs working at Escoffie’s previous haunts, Herbodeau (the Carlton) and Latry (the Savoy), said the origins were obscure, but Crepes Suzette had probably been created by Paillard at the 1900 Exhibition.
Escoffier died before he could answer the riddle. But whatever the origin, Latry said that the “secret of the dish is its unctuousness and its aroma, due to the mixture of the just melted butter, sugar, and the perfume of the orange, the only one that must be represented in the Crepes Suzette.” And Suzette herself, a member of the Comedie-Francaise who had to prepare crepes on the stage in Paris in 1837, died even before Escoffier.
There were no flames allowed then, and none now.
© 2003 Jeremiah Tower. All rights reserved.