Crêpes Suzette

By Tim Hayward From the book The DIY Cook
Crêpes Suzette from Tim Hayward's The DIY Cook

This classic French dessert recipe is the perfect dish for creating some table-side drama when entertaining dinner party guests.

For how many? Makes 12 pancakes, to serve 4 people


  • Stage 1 Pancakes:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 250g flour
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 500ml whole milk (approx.)
  • 2 tsp melted clarified butter
  • more clarified butter for frying
  • Stage 2 Mise-en-place:
  • 10 sugar lumps
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 50g unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 30ml Curaçao or Grand Marnier
  • a stack of pancakes
  • 30g brandy


1. Whisk the egg yolks into the dry ingredients – a stick blender will help avoid lumps – then add milk to thin to the texture of pouring cream. Allow to rest in the fridge for an hour or two and whisk in the melted butter just before cooking.

2. Cooking a batch of crêpes is a little more difficult that you might expect. The pan has a tendency to get too hot over time, which means the butter can burn. Using clarified butter helps, but I also keep the sink filled with cold water so that if the pan heat starts to run away with me, I can dip the bottom of the pan into the water to cool it down quickly.

3. Melt a little butter in the bottom of a small hot skillet and wipe it around with kitchen roll. It’s important not to have any more than a thin film on the base of the pan. Pour in a little batter, rolling the pan from side to side until the whole bottom of the pan is covered with as thin a film as possible. As soon as the edges begin to curl, shake the pan to loosen the pancake and then flip it . . . with either a palette knife or staggering bravado. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side.

4. As each pancake cooks, turn it out on to a plate. Stack the pancakes up as they are cooked, separating them with pieces of greaseproof paper and regreasing the pan with butter-soaked kitchen paper before starting the next one.

5. Rub the sugar lumps all over the rind of the oranges and lemon until they take on colour and flavour, then halve and juice the fruit. 

6. Heat the caster sugar in a skillet until it liquifies and begins to brown, then immediately whisk in the butter to create a caramel.

7. Add the citrus juice and the sugar lumps and keep whisking over the heat to thoroughly dissolve and combine. Add the Curaçao or Grand Marnier.

8. Drop a pancake into the hot sauce and turn it over to coat both sides. Fold in half and then into quarters and push to one side of the pan.

9. Repeat until all the pancakes are folded into a neat stack, then pour over the brandy and flambé.

10. Continue spooning the flaming sauce over the pancakes until the flame is exhausted, then serve.

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