A pancake is not just for Shrove Tuesday. It’s for breakfast on any day if you’re North American – smothered in fruit and maple syrup. It’s for tea and/or a savoury snack if you’re Dutch and it can make a delicious sweet pudding. I know I have been eating them all of last week.
Think of the great puddings of our time and Crepes Suzette has to be in the top three – even if it’s retro. Crepes Suzette was made or invented by mistake. In 1895, a 15 year old French waiter was serving the then Prince of Wales, soon to be King Edward VII, and his guests their dessert of crepes, doused in sugar and orange juice at a Paris Restaurant. In his recollections, Henri Carpentier writes that he does not know how it happened but the dessert caught fire in its dish – it must have been something to do with the alcohol and a naked flame and some nervous fumbling about his trolley – and not wanting to appear a foolish youth our brave waiter served the dish to the Prince and his guests with toes crossed. The party loved it! The Prince asked what this new dish was called and the waiter, after a momentary pause replied Crepes Princesse, Monsieur. The future King of England, clearly well versed in European languages, recognised that crepes determined the fact that it had to be called Princesse, and it was a compliment. He asked if he might change the name to that of one of his guests, a lady by the name of Suzette. So the Crepes Suzette was born and named. A pancake or two, doused in orange juice and sugar, a few segments of orange, set light to some Grand Marnier and pour over. That is the basics. Every chef will have their own recipe and choice of alcohol, it could be triple sec or cointreau – and some will even change them around a bit. Dare I say, deconstruct them. What if we were to take some pancakes, douse them in apple juice and sugar, sprinkle over some thin slices of dessert apple, set fire to some of the magnificent Calvados from Christian Droin we will soon have in stock and pour that over the dish. What do we have? Names please.