Recipe – A Delicious Mistake

July 26, 2012

Chef Henri Charpentier

As with many culinary successes, a mistake led to the world famous Crepes Suzette. In 1895, Henri Charpentier, a 14-year old assistant at Monte Carlo’s Cafe in Paris, was preparing dessert for the Prince of Wales and his party. Inadvertently, the brandy and Grand Marnier liqueur he put into his crepe pan caught fire and the boy thought he had ruined the Prince’s dinner and evening.

King Edward VII of England and Queen Alexandra

His guardian angel probably inspired him to taste the burnt sauce for when he did, he tasted something sublime and realized the Prince would not be displeased. The future Edward VII gave the new culinary masterpiece its name in honor of his host’s daughter Suzette. Years later, in his autobiography, Charpentier concluded the story on the recipe’s origins, saying: “Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman.”

Chef Henri Charpentier preparing Crêpe Suzette

Chef Henri Charpentier preparing Crêpe Suzette

 Never made crepes before and not sure how, check out this video:



  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon sugar
  • vegetable oil for oiling pans


  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • Peels from 2 oranges, sliced (not minced or grated)
  • Peels from 1 lemon, sliced  (not minced or grated)
  • ¼ cup orange liqueur (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)
  • ¼ cup of Brandy


Crepes Suzette Photo by katyrlynch



Measure all ingredients except flour into large mixing bow. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed gradually adding flour, until all ingredients are combined. No lumps should be present.

Lightly oil 1 (6-inch) crepe pan and set over medium heat. Pour about 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl until the pan is coated. Cook crepes until the top begins to look dry, about 60 seconds. Turn and cook the other side 30 seconds, wiping the pan with an oiled paper towel if crepes begin to stick.

It’s best to make all the crepes first, layering them on top of each other.

Flambé crepes


In large skillet, melt the butter. When foamy, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add rinds and simmer until peels become soft – about 20 minutes. Remove orange and lemon rinds. Turn heat to lowest settings. Place one crepe in sauce, covering it completely with the sauce. Fold crepe in half and fold in half again. Put the first crepe to the side of the dish and add another. Repeat until all crepes have been added. Work quickly so the first crepes do not absorb all the sauce. Make sure all the crepes are still in the pan.

Add both liqueurs and pour over the pan of crepes. Remove pan from heat. Using a long match, ignite the sauce. When flames subside (it should stay light for one minute), place crepes on dessert plates. Dust with confectioners sugar; garnish with orange slices and serve.

Voilà! Enjoy!


You can use this same crepe recipe for any other dessert crepes you wish to make, filled with all kinds of fruits, jams or sauces….you’ll have a delicious meal anytime!

Top crepe is filled with kiwi, mango, coconut creme, almonds. Bottom crepe is filled with lemon curd and strawberries.

The above recipe is from  & from various other sources.

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  • EliseHougesen

    Beet Salad
    Cook 8 to 10 beets until they are tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Do not cut off the leaves or roots and do not pierce the beets with a fork to test them. There should be no bleeding. Draw the skins off the hot beets and cut off the leaves and rotts. Cut the beets crosswise into very thin slices, retaining all the juice. Simmer ½ cup each of tarragon vinegar and water with ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds, 3 cloves, 2 peppercorns, ½ bay leaf, and salt to taste for 9 minutes. Strain the hot marinade over the warm beets and teir juice. Add about 6 whole cloves, or a tablespoon of horseradish. Let the salad cool and chill it.

  • EliseHougesen

    Basic Mayonnaise
    Beat 3 egg yolks well and add ½ teaspoon each of salt and dry mustard and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Add ½ teaspoon tarragon vinegar, and gradually add ½ cup olive oil, drop by drop, beating constantly. Add ½ teaspoon more tarragon vinegar and beat ½ cup more olive oil, drop by drop, into the sauce. Again add 1 teaspoon vinegar and ½ cup olive oil in a thin stream, beating constantly until the mixture is thick and yellow. If the mayonnaise should separate, beat an egg yolk in another bowl and slowly add the curdled mayonnaise, beating constantly.

  • EliseHougesen

    Diplomat Salad of Old Vienna
    “The beautiful Viennese salads really lie halfway between arranged salads and tossed salads, and they are usually served from crystal salad platters or bowls. Many of them stem from a period when fresh vegetables were scarce in winter and the root vegetables had to be used, lightened by an occasional green salad the cook cuts from a sunny window box with a snip just before dinner…
    The Recipe
    Combine 3 cups finely diced pineapple with 1 ½ cups each of chopped celery and diced apples. Sprinkle the mixture with the juice of ½ lemon and bind it at once with tart mayonnaise. Add salt to taste and mound the salad in the center of a crystal salad bowl. Surround the base of the salad with marinated beets, prepared as for beet salad and cut with a cooky cutter, and lay half walnuts on the beets. Garnish the mounded salad with more beet slices and with truffle cutouts.”
    (Commercial mayonnaise and pickled beets may be used, however, here are some recipes for the ambitious)

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  • EliseHougesen

    I really enjoyed watching the Crepes Suzette cooking demonstration. Thank-you for presenting it. As I am allergic to gluten, I am anxious to try it with buckwheat and sucanaut, for a more robust flavor! I hope it will work.

  • EliseHougesen

    One story you may appreciate illustrates how connected the Old World bakers were with its elites, ready at the drop of a spoon to defend their king, country and culture. From Gourmet's Vienna Cookbook:
    “Vienna has become famous not only for her bread but for the prowess of her bakers when they undertake extracurricular duties. The exercise of kneading bread apparently made strong soldiers of the bakers, and Vienna had them to thank for defeating Ludwig of Bavaria when he did battle with Frederick the Handsome of Austria. The intrepid bakers also defeated the Sultan Solyman in 1529 at the very gates of the city, when all other troops and professions had failed, and again in 1585, when the undiscouraged Turks came back for more. Apparently the Turkish lust for Vienna was insatiable, since they came back full force in 1683 and settled down outside the city walls to starve her out. It was a watchful baker’s journeyman who discovered a Turk tunneling under his oven and gave the alarm that saved the city.”
    The beautiful and actually quite healthy (overall) foods that come to us from Vienna were not only lovingly and intelligently created by loyal subjects, but hard fought for!

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