History Crepe Suzette

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Anna Elizabeth Henry

1st Lieutenant
Silver Patron
Feb 15, 2015
New York, New York
For all those wondering if I fell completely off the face of the earth - I had to take a break from the Forum from work related overload along with loads of other non-work related stress. However, it seems life has settled down and everything has become far more manageable. Now, on to the history of Crepe Suzette!

While I'd heard of the dessert in the past, I was unsure what it was and when it originated. My interest was sparked during a recent re-watching of Downton Abbey where the cook, Mrs. Patmore made them for dessert. Some digging turned up a very interesting story involving a cooking accident, a prince and a lady named Suzette - of course!

The dish was created by mistake by fourteen year-old assistant waiter Henri Carpentier in 1895 at the Maitre at Monte Carlo’s Cafe Paris. He was preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales who went on to become King Edward VII of England. Below he describes it in his own words from his memoir -

It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought I was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had every tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little shirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. ‘Will you,’ said His Majesty, ‘change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’ Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane.” ~ Source: Life A La Henri – Being The Memories of Henri Charpentier, by Henri Charpentier and Boyden Sparkes, Originally published in 1934 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
For the suzette butter:

  • 1 orange
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
For the batter:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, plus more as needed
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter

  • 6 Tbs. brandy
  • 3 Tbs. Grand Marnier
  • Thin strips of orange zest for garnish
Directions - https://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/crepes-suzette.html

Note also that on the Williams Sonoma site with the recipe they mention the above story as probably false! One hopes it's true to some degree - especially the part about it being created by accident!
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Deleted User CS

Retired User
Mar 18, 2015
Welcome back Anna Elizabeth. I missed your posts and recipes. I just love crepes and especially Crepe Suzette. Thanks for sharing your exciting and delicious recipe. David.