The Accidental Crepes Suzette

On Shrove Tuesday, the classic just for adults dish crepes suzette is the one to complete any retro meal but it remains as popular as ever for the elegant way to serve pancakes especially with Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

But where did it originate from? Legend says that the dish was created out of a mistake made by the young waiter Henri Charpentier in 1895 at Monte Carlo’s Cafe Paris. Nervously preparing a dessert for the Prince of Wales, who would become the future King Edward VII, the 14-year-old Henri clipped the cordials beside the chafing dish where he was cooking crepes and the contents caught fire.

The boy panicked, thinking the dish was ruined. Meanwhile, the Prince and his chums were waiting. Should he throw the dish away? Henri tasted it. It was, he thought, the most delicious melody of sweet and sharp flavours. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . .

The Prince ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. Asking the waiter Henri, the name of this wonderful new dish eaten with so much relish, the boy told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse, after the Prince’s wife. No, no, no replied the Prince; call it after my lady guest, Suzette! And so, the dish was born, and it is said that one taste would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. Maybe a bit far-fetched, but it is a spectacular dish at any time.

If you don’t have a chafing dish, crepes suzette can be carefully prepared in a frying pan, but as with all naked flames you must be careful, wear a flameproof apron, keep the pan lid handy along with your fire blanket. A singed fringe is not a romantic look.

Happy Shrove Tuesday! For all your fire safety needs including fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire risk assessments and fire alarms contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

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