The LA chef shows us how to make a classic (and boozy) French snack.
In the latest installment of Ludo à la Maison, Ludo Lefebvre has some thoughts about crepes. “It’s like a French taco,” he says. Why is that, exactly? “You can do whatever you want with a crepe. You have a base, and then you play with it.”
Whether or not the taco comparison holds up, crepes are certainly a French national treasure. And in this episode, Ludo has a spectacular (and syrupy) recipe to satisfy your afternoon sweet tooth.
“Around four o’clock, we eat something sweet,” he says, referring to the French tradition of goûter (an afternoon snack that seems to consist almost entirely of pastries and sugary, bready things). A classic recipe for this time of day is crêpes Suzette, which involves an orange-flavored sauce that gets flambéd before serving.
Here’s what you do: First make a sweet crepe batter by cracking some eggs into the bowl of a stand mixer with sugar and vanilla beans scraped fresh from the pod. Next pour in milk and then flour, added while the mixer is on its lowest speed. (If you leave your mixer on high, says Ludo, you’ll have a flour mushroom cloud situation). After the flour comes melted butter. You’ll be left with thin batter; rest it for one hour in the fridge.
You might be wondering what makes a crêpe Suzette, well, Suzette? The secret is in the sauce, called buerre Suzette, packed with orange flavor from fresh juice and liqueur. “Everybody loves crepes Suzette,” according to Ludo. “You do a little orange citrus sauce, Grand Marnier, and POW! Flambé.”
For the buerre, put freshly squeezed orange juice in a saucepan with sugar and a touch of butter, bringing to a boil. Meanwhile, heat a skillet on the highest burner setting and pour in a ladle-full of batter, turning the pan to spread it thinly up to the edges.
Ludo demonstrates how to plate the dish, folding the crepe into quarters in the traditional fashion. He pours the sauce into the pan with it, letting it bubble furiously, before adding a (rather hefty) splash of Grand Marnier. With the click of a lighter, the whole pan goes up in flames.
“Luca had never seen that before,” says Ludo, referring to his son and kitchen companion. “He was so excited about the flame...it was pretty scary.” Once the flames die down, plate the crepe in its syrupy sauce and finish with orange zest. Voilà!