A beautiful French crepe can be filled with nearly anything you like, but the classic (and in Colleen Cambridge's opinion) is a la Suzette, meaning it is filled or drizzled with a bit of citrusy syrup or even a thinned out marmalade. In this edition of Mystery Scene Recipes & Reading, the author of Mastering the Art of French Murder shares her tips for mastering the art of French crepes.
It’s important to make certain the batter is not too thin and not too thick. Some people suggest adding sparkling water to the batter to make it lighter, but then you run the risk of having the batter too thin and then your crepe isn’t perfect.
"And we want perfect crepes!" says Cambridge. "I strongly suggest after making the crepe batter that you allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. It’s not necessary, but, again, it will help you get to the Promised Land of a perfect crepe, which is light, fluffy, barely brown, and has gorgeously frilled edges."
Are you hungry yet? Let’s get to work!
To hear more from Cambridge on Mastering the Art of French Murder, be sure to check out her Mystery Scene Q&A.
COLLEEN CAMBRIDGE'S FRENCH CREPES SUZETTE
- 3.5 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for cooking
- Kosher salt
- ¾ cup plain flour
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 2 tsp. brandy (optional)
- 12 oz whole milk or cream
- 1 egg, plus 1 additional egg yolk
- 2 tbsp. orange marmalade or other citrus jam, jelly, or syrup
- Cointreau or cognac (optional)
- Powdered sugar
- Orange or lemon peel for garnish (optional)
- Mint leaves for garnish (optional)
1. Melt butter in a large, heavy omelette pan. When nearly completely melted, turn off the heat and let cool slightly.
2. Sift the flour and generous pinch of salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add the egg and egg yolk. Whisk to combine and then add the milk slowly while continuing to whisk. Then add butter and whisk gently.
3. Not required, but highly recommended: Let the batter sit for at least 30 minutes. It should be the consistency of thick cream. Add a pinch of flour if too thin or a touch of milk if too thick until just right.
4. Slowly heat omelette pan with a pad of butter to medium temperature.
5. Measure about two ounces of batter and, working quickly, pour it into the pan, tilting the pan to spread batter evenly over the bottom until completely covered. The batter shouldn’t be so thin that you can see through it.
6. Cook for a minute, checking beneath the crepe to see when it starts to turn light golden brown and is easily lifted. Then carefully flip it and cook other side until done. It will take less time than the first side and won’t turn golden brown all over. Don't overcook it!
7. Remove crepe and place on a plate, then working quickly repeat cooking crepes, adding a brush of butter to the pan between each.
8. Heat marmalade in a small pan and add the Cointreau (if using) to taste, until mixture is a little runny.
9. Roll up each crepe and drizzle the marmalade over top. Using a flour sifter or a fine mesh strainer, sprinkle with powdered sugar. Garnish with orange or lemon peel and mint leaves.
Colleen Gleason (aka Colleen Cambridge, C.M. Gleason, and Alex Mandon) is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author working in multiple genres from romance to steampunk, supernatural to traditional mystery. Whatever the genre, her stories feature strong heroines experiencing fast-paced adventures, danger, mystery, and of course, romance. But at the core of each story is the belief that every woman deserves a partner who accepts her for her strengths as well as her weaknesses—and vice versa. Cambridge lives in the Midwest United States with her family and two dogs, and is always working on her next book.