What to say about these pancakes? They cook until they reach a lovely golden hue and are so scandalously tender.
Why these Crêpes Suzette Are a Hit
I've been on the hunt for perfect vegan pancakes for centuries. On the Internet, in magazines. I've read praise for such recipes picked up from these places only to be disappointed.
At first, I had the impression that they were making faces at me; they were all disfigured. They failed to have a smooth and perfectly circular shape. I ignored them and sent them to the mouth abyss. But when tasting, sometimes the dough was not cooked enough; other times, the texture was too rubbery.
It's all about the dough, of course. The biggest challenge is to have a soft texture… and without eggs, on top of that.
I thought I found the idyllic recipe a few years ago, but so far, nothing beats the one I found in Gretchen Price's baking book, Modern Vegan Baking: The Ultimate Resource for Sweet & Savory Baked Goods.
I've always believed you had to replace 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of egg substitute, whether it's cornstarch or some other binding powder mixture. Well, that's what all the instructions said on the products' packaging. So when I was making a pancake batter recipe that included four eggs, I'd put in 4 tablespoons.
But this is a mistake if you want to get a tender dough, in my opinion.
Gretchen only calls for a fourth of it. What's more, I witnessed other pleasant surprises.
It's silly, but making the pancake batter in a blender is such an easy method! In one minute, you have a super homogeneous dough.
I adapted Gretchen's recipe to be gluten-free and flavored the dough with orange aromas, and wow! The result was breathtaking.
These pancakes have it all. They are incredibly soft and light in a surreal way. The orange aromas are intoxicating and the candied orange zest, both speckled in the Suzette butter and coiled on the surface of the pancakes, explodes with sweetness in the mouth.
Ah! By the way, this butter!
Quite sumptuous. I refrained from brushing my pancakes with a generous slab—though that would earn me nods of approval from keto dieters now.
Anyway, these crêpes Suzette are perfect for serving as a breakfast on special occasions, such as Mother's Day, a birthday, or else.
Oh! And I forgot, they will get along well with the fragile intestines of anyone who follows a low-FODMAP diet.Jump to Recipe
What Do We Put in the Crêpes Dough?
Plant-based milk – I chose oat milk, but if you want pancakes with more protein, go for soy milk. Otherwise, any plant-based milk will do (almond milk, rice milk, etc.).
Gluten-free flour – I used gluten-free flour from the Quebec brand Cuisine d'Angélique. It's actually made from a mixture of rice, buckwheat, quinoa, and amaranth flour with a bit of tapioca starch, ground flax, etc. If gluten is not a concern for you, you can use all-purpose white flour, whole flour, or a mixture of the two.
Coconut oil – it's the chosen fat instead of non-dairy butter, but you can easily switch to the latter.
Oranges – fresh orange juice is always my first choice, as the taste is fresher, and you enjoy the vitality of the juice, as it is not pasteurized. I squeezed them, but if laziness strikes you (okay, I'm not judging you), commercial juice will do the trick, too. We'll also use the oranges to zest them.
Coconut palm sugar – it's a sweetener made from the sap found in the coconut palm flower buds. Considered a natural sugar, it involves minimal processing, and no chemicals are used. It's a good substitute for granulated white sugar. It brings a little crunch to the Suzette butter. The original recipe calls for icing sugar in the Suzette butter, so feel free to choose that if you prefer the butter to be rather silky.
Vanilla extract – choose natural vanilla extract, not artificial vanilla extract. We're lucky that these two have distinct terminology in French, as the English language only offers the word "extract." "Extrait de vanille" is the natural one, and "essence de vanille" is the fake one. The latter is an artificial product that mimics the aroma and flavor of vanilla and often contains questionable products.
Salt – I always use kosher salt. Its salinity is lighter than the others, which have larger crystals.
Plant-based butter – when it comes to plant-based butter, choose one that doesn't include hydrogenation, which can create trans fats. Choosing a product like this can be difficult. The Earth Balance brand is considered the best in taste by many. But it contains palm oil, which is responsible for deforestation. There are some great margarines on the market, and some are better than others. Otherwise, there is also the American brand Miyoko's Organic Vegan Butter, which has just entered the Canadian market and which is also delicious! The most important thing is that the product gives you a soft texture to make "beurre pommade," a kind of orange-flavored butter spread.
Cornstarch – it's your plant-based egg if you will. It acts as an egg substitute in custards or as a thickener in fruit pies. Its dry form has absorbent properties, while in liquid or custard recipes, it must be brought to a full boil for its full potential to be activated.
Baking powder – it helps the dough to rise. We call it "poudre à pâte" in Quebec, whereas it's called "levure chimique" in France. Do not confuse with baking soda.
Grand Marnier – it's an orange liqueur. You can also use Cointreau; and why not Triple sec, as long as there is an orange flavor. Precisely, if alcohol doesn't turn you on, take orange blossom water (maybe 2 teaspoons maximum, otherwise the taste will be too strong).Jump to Recipe
How to Make Crepes Suzette Step by Step
When it comes to the process, basically, you make the dough and refrigerate it for 1 hour (part 1), during which time the dough binds. During this time, you prepare the candied orange zest (part 2) and the Suzette butter (part 3).
Then you cook the pancakes, decorate them, and heat them up a bit.
You will see, below, the preparation of the crêpe Suzette step by step by component and not by sequences.
Part 1: Making the Pancakes
1 / Prepare the pancake batter
2 / Refrigerate the pancake batter for 1 hour or a few hours
3 / Make the pancakes.
Part 2: Making the Candied Orange Zest
1 / Peel the orange
2 / Cut it into julienne
3 / Add into water and bring to a boil
4 / Drain
5 / Return to the saucepan with the sugar and a little water, then bring to a boil
6 / Stop when it gets shiny.
Note: the candied zest must be eaten quickly (in the days that follow). The process is more delicate for long storage because the cooking will take longer, and care must be taken that the sugar does not caramelize.
Part 3: Finishing the Crêpes with Suzette Butter
1 / Mix the softened butter with the orange zest and sugar
2 / Add the orange juice
3 / Spread the orange butter on the pancakes
4 / Add candied orange zest
5 / Fold the pancakes in four and brush the top with the remaining butter
6 / Put in the oven for a few minutes and serve piping hot, sprinkling with a few drops of alcohol.Jump to Recipe
The Keys to Success: My Top Tips
Get a smooth dough
Make sure there are no lumps. Mixing the dough in a blender will undoubtedly solve this problem. But if you want to go even further, you could strain the dough through a fine sieve or a metal colander. I admit, it's pushing it a bit, but it's all those little details that create the perfect pancake.
Respect the rest time
By letting the dough rest before making the pancakes (in the fridge since it's more than 30 min), you increase your chances of having excellent pancakes. This rest period allows the cornstarch (your fake egg) to bind to the liquid (the plant-based beverage). This step isn't absolutely essential, but if you have the time and foresight, it's worth it. The more it rests, the stronger the bonds will be.
Measure heat using your hearing
To tell if your pan is hot, throw water droplets into the pan. If you hear crackling, it's all good.
Also, you can evaluate the cooking of the pancakes by the number of bubbles they release. As they cook, their moisture escapes, and they emit fewer bubbles as a result.
Use a good surface
Use an 8 inch (20 cm) skillet, or even better, a crepe/pancake pan. The latter ensures even cooking and has a small spout to lift the dough from the pan. If you love to make pancakes, this pan will make your life easier. You can have one for less than $25 or between $25 and $45.
Chef's tip: For the perfect lace-textured and structured pancake, use beer (blonde and light)! The additional carbonation and yeast will also impart a more complex flavor. The pancake batter will be tender and loose, and during baking, bubbles and small holes will form to leave nice pockets for sauces and toppings to flow inside.Jump to Recipe
Other Creative Variations
I asked myself the question: to flambé or not to flambé? Since I was a child, people nicknamed me (especially my younger brother) "Naïby flambé." I decided to save my kitchen from burning and to opt for simplicity.
If you got the flames under control, you could make flambé pancakes. (In this case, they lose their Suzette name, well kinda, I'll explain it to you below.)
And if the alcohol doesn't turn you on, make crêpes paysannes. These are pancakes flavored with orange blossom water.
Change direction with other fruits:
- Banana slices
- Chocolate shavings or chips
- Coconut flakes
- Vanilla ice cream
How to Serve this Dish
Crêpes Suzette are typically served piping hot.
If you find yourself with leftover pancakes, as I often do, know that they are delicious even cold. You might come home one night hungry and see that all you have is ready-made crêpes. You'll be happy that they saved your life.
Apart from maple syrup, they can be served with orange segments or a fruit compote; topped with an orange sauce or even a chocolate sauce; topped with sorbet or vegan ice cream.
Finally, the orange zest can serve as an accompaniment to many desserts, chocolate parfaits, chocolate mousses, or other delicacies.Jump to Recipe
Answers to Your Burning Questions
What are crêpes Suzette?
A crêpe Suzette is a French dessert composed of a crêpe with Suzette butter, a sauce made from caramelized sugar and melted butter, tangerine or orange juice, zest, and Grand Marnier liqueur or curacao. Crêpes Suzette are usually round in shape and sometimes served flambé, although some cookbooks note that in the original recipe, they are done unflambé.
Why are they called that?
Crêpes Suzette, accompanied by an orange juice sauce and curacao (at the time), would have been invented by Auguste Escoffier, in honor of Baroness Suzanne Reichenberg, at Prince of Wales' suggestion—the future King of England Edward VII. Escoffier was the chef at the Grand Hôtel de César Ritz before heading the kitchens of the Savoy Hotel in London, and this lady was a French actress. The future sovereign suggested giving the dish the name of Suzanne Reichenberg, the young woman who accompanied him to dessert. Thus was born the pancake.
Is the crêpe Suzette flambé?
No. Contrary to popular belief, it's not. Well, it wasn't when it started out. One only has to delve into the classic and academic works of cooking to realize this.
According to the great French chef and creator, Auguste Escoffier, it's a pancake dough flavored with curaçao and mandarin juice. We spread it with the same flavor.
According to the Larousse Gastronomique (1938 edition), crêpe Suzette is a pancake with a paste flavored with curaçao and tangerine juice that is spread with the following mixture: 50 g of softened butter + 50 g of sugar + the juice of one tangerine + the finely grated zest of the tangerine and a strong spoon of curaçao. Once the pancakes are filled, you fold them in 4 and serve them piping hot.
Note: But at the same time, can my vegan pancake be designated as such? I think the purists would categorically reject it.Jump to Recipe
Make this Meal Now
We can finally stop the quest for the perfect vegan pancake (with or without gluten). You have the base you need to make your pancakes look and taste extravagant.
Like these orange-flavored pancakes, which can be enjoyed for all special occasions.
These pancakes will earn a place in your repertoire. Not only will you love to eat them, but you will love the process of making them.
And let's not talk about the intoxicating sensation you'll get from the first bite.
So hurry up to make this recipe.
Adapted from Modern Vegan Baking by Gretchen Price
Crêpes Suzette flavored with Orange and Grand Marnier
Candied orange zest and Suzette butter:
- 3 oranges
- 1 ⅓ cup water
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ heaping cup plant-based butter
- ½ cup coconut sugar or icing sugar
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 2 cups plant-based milk
- 2 ½ cups gluten-free flour
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil or plant-based butter
- 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Make the candied zest and the Suzette butter:
- Take the zest of the orange using a peeler, then finely cut into julienne. Put it in a small saucepan, add water, and bring to a boil for 2 min. Drain the zest and return it to the saucepan. Add sugar and cover entirely with a bit of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the zest becomes shiny when removed. (Be careful not to overcook, the syrup must not caramelize!) Finely chop half of the candied orange zest. Reserve.
- In a small bowl, combine the softened butter at room temperature with the chopped zest and orange juice. Add the sugar and mix well. Reserve.
Make the pancakes:
- In a blender, add the milk, flour, coconut oil, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, baking powder, orange liqueur, and salt. Mix in high-speed blender for about a minute until a smooth, lump-free dough is obtained. (Scrape the edges of the container with a spatula if a bit of flour is stuck to the sides.)
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or set aside overnight (in this second option, the dough will harden, but you can add a little water to dilute it a little).
- Cover an 8-inch non-stick skillet with spray coconut or canola oil and heat over medium-high heat. (You can oil your pan by rubbing it with a cloth or paper towel soaked in oil.) Stir the pancake batter well before cooking. Then, once the pan is hot, pour in ⅓ cup of the batter. It should sizzle immediately. Before the dough sets, turn the pan with your wrist so that the entire surface of the pan is spread out to obtain a thin, homogeneous pancake.
- The dough will slowly start to bubble in the middle by the time the pancake is about to be turned over. If the pan is too hot, the dough will bubble almost immediately, creating large holes. If this happens, reduce the heat to medium.
- Cook until the pancake is golden underneath, about a minute. Using a small spatula to lift the edge, flip the pancake, and cook the other side between 30 seconds and a minute, or until the other side is golden. Place on a plate. Repeat until you have more or less 10 pancakes.
- Take a knob of butter and spread thinly on the surface of each pancake, add a few candied orange zest, fold the pancakes in four and place them in a large pan or an ovenproof dish. Brush each pancake with a little remaining butter (to avoid drying out) and place a few candied orange zest on top.
- Put in the oven at 300 °F for a few minutes, just enough time for the butter to foam on the surface. Take the pancakes out of the oven. Place three pancakes on each plate and add 2 to 3 drops of the orange liqueur to the hot pancakes before serving.
- Serve immediately.
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