Monday, July 29, 2013

Madeleines au Citron et Crêpes Suzette

Another (the last) class with Hélène! There is no chocolate in this post. That sort of made me sad!
...but not that sad.

Because can we talk oranges? I love them. My dad's dad was a citrus farmer so we're into it at my house. Marmelade is such a good jam-like thing, because of the bitterness in the peel. It balances the sweetness the same way the bitterness of cocao balances the sweetness in chocolate.

Crêpes Suzette is a delicious dessert of crêpes with orange juice/zest caramel sauce and flambé-ed Grand Marnier.

I didn't really taste the alcohol (or what was left--all of the alcohol burns, so it's kid-friendly!) but the orange was out of this world. We melted granulated sugar, freshly squeezed orange juice, and all of the zest from both oranges to make a caramel, then dipped each crêpe.

It is a sticky situation. I was totally scraping my plate.

We also made Madeleines with lemon oil. Hélène swears by it, as opposed to lemon extract, because it has a much stronger flavor. But, be forewarned...too much essential oil is nasty. A little bit is heavenly!

These were amazing! The baking process is really interesting: you preheat to a hot temperature, immediately lower the temperature when you put the cakes in, then lower another two times in the process.

The heat-shock at the beginning of the cooking process allows the outer sides to attach to the mold and the middle to puff up dramatically, and the lower tempuratures allow the cakes to fully cook through without burning. It's a scientific miracle.

Butter the dish with your's the most fun you'll have all day. Also, a nice coating of butter gives the outsides a lovely golden brown as if they were fried, but they're not too greasy. It's fantastic!

So yeah...not missing chocolate. That's the first time I think I've ever said that!

P.S. Also...none of these recipes have salt in them. I think if you want to add a pinch, it could help balance/intensify the sweetness!

Crêpes Suzette
Yield: probably around 12-16


  • 250 g flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 liter milk (2 cups plus a tablespoon or so)
  • 5 tablespoons vanilla sugar (leave a vanilla pod in a bunch of sugar for about a week, or just use 5 tablespoons sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla extract)
  • 120 g sugar
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • Butter, to cook crepes
  • Grand Marnier (about 1 cup)

  1. Mix eggs and milk. Add vanilla sugar and mix to combine. Add flour and mix to combine. Allow batter to rest, and add milk after resting if you flour is feeling particularly absorbative today.
  2. Melt in a wide, flat saucepan the orange juice, zest, and sugar to caramalize and reduce. Gentle, low heat.
  3. Cook crepes: put a pad of butter in a small saucepan over low heat (we made small crepes--they're easier to flip), ladle in a thin layer of batter, swirl to coat. Flip once the first side is golden/brown in spots, using a butter knife/frosting spatula and fork. Cook all crepes like this, layering on a plate on the side as you finish them
  4. Put the Grand Marnier in a saucepan and heat to warm. Set on fire and let burn until all of the alcohol has burned off (liquid will be very hot).
  5. Put each crepe in the orange sauce, fold over, and place on a plate. Pour a bit of the Grand Marnier on the top and serve warm.

Madeleines au Citron
Yield: 2-3 dozen Madeleines


  • 3 eggs
  • 130 g sugar
  • 20 g honey
  • 150 g flour
  • 150 g butter (soft)
  • 5 g baking powder
  • 3-4 drops of lemon essential oil


  1. Preheat oven to 230 degrees C (450 F). Butter madeleine mold.*
  2. Mix sugar, honey, and butter to combine. Add eggs and lemon oil and mix to combine. Mix flour and baking powder in a separate bowl, then add and mix to combine. Smell, if it needs more lemon add 1-2 more drops. Fill molds (not all the way to the top; see picture above) with batter.
  3. Put pan in oven and immediately lower temperature to 200 degrees C (about 400 F). Bake 5 minutes, then lower temp to 180 degrees C (350 F) for another 5 minutes.
  4. Unmold as soon as they come out of the oven!

*Note: if you don't have a madeleine mold, you can make these cakes in real shells off the beach! Just wash them and butter them up. The cakes will be that a bad thing or something?

Recipes courtesy of Hélène Biesse.

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