|Summer Evening by P.S. Kroyer, 1893|
There is a tiny town at the very Northern tip of Denmark called Skagen. It is a magical place with the whitest sand, bluest seas, and an extra special light which has been a siren’s song to artists for hundreds of years. You can walk out on the beach to the end of land and see where two different seas collide into one another, which is a magical sight all by itself. In the very charming old town, there is a charming hotel called Brondrums. In its heyday, artists flocked to stay at this hotel and paint lovely ladies in lace dresses strolling on the surrounding beaches. Today it is still a quaint and charming hotel with a delicious French-influenced restaurant. And here, unbowed by culinary fashions, very proper waiters serve delicious old-fashioned food at white clothed tables. My young boys were absolutely fascinated at the Crepes Suzette that were prepared and flamed in front of them at the table. Every now and then, they say to me “Oh, do you remember those pancakes that were on fire…I wish we could have them again.” So, after a time, I felt inclined to recreate those pancakes for them. And they were delicious. This classic grand dame deserves to return to the table.
Serves 4 to 5
For the pancakes
100 grams flour (1 ½ deciliters)
200 ml milk
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the sauce
150 ml orange juice (about 2 to 3 oranges)
Zest of oranges
Juice of one lemon plus zest
2 tablespoons sugar
50 grams butter
About 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Cointreau
To prepare the pancakes, beat the eggs and milk.
Vanilla icecream to serve.
For the pancakes, beat the eggs and milk together. Add the flour and sugar and beat until completely smooth. Stir in the orange zest and melted butter. You can prepare this batter in advance and let it sit an hour or so, if you like. To prepare the pancakes, heat a pan very hot, then turn it down a bit. If you are using a nonstick pan, you don’t have to really use butter, but if you aren’t then swipe the pan with a paper towel with a bit of butter on it between each pancake. Pour about two tablespoons of batter onto the pan, swirling it around to form a very thin pancake. This is tricky to do and you may have to go through a couple to get the hang of it. But don’t worry if they are not round and perfect, you really won’t notice it in the final dish. It should take less than a minute to cook. You will see the very edges go brown and then it is time to flip. The other side will only take a few seconds to cook. Lay the pancakes on a plate with a bit of wax paper or parchment paper in between each pancake so that they don’t stick together. You can prepare the pancakes well in advance. This batter should make between 10 to 15 pancakes, about 6 inches in diameter.
When you are ready to eat, prepare the sauce. Have all the ingredients pre-measured and ready at the side of your pan. Heat the sugar over a medium heat until it liquefies and starts to caramelize. Note that once the sugar starts to color it will go from light gold to burnt very quickly! Plop the butter in the pan and stir. Pour in the juices and the zest. Stir vigorously until all the caramel has melted into the juice. Let the sauce simmer for a bit until the sauce reduces and thickens slightly. Take a crepe and fold it in half, lay it in the sauce and then flip it over so that both sides are covered with sauce. Fold the crepe into fourths and push it to the side of the pan. Repeat this with all the crepes. When the last crepe has been folded, pour in the liqueur. Quickly take a match and light the mixture. Let the fire burn for ten seconds or so to burn off the alcohol, while swirling the pan.
To serve, take two crepes on each plate. Add a large scoop of vanilla ice cream and pour some of the orange sauce over the crepes and ice cream. It is also lovely to garnish this with some sliced oranges.
Eat while hot!