Crêpes Suzette is a crêpe served in a sauce of caramelized sugar and butter, with orange juice and zest (now known as beurre suzette) and an orange flavoured liqueur such as Grand Marnier on top, flambéed at table.
Like many desserts, Crêpes Suzette has a disputed legend, but it’s one that everyone remembers. In 1895, the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, was dining at the Café de Paris by the Casino de Monte Carlo with his guests, among them a certain Suzette. Their 14-year old waiter, Henri Charpentier, was serving their dessert on a chafing dish, when the crêpe’s sauce accidently caught on fire.
Believing the dish was ruined, Charpentier tasted the sauce, and finding it much improved for having passed through fire, served it to the prince and his guests who greatly enjoyed it. Edward asked what it was called, and to flatter him Charpentier called it Crêpes Princesse (having to make the word ‘prince’ feminine to match the gender of la crêpe).
Edward pretended to be offended, because there was a lady present, and asked for a name change to Crêpes Suzette, and then sent the young Charpentier a jewelled ring the next day.
Image by Ewen Roberts, Creative Commons License