Lysielle Cariot grew up in France, so it’s only fitting that when she brings her American granddaughters, 8-year-old Lili and 12-year-old Emilia, into the kitchen, they make a treat she loved as a child: crêpes Suzettes. “My best memories are making crêpes at La Chandeleur 40 days after Christmas with my mother and grandmother,” says Cariot, who runs Naples’ Bleu Provence with her husband Jacques. “It’s a French tradition.”
The tradition, also known as Candlemas and Le Jour des Crêpes, dictates that you light a candle while making the crêpes and manage to flip the thin pancake and catch it in the pan with one hand, while holding a gold coin in the other. “It is supposed to give you good luck for the rest of the year,” Cariot says. “Making crêpes with the girls is fun and they often invite friends. It’s an activity adapted for young children. They love to try to flip the crêpe—and they really love to eat them.”
From the Brittany region of France, crêpes lend themselves to sweet and savory preparations, with any number of fillings from chocolate with hazelnuts to sautéed butternut squash and onions. The most famous presentation is crêpe Suzette, and here Cariot shares her recipe with your family for sweet bonding moments.
Preparation time: 15 minutes for crêpes; 10 minutes for filling; 1-2 minutes to assemble
NOTE: The chef recommends leaving the crêpe batter to rest, covered, for one hour.
For the crêpes:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
For the filling:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, finely grated
- 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
To make the crêpes:
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and eggs. Gradually add in the milk, stirring to combine. Add salt and butter; beat until smooth.
- Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crêpe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook the crêpe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot.
To prepare filling:
- In a mini food processor, blend butter, sugar and zest.
- With the machine on, add orange juice, gradually, until incorporated.
- Add filling to crêpes and roll or fold into quarters.
Photography by Kelly Jones