Oui, oui Suzette!

Crepe suzette

Pancake Day was probably my favourite annual event in childhood. Not big enough to cause the stress, angst and subsequent rows that Christmas generally evoked. Not personal enough to rouse the greed-fuelled high expectations and inevitable disappointments of my birthday. No. The low-maintenance nature of Pancake Day was its charm. Never referred to as Shrove Tuesday, in spite of my Roman Catholic upbringing (just what is a ‘Shrove’ anyway?), its limited promise of good things to eat and a small amount of flipping-related fun was nearly always fulfilled.

And hip hip, tomorrow is my favourite day of the year. After a long break from the booze, I felt the urge to celebrate by creating a cocktail in the day’s honour. I’ve always considered that classic lemon and sugar constitutes the best pancake topping but as inspiration for a drink it’s frankly a little dull. In my more exotic moods, I really love bananas flambeed with peaty Scotch and chocolate grated on top. But as I consider bananas second only to fish as unusable in a ‘tail, that combination is also a non-starter. Which leaves my third favourite option of Crepe Suzette.

There’s something about soggy batter in buttery, hot, alcohol-laden orange juices that just hits the spot. And translating that unctuousness to a drink gives me the opportunity to try a technique I’ve read about and yet to test. Fat-washing.

There was a craze a year or so back for bacon-washed bourbon which as a non meat-eater passed me by. Lately though, I’ve read a lot about butter being used to ‘wash’ alcohol, which is just perfect for this drink. You can find out more about fat-washing techniques here.

Happy Pancake Day!

Crepe Suzette

35 ml butter-washed cognac
25 ml orange juice (from a fresh orange)
25 ml Grand Marnier
Dash orange bitters
Maraschino cherry and orange garnish

Shake ingredients until well chilled. Strain into a large sherry glass or champagne saucer. Garnish with cherry – the drink benefits from the dash of sweetness this adds.

Tip: I hadn’t planned ahead in making this drink so devised a quick method for washing my cognac. I wouldn’t advise using this for a large batch to keep but for drinking that night it worked very well. Mix equally quantities of melted butter and cognac and allow to infuse for half an hour (by this time my mixture had already separated and the butter started to form a hard layer). Transfer the mixture  to the fridge for an hour then separate the cognac from the hardened butter and strain through muslin. This is a higher ratio of fat to spirit than is common but a) I had to compensate for the shortened-infusion time b) I wanted an extra rich result which the above delivered nicely c) I could, and did,  make a caramel for popcorn with the leftover butter.

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