Crêpes are simply thin pancakes, also known as French pancakes. They are great to have on hand in your freezer so that you can whip up an impromptu but elegant meal, like seafood crepes.
This recipe is from a 1930 edition of The Fannie Farmer Cook Book. Simple to make and versatile, they are good plain, stuffed, rolled, or sweetened.
Ingredients for making the crêpes
1 cup milk 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons butter
makes about 12-7 inch or 16-5 inch pancakes
Beat the eggs well, then beat in the milk, salt, flour, and butter. (Or mix all the ingredients in a blender until smooth). Cover and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Heat a 7-inch or 5-inch skillett or crêpe pan until moderately hot, then film it with butter or shortening, using a brush or a folded paper towel.
Using a ladle or small cup, pour in several tablespoons of batter, then quickly tilt the pan about so that the batter spreads evenly in the thinnest layer possible.
Cook for a few minutes, until the bottom is lightly browned and the edges lift easily from the pan. The pancake should then slide loosely about in the pan. Turn it with a spatula or by catching an edge with yours fingers and flipping it over. Cook the second side for a few minutes; it will brown in spots, not as evenly as the first side, but it doesn't matter because this side should be used inside when the crêpes are rolled.
Remove to a plate and film the pan again lightly with butter or shortening before cooking the next pancake. If the batter seems to be getting too thick as you get toward the end of it, add a little milk. Crêpes freeze very well simply stacked and wrapped in foil or plastic with the edges tightly sealed. Defrost at room temperature before separating them.
Tip; To make dessert crêpes add 2 tablespoons sugar.
The way to make Crêpe Suzette is to pour liqueur (usually Grand Marnier) over a freshly cooked crêpe with sugar and light it. This will make the alcohol in the liqueur evaporate, resulting in a fairly thick, caramelized sauce.
This is told by Henri Charpentier himself in Life a la Henri, his autobiography, although later contradicted by the Larousse dictionary.
"It was by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought it was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious medley of sweet flavors I had ever tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste . . . He ate the pancakes with a fork; but he used a spoon to capture the remaining syrup. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crêpes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She rose to her feet and holding her skirt wide with her hands she made a curtsey. 'Will you,' said His Majesty, 'change Crêpes Princesse to Crêpes Suzette?' Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman. The next day I received a present from the Prince, a jeweled ring, a panama hat and a cane".
Different sources (like the Larousse Gastronomique) however doubt that Charpentier was serving the prince instead of the head waiter because he would have been too young.
The other claim states Crêpe Suzette was named in honor of French actress Suzanne Reichenberg (1853–1924), who worked professionally under the name Suzette. In 1897, Suzette appeared in the Comédie Française in the role of a maid, during which she served crêpes on stage. Monsieur Joseph, owner of Restaurant Marivaux, provided the crêpes . He decided to flambé the thin pancakes to attract the audience's attention and keep the food warm for the actors consuming them. Monsieur Joseph was subsequently director of the Paillard Restaurant in Paris and was later with the Savoy Hotel in London.
Crêpe Suzette Recipe
Cream 1 cup butter and add 1 cup confectioners' sugar, mixing together until light. Add the grated rind of 3 oranges, the juice of 1-1/2 oranges, and 5 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other brandy. Melt over low heat in a skillet or chafing dish until hot. Fold the panckes in quarters and add a few at a time to the pan. Heat very slowly, spooning the sauce over them until well saturated. Remove to a heatproof platter and keep warm until all are ready to serve. Pour the sauce in the pan over them and serve. If you wish to flambe, warm 1/4 cup brandy, ignite, and pour flaming over the crêpes.
Wikipedia and Fannie Farmer Cookbook