The lost art of lighting your food on fire.

Remember when flambéed desserts were all the rage? Baked Alaska flambé, Cherries Jubilee… nothing was cooler than a hot dessert. I wonder why we’ve moved away from these culinary extravaganzas..   Time? expense? too much hair catching on fire?

Two of the most popular recipes were Bananas Foster and Crêpes Suzette.




Bananas Foster, an American creation from New Orleans, is no doubt the easier show stopper to prepare at home. The recipe below is the ‘non-flaming’ method.

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Crêpes Suzette, a french specialty, is my personal favorite. It’s a bit more involved, but can be prepared in stages.

How to Make It

Step 1    

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, salt and sugar until smooth; the batter will be thick. Whisk in the water, oil and melted butter.

Step 2    

Heat a 6-inch crêpe pan or nonstick skillet and rub with a little butter. Add 2 tablespoons of the batter and tilt the skillet to distribute the batter evenly, pouring any excess batter back into the bowl. Cook over moderately high heat until the edges of the crêpe curl up and start to brown, 45 seconds. Flip the crêpe and cook for 10 seconds longer, until a few brown spots appear on the bottom. Tap the crêpe out onto a baking sheet . Repeat with the remaining batter to make 12 crêpes, buttering the skillet a few times as necessary.

Step 3    

In a mini food processor, blend the 6 tablespoons of butter with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the orange zest. With the machine on, gradually add the orange juice until incorporated.

Step 4    

Preheat the broiler. Butter a large rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Place 2 rounded teaspoons of the orange butter in the center of each crêpe. Fold the crêpes in half and in half again to form triangles; arrange on the prepared baking sheet, pointing them in the same direction and overlapping slightly. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and broil on the middle shelf of the oven until they begin to caramelize, about 2 minutes. Using a long spatula, transfer the crêpes to a heatproof platter.

Step 5    

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the Grand Marnier and cognac. Ignite carefully with a long-handled match and pour the flaming mixture over the crêpes. Tilt the platter and, with a spoon, carefully baste the crêpes until the flames subside. Serve right away.


Just thinking about all of the sugars in both recipes is enough to give me restless leg syndrome..but oh my,  it would be SO worth it. Frankly on my next birthday, I’d just as soon skip all those poor waiters forced to sing happy birthday and just have one of them strike a match and ignite my cake THAT would be amazing!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. ksbeth says:

    I remember this era of dramatic food

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy says:

      I do too..lots of at your table magic. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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