Candlemass crêpes & never-ending family traditions

I grew up in what I dare call a “traditional” Haitian family. By that I mean a family that does not easily substitute new trends for old habits. Instead, we hold dearly onto old traditions passed down from generation to generation. We keep up with the ones my great grandmother shared with my grandmother and ultimately my parents. 

In recent years, I have come to realize that many in my close circle tend to either call some of these practices obsolete or simply be unaware of their existence. As far as I know, only a few local families still adhere to every single one of them like we do. Most seem to have forgotten about them as they embraced new trends and fads. Many of these traditions are, of course, deeply rooted in food. And since I come from a long family line of home chefs, you best bet we put together quite a few feasts through the years.

The peak of our celebrations takes place around the end and beginning of each year. 

On December 25th, January 1st and 2nd, all local Holidays, we gather for a formal meal. Some of these gatherings involve the immediate family. Others include extended family and close friends, or don’t even necessarily involve inviting other households over.  Take January 5th, which marks the Feast of Epiphany, for example. On that day, each household within our family shares a Galette des Rois frangipane, a French King cake which I spoke about on this blog before. If you missed that article, click here.

The very next day, January 6th, marks the official launch of Haiti’s Kanaval, better known elsewhere as Mardi-Gras season. Between January 6th and the actual Mardi-Gras day, we feast on endless Haitian beignets. As per “strict” past traditions, you will not see us indulge in these treats outside of that date range. I couldn’t tell you who instituted that rule. I just grew up living by it. The longing for them makes those beignets more appealing come Kanaval season. So, I never contested it. 

As if that period didn’t involve enough sweets, February 2nd has us cooking up another sweet treat.

On Candlemas day, we eat crêpes Suzette. This French inspired dessert typically consists of sweet crêpes drowned in a citrus (orange, lemon or lime) rum sauce. I couldn’t help but share that specific tradition with you today. Year after year, it brings joy to an otherwise monotonous day. I won’t serve you the traditional crêpes Suzette, however.

Instead, allow me to offer you my mandarine rum caramel infused crêpes.

I could technically claim that these come close to the crêpes Suzette. The base sauce includes a caramel sauce with mandarine, a citrus, and flavored rum, after all. I will refrain from doing so, however. And simply because I also stuffed my crêpes with a vanilla lime sour cream, which is atypical of the crêpe Suzette. 

One could argue that, with these reinvented crêpes, I am breaking up with tradition. To this, I will simply say that the joy of these traditions relies on the fact that we add our own twist to them. Doing this allows us to fully embrace and keep them alive. 

Sweet crêpes filled with a vanilla lime creme and drowned in a boozy caramel mandarine sauce |

Sweet crêpes filled with a vanilla lime creme and drowned in a boozy caramel mandarine sauce |

Boozy Mandarin Caramel Crêpes

These decadent crêpes are filled with a vanilla lime sour cream and drowned in homemade madarine caramel spiked with flavored rum.
I used Haitian rum, but feel free to use your favorite rum. I opted for a flavored one to boost the flavors of my caramel.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings 3


For the mandarine caramel

  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • cup of freshly squeezed mandarine juice
  • 3 tbsp of Barbancourt Pango Rum or other fruit flavored rum
  • 1 tbsp salted butter

For the crêpes

  • ½ cup of flour
  • 2 medium sized eggs or 1 large egg
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 lime zest
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 2 tsp of melted butter + more for cooking

For the vanilla lime sour cream

  • Sour Cream
  • Vanilla to taste
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Lime Zest to taste


For the mandarine caramel

  • In a thick bottom pan, add the sugar
  • Let it melt on low, making sure to stir it from time to time to keep it from burning
  • Once the sugar has fully dissolved, add the butter
  • Mix well to incorporate
  • Add the mandarine juice and mix vigorously. It will bubble up but don’t be scared. Keep on stirring until the mixture liquifies completely
  • Finish with the flavored rum
  • Let cool and transfer in a glass container

For the crêpes

  • In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt
  • Whisk in the eggs
  • Slowly add the milk while whisking constantly to avoid lumps in the batter
  • Finish with the vanilla and butter
  • Let rest for about 20-30 minutes
  • Brush a frying pan with some butter and heat it up
  • Drop the batter by the spoonful to prepare your crepes
  • Let cook until golden

For the vanilla lime sour cream

  • Mix all the ingredients, and adjust the flavors to taste

Putting it all together

  • Butter your crepe with the vanilla lime sour cream then fold them
  • Generously drizzle them with the boozy mandarine caramel sauce
  • Enjoy

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