Pancakes: not just for Pancake Day

Ok, so we’re jumping on the Great Pancake Bandwagon today. One day of pancake-mania where you’d swear you couldn’t get a pancake the rest of the year.
They’re actually a Saturday breakfast staple in the Kane household, where all three of our munchkins line up along the breakfast bar, patiently waiting their turn. At the ages of 3, 2 and 1, you’ll get patience isn’t generally a virtue, which shows how quick this recipe really is.

The recipe I’ve always used is Delia Smith’s, from the still inimitable Complete Cookery Course. (30 years old it may be, but if you want to know how to make good mashed spuds, or what a roux is, there’s still no-one does it better.)
The difference between Delia’s method and most others is the lack of standing time required – there’s none. The ingredients take about 3 mins to weigh, measure and mix, and you’ve the first one coming from the pan 2 minutes later.
For 8-10 pancakes, you’ll need:

  • 4 oz (100g) plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 7 oz (200ml) milk mixed with 3 oz (75 ml) water (the secret to the instant batter bit).

Now get your pan on the hob while you’re making the batter – standard frying pan on about 75% heat. To make the batter, it’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle.
  2. Break the eggs and put them in the well.
  3. Start mixing with a hand-whisk whilst slowly adding the milk/water to create a smooth batter.

By now your pan has heated. Throw a knob of butter in and swirl it to coat the bottom of the pan, and ladle in enough batter again to cover the bottom. Now wait about 30 seconds, then start agitating the pan – just gently sliding back and forward on the hob to loosen up the pancake. If it sticks, give it a hand with a spatula just to loosen.
Now don’t panic on the flipping! It’s a matter of trial and error to get the technique but (a) if you mess it up you’ll often be able to recover the pancake, and (b) your kids will think you’re great when you master it. It’s all in the wrist, a quick sharp flip of the pan, ensuring you get a bit of spin to the pancake. If it’s cooked properly on one side (about a minute on the pan), it should hold it’s shape while flipping over and landing cooked side up.
Now whilst taking the plaudits from your admiring public, wait 30 more seconds for the underside to cook, tip it onto a plate, and get coating or filling. For breakfast we drizzle on Lyle’s Golden Syrup (they do a pouring version now, as well as a gorgeous maple-flavoured one) before rolling up and cutting into bite-size pieces. Alternatively you could go with the classic sprinkling of sugar and lemon, or maybe a drizzle of honey. The fact is pancakes are SO adaptable you can add whatever takes your fancy.
If filling, try fresh fruit, or for a dessert, ice-cream, fruit, honeycomb, chocolate, marshmallows, crumbled meringue… ohhh! (Sorry, I’ve actually just drooled on my keyboard now.)
Now I’m afraid even I can’t advocate a wine match for breakfast pancakes, but if you’re doing the dessert version in an evening I haven’t tasted a better match than our Keith Tulloch Botrytis Semillon. It’s not lusciously sweet like many great dessert wines, so retains an element of savouriness, and just oozes butterscotch and honey to compliment the sweet filling suggestions listed above.
So, apologies for jumping on the pancake bandwagon, but do remember, unlike sprouts at Christmas, pancakes really shouldn’t just be for Pancake Day.


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