I adore pancakes. Absolutely one of my favourite foods, and I can’t think why I don’t eat them more often.
So Shrove Tuesday is a set in stone ritual in my household, whichever side of the Atlantic I find myself. If I should happen to be on the road in America then it’s a short stack in a diner, with hot syrup and a side of berries.
If in London and I’m feeling sociable, it’s supper with thin Chinese flour pancakes to wrap around deep fried tofu or shredded chicken with julienne-d spring onions (scallions) and satay sauce to start with, followed by something tortilla-based, maybe fajitas or enchiladas and always, always finishing up with pancakes (more of a French crepe than an American doughy slab) with sugar, lemon & currants.
(I know the currants are a bit leftfield, but it’s what my mother gave us as infants, and the habit stuck.)
As I’ve only just moved into the hobbit hole, I’m not really in a position to throw dinner parties, so I compromised by ringing up my mate Rollo at midday and demanding that he come round to eat pancakes with me for lunch – fortunately he works in the middle of Camden and as, in the 22 years that we’ve been friends, I’ve never known him decline food, that was an easy sell.)
I also put in the three-line whip to Lil’sis and Posetta Baddog, and managed to persuade E & little C to hop it from W11, and suddenly we had a lunch party.
The recipe I use is completely foolproof and takes 2 mins to whizz up in a blender. I know trad recipes say to let the batter stand for 30mins, but I never bother. Far too greedy to wait. Feeds four people about three pancakes each (+practice ones.)
Put 110gms /4oz plain flour in a blender or food processor. Best to sift it to avoid lumpy pancakes but I forgot.
Crack in two eggs, and whizz, whilst pouring in through the top 200mls/7fl oz. of whole milk (the fat won’t kill you) plus 75ml/3fl oz. water. You can use all milk, but I find this makes for a slightly too thick batter. Then add a good pinch of salt (even if you are eating them sweet), and 1 tbsp. of a flavourless vegetable oil like sunflower. Scrape down the sides; give it a final whizz, and decant into a bowl that you can safely ladle out of.
Put your frying pan on with a scant teaspoon of oil. I find it easier to have a little jug filled with oil next to me so I don’t pour in too much each time, and to minimise the risk of melting the plastic oil bottle when I inevitably put it down on a hot plate.
When it is smoking, pour in a ladleful of batter and swirl it around. If bubbles appear your heat is too high.
(L) Too hot (R ) Perfect -ish
When the bottom looks set, slide a palette knife under, flip and cook the other side till golden,
before sliding onto a plate.
Warning: the first pancake is always terrible (this is the law),
and I reckon it took me at least 3 attempts to get my pancake mojo on. So don’t be discouraged. By the final one you’ll be flipping it 2 feet in the air like me.
I ate mine with the afore-mentioned sugar, currants & lemon (What? Perfectly acceptable lunch), and the others had crispy bacon and maple syrup.
Oh – I used the amazing Green Pan frying pan that I was given a few weeks back. More on this later, but absolutely bloody brilliant for making pancakes – not a hint of stick – and even better, PTSE free none of those nasty toxic fumes trad non-stick pans give off if you heat them too high.