I adore pancakes and feel that there is something wrong in my life if I am not to be found with a frying pan in my hand on Shrove Tuesday in London. Often I host a supper party at home if I’m feeling sociable. I like to serve 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, (the recipe is here, and also in my excellent cookbook Friends, Food, Family, 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 or, if I’m feeling vaguely healthy, lots of berries.
(I know the currants are a bit leftfield, but it’s what my mother gave us as infants, and the habit stuck.)
Of course, if you do fancy an American-style pancake, here is my delicious recipe for super fluffy, like mattresses for hamsters, Caramel Apple Buttermilk Pancakes. Meanwhile, here follows my simple and classic recipe for French-style pancakes.
The recipe I use is completely foolproof and takes 2 mins to whizz up in a blender, and not much longer by hand in a mixing bowl. I know trad recipes say to let the batter stand for 30mins, but I never bother. I am far too greedy to wait.
This recipe makes about 10 pancakes, and the recipe is easily doubled.
Put 110gms /4oz plain flour in a blender or food processor. Best to sift it to avoid lumpy pancakes but I rarely bother.
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 from.
Put on a small-medium 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 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.
My recommended pancake pan is the excellent Greenpan Venice 20 cm Ceramic Non-Stick Open Frypan.
And if you are still wondering what to give up for Lent tomorrow, then check out this campaign