One of the most exciting food celebration days is almost upon us: Pancake Day. Also known as Shrove Tuesday, this day precedes Ash Wednesday which is the start of Lent. Pancakes are made up of milk, eggs and flour – food groups which were traditionally restricted during Lent therefore they were feasted on the day before.
Over the years I have tried many sweet and savoury types of pancakes and cannot decide which I prefer. Ham and Cheese or Lemon and Sugar… which to choose?! I feel that is a question I will never be able to answer, but I am happy to spend time researching to see if a solution exists. So I decided to go a bit further this year and attempt a few new toppings with my good friend Kate. We have passed many pancakes days flipping together since our student days, so this is a tradition which we like to keep alive.
100g plain flour (sieved)
300ml milk (skimmed for a light option)
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Pinch of salt
Mix together the flour and salt in a bowl, and create a well in middle. Add the eggs, oil and a little of the milk in the well and whisk together, slowly incorporating the flour. Once all mixed together, slowly add the rest of the milk, constantly whisking. Pop in the fridge and remove 30 minutes before using to allow to get to room temperature. Wipe the frying pan (or the pancake pan) with sunflower oil and put it on a high heat. Once hot enough, ladle a spoonful of the mixture into the pan and tilt so that it covers the entire base. Start to gently ease it away at the edges and wait until the bottom is cooked – you can tell as it will move around freely when you jiggle the pan. Once it is cooked on the bottom, give it a flip – it may take a few tries but it is easy to get!
In general, the first pancake is a disaster as it will either be too thick, too thin or the pan will not be hot enough. However after the first failed attempt, you should be able to produce some great ones! Remember to wipe the pan with more oil between pancakes so that they do not stick. These can be frozen (wrap in cling film), or made the day before and kept in the fridge. To re-heat, either put on a low heat in the oven for 5 – 10 minutes, or heat up gently in a frying pan.
So for the toppings! Two new ones were tried and tested this year, both of which proved to be keepers for future pancake days.Honeycomb Butter Pancake
This month’s edition of BBC Good Food has a section on pancake toppings, and one of these is Honeycomb Butter. To make, bash up a Crunchie bar, and mix it with 1 tbsp honey, 50g soft butter and a pinch of salt. Pour onto some clingfilm, roll into a sausage shape and place in the fridge to firm up for 30 minutes. Once the pancake is cooked, add a slice of the Honeycomb Butter whilst it is still in the pan and spread around until it starts to melt. Roll up and serve with a dusting of icing sugar.Breakfast Pancake
The idea of a breakfast pancake also sprung to mind: Homemade Granola, Greek Yogurt and Honey. To make the Granola, preheat the oven to 180C and mix together 100g porridge oats, 75g mixed nuts (hazelnuts and flaked almonds work well), 25g sunflower seeds, 25g raisins, 1 tsp mixed spice and 2 tbsp sunflower oil. Spread out the mixture on a non-stick baking tray and drizzle over some honey (roughly 3 tbsp). Bake for around 12 minutes and leave to cool. Once the pancake is cooked, transfer to a plate and add the toppings together in whatever order suits you best. Some berries would make it extra special, and any left over granola can be put in a jar and saved for non-pancake day breakfasts (which are sadly never as exciting).
– Lemon Juice, Sugar and Blueberries
– Peanut Butter and Jam
Hopefully some readers will try my recommended new toppings above, but if anyone has any other exciting ideas, please let me know. Enjoy