Happy Pancake Day everyone! Growing up, Easter was never really a big thing in my house- I’ve only every received two Easter eggs in my life (cue violin music). But now I have the pleasure of cooking for myself I can make Easter related things to my heart’s content. First thing to tackle: Shrove Tuesday. Cue the batter!
Shrove Tuesday (also known as Shrovetide Tuesday, Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Shrove Tuesday, a moveable feast, is determined by Easter. Being the last day before the penitential season of Lent, related popular practices, such as indulging in food that one sacrifices for the upcoming forty days, are associated with Shrove Tuesday celebrations, before commencing the fasting and religious obligations associated with Lent.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrove_Tuesday
I can only remember celebrating one Pancake Day as a child, when I was 7 years old. The only pan wide enough for a pancake was this huge wok we had. It was so heavy, my dad had to use two hands to hold it. Anyway, after insisting the only proper way of flipping a pancake was a vigorous flick of the wrist, my father managed to adhere a half-cooked pancake to our kitchen ceiling. It remained there for the remainder of the day.
Needless to say, my lack of a skilled mentor meant I’m not so hot with pancakes. Until a couple of years ago, where I perfected my method and now can create the perfect pancake. Every. Single. Time. I kid you not. See this photo? That is a stack of no less than 17 pancakes and in the half hour I spent over my hob, I did not mess up a single one (with the exception of the one I burnt as I spent too long taking said photo but that was human error rather than a fault in the method.) I’m telling you, this method is foolproof. And that’s from the fool’s mouth herself.
Sorry if the method itself seems a bit wordy but I am assuming you are as much as a novice as I was. These are the little tips I have discovered that seem to help immensely. If you have any of your own, let me know 🙂
Also, stay tuned next week when I show you what I made with this epic pancake tower. (It’s sooo good, you don’t want to miss out.)
Ingredients (makes 8)
- 100g (3 1/2 oz) flour
- 2 eggs
- 300 ml (10 fl oz) milk
- Toppings of choice (Lemon and sugar is traditional but my favourite is Nutella and banana. But don’t limit yourself- try fruit compotes, savory spreads, whipped cream, mango chutney, go nuts (literally add nuts!))
- Vegetable oil for greasing the pan
- In a bowl, sift in the flour before creating a ‘well’ in the centre.
- In this ‘well’ crack in your eggs and add 1/3 of the milk and 1 tbsp of oil.
- Stirring from the centre outwards, mix your batter well. If the mixture is too stiff, feel free to add more milk.
- Once you have obtained a smooth paste, add the rest of the milk and mix. You should get a mixture with the consistency of single cream.
- Place a medium sized pan over a medium heat (if you are unsure what temperature to do, it’s best to have it on a lower heat. An under cooked pancake can be resolved with a extra flip; no one wants a burnt pancake).
- Use a oiled piece of kitchen roll, grease your pan. You want a thin, even coverage. (I also find the low-calorie spray oil is quite good at this).
- Get a ladle of your batter (some people place their batter in a jug so they can use the spout to pour but this way, you cannot ensure you are using the same amount of mixture for each pancake) and spoon it in the centre of your pan. The mixture should naturally spread to the edges but you can give it a bit of a swirl. (Be warned, over vigorous swirling will result in a pancake of an uneven surface- if you are so bothered by such things).
- Once the surface of the pancake becomes matted, its ready to be flipped. (The underside of the pancake should be golden but its easier to check the top that it is the bottom!)
- Flipping method: right this is the crucial bit. If you are not very confident with your ability, just use a spatula/turner (I mean a particular shaped spatula- see photo). If you greased your pan sufficiently, the spatula should be able to get under the pancake relatively easily. Then it’s just a simple wrist rotation
- If, like my dad, you insist on flipping- then good luck. It’s not that tricky once you get the knack. First, shift the pancake to the edge of the pan furthest away from you. Then flick your wrist. I can’t really help more than that. Just remember, you are going for a 180 degree flip- it doesn’t need any height or anything showy.
- Cook the other side for the same amount of time and you have yourself a pancake. Repeat the process until you run out of batter, remembering to grease the pan with your kitchen roll when the oil if used up.
- Add your toppings, roll it if you wish, then enjoy.
STORAGE TIP: If you place sheets of grease proof paper between your pancakes as you stack them, you can reheat them all at once in a microwave. Pancakes only keep for a day but if you wrap them in cling film you can freeze them for a month!