How To Make The Best Pancakes
With Shrove Tuesday fast approaching I am digging out my pancake recipes. My twin boys are very excited. I don’t often make pancakes at home but I do like to keep with the tradition, as indeed I love the traditional recipes for lots of celebration days including Mother’s Day, Easter and Christmas and you can learn to make the traditional recipes for these festive days on my baking classes throughout the year.
Shrove Tuesday or ‘ Pancake Day’ marks the day of feasting before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday on which begins the Christian tradition of 40 days of fasting before Easter Sunday. Traditionally it was an opportunity to use up rich foods like eggs, butter and milk by making pancakes.
I like to make the two classic pancakes, Scotch Pancakes also known as Drop Scones and Crêpes, or thin pancakes. Both are dead easy to do the trick is really in the cooking and maybe getting some practice in advance is not a bad idea. And if you are feeling indulgent Crêpes Suzette are absolutely delicious. These are the recipes my mother always made on Pancake Tuesday.
You can find my favourite recipes and some useful hints and tips on how to make the best pancakes below.
These are the classic Shrove Tuesday Pancake. I love them served the traditional way with just a little butter, a squeeze of lemon and a tiny sprinkle of sugar.
7oz plain flour
2 eggs medium or large
¾ pint milk (full fat)
2 tablespoons melted butter plus extra for cooking
Makes 10 – 12
- Sift the flour into a bowl, add the salt and make a well in the centre.
- Add the egg and most of the milk and whisk until smooth.
- Add the remaining milk gradually & whisk until well mixed.
- Let the batter rest for 30 minutes. Then add the melted butter.
- If it seems too thick you can add a little more milk. It should have the consistency of double cream.
- To cook the pancakes, heat a non-stick frying pan, about 20cm wide over a medium heat until hot. Swirl in a little butter and tip out any excess or use butter paper to grease the pan (you don’t want any excess fat).
- Then add a small ladle of the batter, just enough to coat the base of the pan.
- Swirl it quickly until it covers the base. Cook for a minute or two until lightly coloured underneath then flip over with a palette knife and cook for a minute more until nicely coloured on both sides.
You can keep the pancakes in a warm oven layered up on a plate until ready to serve.
Useful Tips – How To Make The Best Pancakes
Try and use a good non-stick frying pan about 20cm wide. You could go mad and invest in a proper Crepe pan if you can justify the expense.
Let the batter rest before use. This has the effect of softening the starch cells allowing the pancakes to be thinner without being tough.
It’s a good idea to have two pans going at the same time to speed things up a bit.
Your pan should be hot but not too hot, if it’s smoking it’s too hot!
Clean your pan between pancakes with some kitchen paper especially if you are using butter as it can start to burn a little and go dark brown.
You can use sunflower oil or butter or a hard fat like lard or Cookeen to grease your pan. Butter has the best flavour. Do not use too much it should literally just coat the base. You could use a butter wrapper or kitchen paper.
When making crêpes do not be tempted to add too much batter at a time. You really want them to be lovely and thin. This can take a bit of practice with the first few to get right.
Don’t be afraid to add more milk if your batter seems to be too thick.
When cooked, pancakes are really best eaten straight away but you can layer them up on a warm plate in a low oven so everyone can eat together. Don’t worry they won’t stick together.
Ideally use organic free-range eggs for the best flavour.
They are just as delicious served without sugar. I love them with just a little butter and a squeeze of lemon.
1 quantity crêpe batter
1 teaspoon caster sugar
grated zest 1 orange
knob of butter, plus extra to fry
50g caster sugar
juice of 2 oranges
grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons Cointreau (optional)
2 tablespoons brandy
- Add the sugar and orange zest to the crêpe batter and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Just before cooking, melt the knob of butter and stir it into the batter.
- Warm a plate in a low oven.
- To cook the crepes, heat a small amount of butter (or Cookeen – less likely to burn) in a small heavy-based non-stick frying pan (about 20cm). When hot pour in just enough batter to cover the bottom, swirling it to coat.
- Cook over a medium heat for about a minute or until nicely golden underneath, then using a palette knife, flip it over and cook briefly on the other side.
- Lift onto a warm plate and cover with greaseproof and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining crêpes, stacking on top of each other as you go.
- To make the orange sauce, put the sugar in a large shallow heavy-based pan (you want to set in your crepes in a single layer) and heat gently, shaking the pan occasionally until the sugar has melted and turned caramelized, it should be golden brown. Remove from the heat, add the butter, orange juice, and lemon zest. Return to the heat and stir until the sauce begins to simmer. Add the Cointreau.
- Fold each crepe into quarters and add all the crepes to the pan and simmer for a few minutes to reheat, pouring the sauce over the crêpes.
To flambe, warm the brandy in a ladle over gas or a heated hot plate and pour it over the crêpes, then light with a long match, be careful of any flames. When the flame dies down, serve immediately. Delicious !!
You can find my favourite recipes with lots of useful hints and tips in my EBooks which are available to buy and download here.
250g Plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
25g caster sugar
- Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and add the sugar and salt and mix in.
- Make a well in the bottom and add the egg and most but not all of the milk and whisk together until the batter is smooth and has a dropping consistency. Add more of the milk if required. Do NOT over mix.
- Heat a non-stick pan or griddle and grease with a little butter then for each pancake drop 1 large tablespoon of the batter onto the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes on one side before turning over. They are ready to turn when the bubbles start to burst.
- Turn over and cook until golden on the other side.
- Serve warm with your choice of topping.
- These will keep for a few days and are great toasted.
Banana Buttermilk Pancakes
Add a large mashed banana to the batter and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon if you like and cook as above.
Note: you can also make these with regular full-fat milk
You can find lots more recipes and seasonal inspiration on my recipe page.
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