Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday for some): what’s not to love? The simple joy of eating freshly cooked English pancakes topped with sugar and lemon, rolled into a cylinder and cut into four easy to eat scrumptious segments. And gone in seconds … Well, that’s how we do it, because that’s how Mum used to cook and serve them up, when three very hungry birds sat with open beaks and proffered plates in our family home many years ago. I’ve still got her her well-thumbed (and batter splattered) recipe for perfect English pancakes in her cookery book, given to her by her own mother.
Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, just eggs, milk, flour and a pinch of salt. Plus some hearty beating and then the magic addition of lemon and sugar. Taking a wee bit of culinary licence here’s her recipe – fool proof and delicious.
Perfect English Pancake Recipe
2 eggs – fresh as you like, whatever colour and size you have in the fridge
8oz plain flour – 200grams if you’re cooking in new money
1 pint milk – 20 fl oz of whatever milk you like from full fat to skinny linny
Pinch of salt – definitely NOT Maldon sea salt or anything fancy, just table salt
Sift the flour into a big bowl and add salt
Break the eggs into a jug or bowl and whisk. Add the milk and stir
Pour about ¼ into the flour and beat, using an electric whisk with batter hook if you’ve got it or a hand whisk or a balloon whisk if you want to get repetitive strain injury.
As the flour is incorporated into the milk, add more mixture until it’s all mixed into a silky smooth batter liquid. It should be nicely runny with no lumps. (You can always use a sieve to get rid of the lumps if you get bored with mixing.)
Heat a heavy based frying pan or griddle pan over a fairly high heat. Add a dash of cooking oil (vegetable not olive) or butter. (Mum used to use lard in the olden days but definitely not recommended now.) When the oil’s hot (but not smoking) ladle in enough mixture to coat all the pan as you delicately swirl it round. The mixture should sizzle ever so slightly as it hits the oil.
After a couple of minutes use a spatula to check the bottom has turned nicely golden and flip over.
If you want to toss the pancake (and why shouldn’t you?) cook the other side first, loosen the pancake and then flip it up into the air – and try not to cross your fingers as it goes up and if you’re very lucky it will fall gracefully back into the pan as if nothing had happened. And if it doesn’t, pop it on a plate and have another go.
Serve up immediately – they taste best hot. Squeeze lemon and sugar over the top, then roll up. If you want to be fancy-dancy, fold into quarters like they do with French crepes before setting fire to them with Cointreau. Repeat until all the mixture is gone – not sure how many it makes, cos who’s counting? Except of course, as kids we did and my son certainly knows how many he’s had. If you’re very lucky you may even get to have one or two yourself. (I highly recommend halving the mixture and making a batch just for yourself 🙂 After all, you can never have enough of perfect English pancakes, can you?
What’s your favourite (or worst) topping/filling? Add it to the Comments and let’s see what comes out on top 🙂
In memory of the perfect English Mum 🙂
Of course there will be many who argue this is NOT the perfect English pancake recipe, because everyone has their own. Maybe you like yours with maple syrup and bananas, or perhaps you like them savoury. Do share your favourite topping/filling – the quirkier the better 😉 Happy Pancake Day!
Mine’s the lemon – though haggis and irn bru might make a quirky option 😉
You’ve been listening to Jazzer on the Archers haven’t you!