After a recent trip to Amsterdam, where I decided that the international cuisine must be pancakes, coupled with the fact that next week it is pancake day I have been getting very excited about those thin discs of heaven.
Pancakes are easy peasy From Scratch food. Eggs, milk and flour, done! I know you can get batter mixes but I can’t think of anyone I know who uses those and if you are reading this blog I am guessing pancake mixes probably aren’t your thing.
So you have a pancake… yummy… But what is a pancake without a filling?
Well? Let’s face it… Pretty bland.
When you think about it, From Scratch fillings are a bit more challenging. However they can be done. So I thought I would run through some of my favourite pancake combos, most From Scratch, some not quite so From Scratch but all of them delicious.
Oh, and then there is a recipe for the fluffly drop scone/ American style pancake, because why not add cultural diversity to your pancake day?
Basic Pancake Recipe
100g Plain Flour
1 large egg
300ml of milk
- Place the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and then crack in the egg and add half of your milk
- Mix this together and slowly add the rest of the milk to make it into a smooth batter.
- Heat your frying pan on the hob. Add a knob of butter and whirl it around over the surface so it all has a layer of oil
- Tip any excess melted butter into your batter and stir it in
- I always do a drop of batter just to check the pans at the right temperature. Once you have checked this ladle in your batter and swirl it around the pan until you have covered the base. Wait until you start to see it come away from the edge, loosen it and flip it.
- Leave for about 3o seconds to cook on the other side and there you have your basic pancake.
Now for the toppings
The classic – Lemon and Sugar: Simply squeeze some lemon over and dust with sugar ( try golden granulated, brown, or even cinnamon or vanilla sugar for some variety). Or dust with icing sugar and then squeeze lemon over. Either way it’s delicious and not too rich which means seconds, thirds and fourths are on the cards!
Nutella/Chocolate sauce: This is undoutedly a popular option. I always prefer to put this on whilst the pancake is still in the pan as I like the way it melts it a little. To make your own chocolate sauce gently heat 200ml of single cream with 2 tbsp of caster sugar (over a double boil) then melt 200g of chopped chocolate and add ground hazelnuts (about 2 tbsps full) into the mix. Remove from the heat and stir together. Simple as that. To make it truly From Scratch you can follow my chocolate making recipe here.
Fruit time: There are a couple of ways of doing fruit pancakes. Most people seem to chop the fruit and heat it gently in a pan with some relevant liquor. However I like to chop it up into small pieces and add it to the batter. This was inspired by my Pancake Bakery trip in Amsterdam where I had a banana pancake with walnut ice cream where the pancake came with bananas melted in and then two fat scoops of delicious ice cream plopped on top. As this isn’t really much of a recipe but I will suggest some nice combos: Obviously Banana and Walnut, Apple and Cinnamon (you could use cinnamon sugar here), Bluberries and almonds, rasbperrys and white chocolate, or if you want to be adventurous why not try some chilli marinated pineapple? The permutations are endless and the best things about pancakes is if they go wrong, it takes seconds to make another. This is definitley the place to experiment.
Nutso about nuts: I absolutely love nuts and cant think of a better way to add some amazing texture to what can sometimes be a bit of a squishy meal. I think nuts can add a brilliant topping to fruit or ice cream, or chocolate/ caramel sauce. Nonetheless they can also be the star of the show. I recently made some baklava and realised this same recipe could make a delicious pancake mix. It’s really easy. In a pan melt 2 tsbps of honey, 50g sugar, and 2 tbsp fruit juice to make a syrup. In the meantime blitz hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios and almonds in a food processor ( or grind by hand). Then just dress up the pancakes by throwing the nuts and syrup all over it. You can increase the wow factor with some vanilla ice cream – or if you really love nuts like me, why not try some pistachio ice cream to really top it off. (Warning-may contain traces of nuts!)
Now for the Savoury:
Pesto and Mozzarella: This has become a new favorite since experimenting a few weeks back at a friends house. Make up a simple pesto by blitzing pine nuts, basil, parmesan and some olive oil then season. Tear up the mozzarella and place on the pancake in the pan (melting the cheese a little is important) then drizzle over some pesto, fold, and devour.
Spinach and Ricotta: Now this is a bit of a left-field recipe. But I really like the spinach and ricotta mix which is usually stuffed into pasta, and I think it can work just as well here. I always quickly fry off the spinach with some garlic just to get some liquid out so it doesn’t become too slimy. Then simple add some cheese ( you could also try feta or any cheese you fancy) to your pancake whilst it’s in the pan let it melt slightly. Add your spinach and you have a Popeye pancake in no time.
Now I promised an American style pancake recipe so here we go. Courtesy of my sisters fiancee who seems to whip these up for Sunday morning brunch all the time. (You can see why she is marrying him)
Dan’s Breakfast Pancakes
4 oz Flour
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites
- In a bowl make a batter with the flour, milk and egg yolks. Also add 1tsp the of baking powder
- Whip your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they are light and fluffy, ( the more air you get in here the more fluffy your pancakes will be)
- Then slowly fold your eggs whites into the batter mixture
- Heat your pan and drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the pan- for drop scones do smaller circles and for american pancakes put a big ladleful in. You should start to see some air bubbles, when you do loosen and flip the pancakes
- Leave them to cook for about 30 seconds on the other side, then serve.
My favorite way to have these is covered in blueberries and strawberries, with a drizzle of maple syrup and some crispy bacon. Oh, and to finish it off a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. Delicious.
Hopefully this has inspired you to try out something new, or simply enjoy old favorites. Either way bring on Mardi Gras!