Friday, 11 March 2011

Pancakes are not just for Tuesdays!

Pancakes should not just be a once a year treat for Shrove Tuesday.
When I first came to Scotland I was disappointed to discover that they thought the pancake was about 2 ½ inches diameter and rose to about a quarter of an inch in thickness during cooking. Quite acceptable, but to me not as much of a treat as the thin pan sized pancakes which I used to make with my mother when I was a child.
Basic proportions, makes enough for about three people as desert, pictures are double quantities and we started with savoury fillings then sweet.

Four ounces plain flour sifted
Two eggs
One fluid ounce of light cooking oil plus milk to make Half a pint
Pinch of salt if you want
Originally the recipe was half a pint of full fat milk but over the years I have come to prefer the cooking oil and skimmed milk mix.

Sift the flour into a mixing bowl and add the two eggs and a very small splash of liquid mix then whisk until smooth.
Continue adding liquid whilst whisking until you have a creamy even liquid batter mix.
Some people say to let it stand  for a while before using, it will slowly become slightly more elastic in the finished pancake especially if you have saved some of the mix in the fridge overnight. If you’re in a hurry don’t worry you can use this mix straightaway.
Do you really need a well seasoned frying pan to make consistent pancakes. If you’re really keen you will keep one especially for this job, if you’re a little bit crazy like me you will keep two high up out of anybody else’s reach!
 Heat the pan, the  trick is to find the correct heat for your pan, it is something of a medium heat and once you have it set and remembered for the next time you will be able to make pancakes all night without ever touching the control again.
Some people use butter in a pan, I prefer a light cooking oil. Add a few drops to the pan and once heated wipe around with a small wad of kitchen paper, I’d wipe around the pan with this before each pancake.

Finding just the right amount of batter for each pancake takes a little trial and error, if you can find a small ladle which is just the right size you will never have to think again. You want just enough batter in pan to be able to cover the bottom with a rotary tilting action. Slightly loosen the edges of the pancake with a spatula or  blunt rounded kitchen knife, let it cook until it stops steaming then if necessary fully loosen and turn it over. 
Now you have encountered your first major decision, are you going to be a pancake tosser or flipper, the more flamboyant will probably choose tossing whilst the more demure like myself will be happy to flip it with a spatula. Even if I wished to toss my pancakes my pans are cast-iron and my muscles have wasted away!

You can do serve them straight to the table, I find I can cook them about as fast as a table full of dinner guests can consume them, alternatively you can pile them up in a warm oven with sheets of waxed or silicon paper between.
Now all you have to do is decide what to top them with.
The classic Lemon juice with a sprinkle of sugar or maple syrup is always popular. One of our favourites is thick Greek yoghurt with fish eggs though we have been unable to find them in the shops this year. This week we had them with a prawn cocktail mix and another batch with mushrooms in a white sauce with a dash of the soy. Only your imagination will limit the possibilities.
 If a small kid could make these, anybody can. Enjoy.



  1. It is interesting to compare traditions. At this time of year, we love pancakes with maple syrup (we are just about to start gathering sap and making syrup here).

    The recipes you refer to in the second last paragraph would be served with crepes, not pancakes here.

    Either way, very yummy!


  2. The thin batter makes these sound more like what I would call crèpes than pancakes. And no leavening! Interesting.

    My recipe is whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. One egg, milk (I tend to use thinned yogurt, which makes it more like a buttermilk pancake), and some oil. I combine wet and dry. Sometimes I incorporate some oat groats in a bit of water zapped in the microwave. And blueberries in season. These are more like the thicker pancakes that you don't care for. :)

  3. What you have described Caroline, is exactly the kind of pancake my Welsh grandmother, and mother and her sisters all used to make. They are denser, chewier, and more like a crepe, than a tradition thick flapjack. I prefer them to the thick caky kind. When we were kids, we used to love staying at my grandmothers, because she would make them for us exactly as you described. We would spread butter on them, and sprinkle them with sugar. Yum!

    Melissa XX

  4. Thanks Delia!!
    We should start a recipie corner on blogger comparing the different flavours of different places. ;-)

  5. Pancakes! That's the word I grew up with and we also had the Scottish ones thanks to a friend's grandmother. Rob and I had traditional Breton Gallets for lunch on pancake day with ham, egg and cheese inside.

    When they make crêpes here they put a little sugar in them.

  6. Many of the fillings are influenced by trips to France and in the days when we had whole food shops hereabouts I made the savoury ones like Anji described with a proportion of buckwheat flour.

    We need more words in the English language! If the inuit need more than 200 for snow how many do we need for all the uses of pancake?

    Sudden hunger is striking!


Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

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