How to make pancakes - English style!
Too many eggs? Not enough recipes? Here's a very simple homemade pancake mix which takes minutes to make and is delicious to eat.
No need for a store-bought mix - you really are better off without all those additives. Fresh eggs from your chickens and organic flour is the way to go - and much less expensive.
A word about pancakes and the UK.
Traditionally, pancakes in England are thin and usually eaten rolled up, dressed with sugar and a squeeze of the juice of a fresh lemon. In the US, they'd probably be called "crêpes" and eaten with a variety of fillings, both sweet and savoury.
I love the English version, though. Even the sight of them makes my mouth water.
'Pancake Tuesday' - also known as 'Shrove Tuesday' - in the UK (and 'Mardi Gras' elsewhere) is the day before Ash Wednesday and traditionally the day when pancakes are eaten at at least one meal.
Historically this has a religious background - eating all the rich foods before the beginning of 40 days' fasting during Lent.
How easy is it to make English-style pancakes?
When I was young and about to leave home, I'd tell my family "You'll miss my pancakes when I'm gone". Why? Because English pancakes are so, so easy to make - they were about the only thing I could cook successfully.
To this day - many years later - I make them every Pancake Tuesday and occasional days in between. And I am not known for my cooking skills!
That's how easy they are.
This is a very simple recipe I learned from my mother.
English pancakes - thinner than the US version and served with lemon and sugar.
This is plenty for 4 - 6 pancakes in a 10" pan.
100 grammes (3.5 oz / 0.75 cup) flour
2 fresh eggs
300 mls (0.5 pint / just over 1 cup) milk
A small amount of olive oil
Sugar and lemon juice for topping.
How to make pancake batter.
- Measure the flour into a bowl, make a 'well' in the middle and add your eggs and a dash of milk - like this ...
- No need to beat them first, although you can if you want. Add a dash of milk into the well.
- Using a hand whisk and starting at the centre, pull in some flour from the walls of the well, a little at a time, until all the flour is mixed in.
- Beat the mix well, adding in the rest of the milk. Don't over-beat it - it will make the pancakes hard. When it's done you'll see lots of air bubbles like this.
- The batter should be left to stand for at least 30 minutes - it's much easier to cook with - and if you want to, you can prepare it several hours in advance and leave it covered with a cloth until you're ready to eat.
How to cook your pancakes.
- Take a non-stick frying pan (you can buy special pancake pans but I just use my favourite heavy-duty Le Creuset model) and add about a teaspoon of oil.
- Heat it on a medium setting, swirling the oil around until it coats the pan. You can use kitchen towel to make sure it's completely covered and to wipe off any excess oil - otherwise the pancake will be too greasy.
- Take a ladle of the batter and add it to the heated pan, just enough
to cover the bottom. Don't add too much - English pancakes are
- Tilt the pan so the bottom is covered with the
batter, and depending on how thick your batter is, cook it for between
30 and 45 seconds.
- If you're brave enough, you can toss it. If not, just use a non-stick spatula to turn it. But tossing it is more fun!
- Cook the second side for a very short time - no more than 30 seconds. Now slide it out onto a plate.
- Sprinkle over a teaspoon of sugar, squeeze lemon juice over the top and fold the pancake into an oblong.
Here are the utensils I use to make my pancakes.
Want some other scrummy egg recipes? Try these!
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