My favourite holiday! Is it actually a holiday? Probably not... Either way, it's still a favourite. The day designed to get rid of all those rich ingredients such as flour, eggs & milk (obviously they didn't have Krispy Kremes when Shrove Tuesday started!) in preparation for Lent.
Different from Scotch & American pancakes, the traditional Shrove Tuesday pancake uses plain flour with no raising agents, creating that perfect (& frankly, delicious) flat-as-a-pancake finish. There's also no need for additional ingredients - such as sugar or butter - just the standard eggs, milk & flour. Simple, so easy to make but utterly delicious. And it's all about the toppings with these bad boys.
To make the best possible pancakes, it pays to make your batter in advance. The mixing process of the batter activates the gluten in the flour, causing your batter to have a bit of stretch. By letting the batter rest, you allow the gluten to resettle, making your pancakes less rubbery when cooked - just be sure to give it a quick, gentle mix to re-combine the ingredients before cooking. I often make up my batter the evening before & pop it in the fridge when I plan pancakes for breakfast! Plus, letting your batter rest also makes for tastier pancakes too.
•4oz Plain Flour.
• 2 Eggs.
Sift the flour into a large bowl.
Make a well in the flour and add the eggs. Using a hand mixer, combine the flour & eggs.
Gradually add the milk in small amounts, mixing continuously, until all combined.
Leave the batter to rest for an absolute minimum of 20 minutes.
Add a little butter to your fry pan and ladle the batter in, tipping the pan from side to side too ensure it's evenly dispersed & covering the entire pan. They don't take long at all to cook. You can tell your pancake it ready to flip when it appears dry on top and slightly crispy around the edges.
Flip! Either with a spatula on the Pancake Day way.
Providing your pancake has remained in the pan, continue to cook for a further minute or so, until golden on both sides.
Now for the fun part - the topping! The great thing about these pancakes is that you can have them either sweet or savoury. For sweet, you can't beat a good bit of sugar with lashings of lemon juice. And for savoury, how about spinach, mushrooms & bacon, or some cheese & spring onion?
Beautifully fluffy, dripping in maple syrup & topped with crispy bacon. The American pancake! The quintessential breakfast of the Yanks. But just what makes these pancakes so perfect in comparison to our Scotch and Shrove Tuesday equivalents? Well, it's a combination of things.
First up is the choice of flour and raising agents. Most American pancake recipes will suggest using plain flour (although some traditional recipes even use cornmeal!) which without a little help will create some pretty flat pancakes indeed. This is where Baking Powder plays a big part as it'll lift your pancakes right up to the high heavens.
Next up is the buttermilk. Partly for flavour but also for the science-y side of baking. Using buttermilk in place of normal milk will help with the fluffiness of your pancakes, as the acid within the buttermilk reacts with the Bicarbonate of Soda (both in the Baking Powder & an extra pinch for good measure) causing lots of little bubbles to form in your batter. And bubbles equal fluffy pancakes!
• 4oz Plain Flour.
• 1 tsp Baking Powder.
• Pinch of Bicarbonate of Soda.
• Pinch of Salt.
• 3 tbsp Caster Sugar.
• 200ml of Buttermilk.
• 1 Egg.
• 3 tbsp Melted Butter.
• Additional butter for frying.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt & caster sugar into a large bowl.
Measure the buttermilk into a jug and add the egg. Gently whisk together with a fork.
Add half the buttermilk/egg to the dry ingredients & gently mix with a hand mixer. Once combined, gradually add the remaining milk/egg mixture, taking care not to over mix the batter. Once wet & dry ingredients are combined, add the melted butter and gently mix once more to combine.
Add a little butter to your frying pan & once hot, scoop some batter into the middle - I use a ¼ Cup measure and find this a perfect size.
When the pancake starts to bubble on top & appears dry, flip and allow to cook for a further minute or two. Once you have a decent stack of pancakes, sit back & enjoy!
My absolute favourite way to chow down on American pancakes is with the help of Maple Syrup & a good dollop of Crème Fraiche. Or of course you can fry up some crispy streaky bacon if you want to go all out!
"Dayday wake?" Well, John, seeing as you've ran in, jumped on the bed, shouted at him, kissed & cuddled him, taken his blanket off and then called me through to ask if he's awake, then yes, David is awake... Mondays & Thursdays are the days in which David sleeps - he'll be in his bed more than he will be anywhere else. Why? Because these are John's nursery days!
Just like his Mummy, David takes this opportunity to catch up on some very important business. In his case (being a baby & all) it's sleep. For me however, it's usually housework. But perhaps we'll manage to get a sneaky wee nap together this afternoon before picking up John...
A couple of weeks ago I asked, "is it pancake day this week?" Iain replied, "it's pancake day everyday in this house..." Ok, so he over exaggerated slightly but he's not completely wrong. I love pancakes. Like, almost as much as I love my children. The delicious fried, battery breakfast, perfectly crowned with a huge array of toppings - each carefully chosen dependant on which kind of pancake I'm making. Because y'know, every pancake is different after all!
From American too Scotch and not forgetting the traditional Shrove Tuesday style, I love them all. But what's the difference? Well, over the next few days, in preparation for Shrove Tuesday, I will share each of my favourite pancake recipes with you, alongside all my best tips & tricks for that perfect batter and even a great 'first pancake'!
First up, the Scotch! I've previously posted my Scotch pancake recipe but what better opportunity is there to bring it out from the archive? This is a smaller quantity recipe to that of my original one and will make around 10 pancakes.
So what makes a Scotch pancake? Also known a "drop-scone", the Scotch pancakes a bit different to their Shrove Tuesday cousins and more comparable to their American equivalent. Made using the traditional ingredients of flour, eggs & milk, Scotch pancakes also require a bit of sugar for sweetness and self-raising flour (as opposed to plain) to give them a bit of lift & fluffiness. They're traditionally cooked on a hot surface such as a griddle but if you have a standard cooker like us, a frying pan will suffice. Oh, and they're pretty tasty & go great with a cup of tea!
• 4oz of Self-raising Flour.
• Pinch of Salt.
• 1oz of Caster Sugar.
• 1 Egg.
• ¼ Pint of Milk.
• Teaspoon of Sunflower/Vegetable Oil.
• Additional Oil for greasing.
Sift the flour, salt & sugar into a large bowl.
Measure the milk into a jug and add the eggs. Gently whisk together with a fork.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the milk/egg into this. Using an electric hand mixer, bring the ingredients together to create the batter. Add the teaspoon of oil and give one final mix - the oil will help keep your pancakes moist & last a little longer.
Add a little oil onto your griddle (or a frying pan if you don't have a griddle) and evenly disperse with an oil brush. Once the pan is hot, scoop on a small amount of the batter (just over a tablespoon is ideal). I manage 3 pancakes in our frying pan at a time but dependant on your preferred size of pancake you might manage 2 or 4.
You'll know the pancakes are ready to flip when the top surface starts to show popping bubbles, after around 2 minutes. Using a spatula, gently flip the pancake and continue to cook on the other side for a another minute or so.
When golden brown on both sides, remove from the heat and enjoy with your choice of topping!
My personal favourite is a good helping of butter, John likes some jam and Iain thinks all pancakes should be smothered in ice cream & syrup. The great thing about these pancakes is that you can save any you don't use for a day or so, easily brought back to life with a minute in the toaster or microwave.
‼ Stay tuned for my American pancake recipe tomorrow & my Shrove Tuesday style pancake recipe on Tuesday. ‼