With Shrove Tuesday on the horizon, thoughts inevitably turn to pancakes – making them, filling them and devouring them. It seems a shame to restrict pancakes to once a year, though. Personally I could eat them week in, week out.
The French have the right idea. They eat savoury as well as sweet versions- Like the buckwheat galettes of Brittany, for example, which come filled with ham, melted cheese and a soft-yolked fried egg.
Admittedly, pancakes are equally good doused liberally with a squeeze of citrus juice and a sprinkling of crunchy Demerara.
One of the best I ever ate, though, was in Thailand. It wasn’t strictly a pancake, more a stretched and flattened roti, fried in coconut oil, stuffed with bananas and, in typical South-East Asian style, covered in condensed milk.
Banana and pancake is as good a combination as banana and chocolate, so adding a great dollop of chocolate spread to them seems a logical next step.
And there is something distinctly bonding about making them at home.
Maybe it’s because the first one always seems to come out a bit duff or because of the entertainment factor added by some clever dick lobbing one onto the floor in the midst of showing off their flipping.
Or maybe it’s the waiting; the anticipation of watching someone else flavouring and tucking into their own as yours is ladled into the pan.
This year I’ll be doing something new, taking advantage of one of my favourite seasonal ingredients – rhubarb. Once my efforts are poured, wiggled and flipped I’ll be anointing them with some, cooked-down and sweetened with sugar, a few slivers of stem ginger added, plus a large spoonful of thick cream flecked with vanilla.
And just in case you’re planning some of your own…
- 120g/4oz plain flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 210ml/7fl oz milk
- 90ml/3fl oz water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Put the flour and the salt in a bowl and mix. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs.
In a separate bowl mix together the milk and the water. Beat the eggs into the flour with a wooden spoon and gradually beat in the milk and water mixture to get a smooth liquid the consistency of cream.
Stir in the oil and allow to stand for 30 minutes before using.
Hot hint: Before starting to cook your pancakes make sure the frying pan is very hot, then add a small knob of butter. Pour in enough batter to cover surface of pan and fry for about three minutes, turning – or if you’re brave, flipping! – half way. To get lacey-edged pancakes with crisp edges, add less batter so there’s a gap between the pancake and the edge of the pan.