The Lenten period is almost upon us and Shrove Tuesday is just around the corner. We caught up with our team of tutors for a short guide on ensuring that your pancakes this year are as thin, crisp, laced and golden as ever.
1. GATHER YOUR INGREDIENTS
You will need:
- 200ml whole organic milk
- 2 medium organic eggs
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of sugar
- 110g plain flour
- 50g organic unsalted butter
You will also need:
- 1 medium bowl
- 1 large whisk
- 1 sieve
- 1 non-stick pan
- 1 spatula
- a large plate
2. Begin your batter:
Measure out the milk and pour into the bowl. Drop in the eggs, add a pinch of salt and sugar and beat together really thoroughly with the milk. Tilt the bowl on its side to gather as much air as possible into the mixture.
3. Add the flour:
From a good height, pass the flour through the sieve into the bowl. Not only does the sieve prevent any lumps forming in the batter, but it also helps to incorporate more air into your batter.
4. Whisk again and melt your butter.
Once all of the flour has passed through the sieve, lightly whisk it through the batter until fully incorporated. Meanwhile, melt your butter in a pan.
5. WHY ADD BUTTER?
We like to add butter to our batter (try saying that a few times over!) as not only does this add a delicious depth of flavour to the pancakes (especially if you brown the butter a little before adding) but it also helps to prevent the pancakes from sticking to the pan. Who doesn’t love a little added butter anyway! Simply whisk all of the melted butter into the batter before setting the bowl aside to rest for at least half an hour!
6. TO REST OR NOT TO REST?
There are two camps when it comes to the notion of resting or not resting ones batter! We are very much in the resting camp – if you possibly can. Why? Resting the batter can often result in a lighter, less chewy batter – this is because the gluten in the flour has been able to relax. However, if we were using baking powder in our batter, this would be a different matter as the nature of baking powder means that it reacts with the liquid to form bubbles. If you leave the batter to rest for too long, the bubbles will subside rendering the baking powder useless. So in summary, of you are not using baking powder, give the batter a good rest – if you are using baking powder then you can get going without the resting phase.
6. The Perfect Pan:
And now for the most important part – the pan. Ideally you need a heavy-bottomed non-stick pan. Alternatively a well seasoned cast iron skillet will work too. The key is is to ensure that the pan is well greased (we like to use high temperature cooking oil such as grapeseed oil) but not too well greased. Running the oil around the pan before lightly absorbing any excess with a sheet of kitchen roll is best. You’ll probably need to re-grease the pan after every 2-3 pancakes.
Set the greased pan over a medium – high heat before adding your first batch of batter. Now the temperature of the pan at this stage is key. If the pan begins to get too hot, simply remove it from the heat to cool a little and adjust the temperature of your hob slightly. Follow your intuition, nose, ears and eyes throughout the cooking of your pancakes as this technique of removing the pan from the heat as and when you think it is getting too hot can be the saving grace of your pancakes.
7. Pour Away!
Gather about 2/3 of a ladleful of the batter and pour it into the hot, greased pan. Tilt the pan until the base is evenly coated, pouring any excess batter back into the bowl.
Set the pan back over the heat for about 20-30 seconds. The pancake will be ready to flip when bubbles begin to appear on the surface and the edges begin to crisp. Flip with a spatula – or with a vigorous toss if you dare! Cook on the other side for another 20-30 seconds before transferring to a warm plate.
9. Keep on cooking
Remember to re-grease the pan every now and then and keep the temperature of that pan at a constant, removing it briefly from the heat every now and then if it gets too hot.
9. Pile them up
10. AND SERVE!
Get all of your favourite toppings ready – we love grilled, sliced oranges with honey, or of course lashings of butter and maple syrup. However, don’t forget the true origins of Shrove Tuesday, and that was to use up any leftovers from your larder before the Lenten period of abstinence. Get inventive with savoury pancakes and try delicious fillings such as leftover chicken with Béchamel, soft herbs and lemon, or organic Gloucester ham with the ends of a lovely rich cheddar.