Pancake day, the day when tossers from around the world binge on a batter mix shaped into round thin discs of delight. In my house, the annual Who can eat the most competition was a fascinating mark on the calendar and often ended with me feeling very sick but always victorious!
Shrove Tuesday, its official name marks the start of Lent, a Christian fasting season, whereby people try to use up as much milk and fat as possible to avoid temptation.
Growing up, Pancake Day was a huge deal for me. Getting the exact correct concoction is an ongoing battle, and one that I may never win, but i solemnly swear to continue in my strive for perfection.
The batter mix for the perfect pancake is very simple:
- 100g plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil or vegetable, plus extra for frying
- pinch salt
- Put the flour and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Crack the eggs into the middle, then pour in about 50ml milk and 1 tbsp oil. Start whisking from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the eggs, milk and oil. Once all the flour is incorporated, beat until you have a smooth, thick paste. Add a little more milk if it is too stiff to beat.
- Add a good splash of milk and whisk to loosen the thick batter. While still whisking, pour in a steady stream of the remaining milk. Continue pouring and whisking until you have a batter that is the consistency of slightly thick single cream. Traditionally, people would say to now leave the batter for 30 mins, to allow the starch in the flour to swell, but theres no need.
- Heat the pan over a moderate heat, then wipe it with oiled kitchen paper. Ladle some batter into the pan, tilting the pan to move the mixture around for a thin and even layer. Quickly pour any excess batter into a jug, return the pan to the heat, then leave to cook, undisturbed, for about 30 secs. Pour the excess batter from the jug back into the mixing bowl. If the pan is the right temperature, the pancake should turn golden underneath after about 30 secs and will be ready to flip. Allow the pancake to cook for a further 30 seconds on the opposite side and voilá.
Now the important part the toppings! There are obviously all of the classics as shown in the link below:
Maple syrup??Very Canadian choice from the main man, basic but a classic. The fact he rocks up to work every day in a knitted wooly jumper looking like a lumberjack means this choice didnt overly surprise me. Phill is a creative man and buzzing with ideas so I did expect more, but Maple syrup however is a timeless classic.
Galaxy counters and sugar??This is actually a new one on me?! Though Johns description sounds intriguing, the Galaxy Counter is very much like a Minstrel but without the crispy shell so I assume will melt with the heat of the pancake, the sugar Im still confused but who am I to question the genius selection. Im just glad he didnt have a Macdonalds topping on there.
Sugar and Lemon Juice??Original and still the best, zzzzzz!! This non adventurous but tried and tested favourite selection has really surprised me. The refreshing, more-ish topping is however like Andy, once you meet him, you cannot dislike him. A legend in his own right.
Nutella and Haagen Daas Belgian chocolate ice cream??I dare you to have more than 3! After all of my experiments, this is easily my favourite but so sickly. I love the hot and cold contrast and the creamy chocolate mix with a hint of praline, it is literally exquisite. Not sure what this says about me though worried now!!
HAPPY PANCAKE DAY EVERYONE!!