I know pancakes are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday which in 2013 is the 12th February, but in my opinion they make a fantastic desert whatever the season. You can do all sorts of things with them as long as you can get them off the ceiling which it shouldn’t come to that if you follow the advice of one who has been there, got the tee-shirt and learned the lesson!
This is one of my favourite recipes which I tried to fob off at a recent dinner party as Crepes la mûre.
“What’s that then,” said one of our plain speaking guests. “Posh pancakes?” The title didn’t do it for him, but the pancakes were delicious so here’s what you do.
First off you need to make the batter. This will make about 8 pancakes including a small taster which I share with the dog.
4oz (100g) plain flour.
Half a Pint (250ml) of milk.
Pinch of Salt
(Sue’s tip: When I used to make pancakes for the kids I used extra flour to make them thicker. This was a good filler and stopped them raiding the pantry when my back was turned!)
Pancakes are traditionally served with sugar, lemon or oranges which in my view is still the best way to eat them, but hey, we’re doing posh pancakes here so here’s the …
Gently stew half a pound or so of blackberries in a little honey and water, (or better still brandy!) By the way, it doesn’t have to be blackberries, you can use almost any fruit. Our freezer is always stuffed with them as I’m an inveterate blackberry picker and have the scratched and pricked arms to prove it! Keep fruit warm until all pancakes have been cooked.
Cooking the little blighters
Take it from me, this is the hard bit! Having scraped fragments of charred batter from stove tops, kitchen floors and the occasional ceiling on innumerable occasions, I am now something of an expert at pancake cooking! So here goes:
You need a really good frying pan such as a caste iron skillet. (Note to pancake racers: Don’t expect your five year old using one of these to win the Year 1 tossing race as I did. The poor little mite could barely keep it off the ground never mind flip it!) I digress. Heat the frying pan and get it really hot.
Rub it all over with the greasy wrapper from a block of lard, butter or oil. (Not margarine! If you knew what that stuff really was you would be mortified!) If you prefer just melt a small piece of fat or oil in the middle of the pan, but not too much!).
When it is really hot, pour in a couple of tablespoons of batter. (I have batter in a jug, makes it easier to pour).
Tilt the pan to spread the batter. You’ll know if you’ve got it right as the batter will start to curl at the edges and lift slightly. It should only take a minute or so to get the pancake brown so don’t leave too long otherwise it will burn.
Are You A Tosser?
Most people are not in which case you’ll need to flip the pancake over by using something like a fish slice.
If you can toss though, the job is done quickly and neatly with no tearing although I have to confess to spending considerable time picking dog hairs out of a few casualties that landed on the floor. Still, make these far enough in advance and your guests won’t know a thing about it!
Making ‘em Posh
Now you’ve cooked all the batter you can make full use of your artistic talents by spooning the blackberry mix onto the pancake, rolling, drizzling with a little honey, treacle or maple syrup and piping pretty little spirals of whipped cream along the top.
By the way, since we’re on the subject, if you want to know more about Pancake Day and Shrove Tuesday just click the link.