Pancake Day: An Idiot's Guide

So it's Pancake Day here in the UK.

Otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras. It was traditionally celebrated as the last day you could gorge on delicious, fatty foods before a period of lent. Lent isn't strictly observed in the UK these days, but some people take it as an opportunity to give up something inessential, like chocolate, or takeaway food (I have a friend who once gave up looking at seagulls for lent!)

In the UK, Ireland, Canada and Oz', usually this day is celebrated by eating lots of pancakes, which is exactly how we're gonna get down today! I'll be showing you how to make American-style, thick pancakes. However, if you prefer the flat, English-style pancakes, I will show you how to modify the recipe to meet your taste.

As Jesus said, 'Thou shalt not buy ready-made pancake mix, or worse, the Betty Crocker bottles. They are a diabolical waste of your coins.' Jesus was right.

My recipe involves really basic ingredients that any sporadic home cook will have in their kitchen cupboards. There is no measuring involved (measuring is such a ball-ache), everything is simply measured with a cup, so you can just crack on and feed people.

You don't have to be a culinary whizz to make these pancakes; it's pretty hard to fuck them up. In fact, just last weekend I got home from a night on the town - rolled in at 6am, blinding pissed - yet still made perfectly fluffy American pancakes for my friends. I couldn't walk in a straight line, but I could make these pancakes. They're peasy!


What You're Gonna Need:
+ Makes 6 fluffy, American-style pancakes + 

1 cup/mug*
1.5 cups of Plain flour (you can use Self-Raising, for which, use half the required baking powder)
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder (leave it out if you want English-style pancakes)
Pinch of salt
1 egg (use 2 for English-style pancakes)
1-cup of milk (use 2 cups for English-style pancakes)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
oil (for frying)

*anything you'd drink tea from. 250ml of volume is ideal - doesn't have to be exact.

Let's get this show on the road!

1. Add all your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl - flour, sugar, baking powder, salt - all the jazz.

2. Fill your cup near the top with milk, followed with your vanilla extract and your egg. Whisk it all together roughly and add it to your dry mixture.

3. Whisk everything together sharply until you have eradicated all of the lumps. Ideally you should have a pancake mix with a consistency of yoghurt. If you're making English-style pancakes, the batter should have the consistency of double-cream.

4. Leave the bowl of pancake mix undisturbed for 1-2 minutes. In the meantime, we need to heat up our frying pan. Add some oil to the pan and heat it on the hob until it's incredibly hot.

5. Once you're there, start scooping in the mix. Use around 3 spoonfuls per pancake. Don't move the frying pan and don't touch the batter. It's tempting to swirl it around, but it will smear the fluffy texture of your pancake.

6. Once the batter starts to puff up and bubble around the outer edges, it's ready to flip.

Slide your spatula under and gently flip it over. It should take about 30 seconds on either side. If one side looks particularly blonde, just fry it a little while longer.

Once your pancake is browned on both side, flop them onto a plate, and get started on your next one. It's good to nominate a kitchen assistant to take this in turns with you!

7. Dig in!

You can have them any way you like. You can eat them singly, dust them with icing sugar or stack them and drench them with maple syrup. If you have made too many, just store them in something air-tight, and pop them in the toaster later in the week!

Pancakes are a real weekend winner. They're quick to make, they're cheap as buttons, and you can pimp them up in many ways! Here are some ideas I've tried (with much delight!) ...

Maple & Bacon Pancakes
I was revolted at this idea, but it's more popular than you would reckon! Simply top your pancakes with crispy-fried bacon, and plenty of maple syrup. It tastes like something you've never tasted before - please don't knock it until you've tried it!

Red Velvet Pancakes
+Simply add a teaspoon of cocoa and some red gel colouring. When finished, drench in runny icing!

Cinnamon Sugar Pancakes
+ Sprinkle the finished pancakes with a tablespoon of light brown sugar and a poof of cinnamon.

Fruit-packed Pancakes
+ Add a large, ripened mashed banana to your batter, and add berries (in my case, blueberries!)

Give them a whirl - your Sunday mornings will never be the same again!

Thanks for reading!

Anthony :)



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