By Miss Pollyanna, 8th February 2016

5 Ways to Pancake Perfection

A Twist on the Traditional this Shrove Tuesday...

A Twist on the Traditional this Shrove Tuesday…

Can I let you in on a secret?
For all my sugar-powdered kitchen prowess, I have only just learnt how to toss the perfect pancake… my past attempts either resembling scrambled egg clinging stubbornly to the frying pan, or a crumpled disc stuck to the ceiling and threatening to become a toupee on somebody’s head! But one thing I have always been a fan of is spicing things up (although not literally, for February Pancakes on my kitchen stove should always be sweet.)

pancake mix

So let me whet your appetite with some of these delicious alternatives to the traditional lemon/sugar/sultana pancake. Go on! You’ve done the Dry January thing. And you’ve juiced yourself through enough boxes of organic celery and cucumber to last a whole year.

It’s time for a treat!

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Here are my 5 Ways to Pancake Perfection…

But first off, the basics:
For every decent pancake begins with a foundation of excellence. So look no further than this tried and tested recipe which will yield around 8 pancakes for you (most importantly!), your family and friends. If you need more, and let’s face it, we can most of us pack away at least 2 pancakes each, then simply double up on the quantities!

pancake stack

Ingredients:
300ml milk
100g plain flour
2 eggs
1 tbsp oil
pinch of salt (use some Pink Himalayan if you can… 100% healthy as opposed to table salt!)

Method:
1: Put the flour and salt into a large bowl, mix and then make a well in the centre. Add your two eggs, approximately 50ml of the milk and finally the oil. Whisk with purpose to slowly combine everything. This should leave you with a paste-like consistency. If it is too thick then add a drop more milk.

2: Add a little more milk and whisk again so that everything gets a little looser. Now carefully pour the rest of the milk whilst continuing to whisk. You are looking for a batter that resembles thickened single cream.

3: Get the frying pan relatively hot. This is the key to a successful pancake! A good tip is to heat the pan slightly and then wipe over it with oiled paper, then let it heat up some more. Next put a ladle full of batter mixture into the pan. Angle your pan immediately to ensure the mixture is evenly dispersed and fairly circular – if you have some excess batter, pour it into a jug!  Put the pan back on the heat and let the pancake cook for about half a minute. You will know if your frying pan was the right temperature as the pancake should be golden and ready to flip after just 30 seconds.

4: (Aka. The Fun Part) – Carefully hold the frying pan handle, then gently slide a fish slice underneath the pancake, lift and nimbly toss it over. Let it cook for another half a minute then serve and eat warm with a yummy topping.

Continue this way with the rest of the mixture.

And speaking of yummy toppings, why not give some of these a go?

strawberries pancake

1: Strawberry and Clotted Cream Ice Cream Pancakes
This luscious combo will transport you straight to heaven from the very first mouthful. I’m not saying these ingredients are the easiest to come by. But, if you can get your hands on them, oh, you should!

To incorporate the strawberry element simply add two or three handfuls of chopped dried strawberries into the mixture once your batter has come together. Definitely DO NOT attempt with fresh ones… unless you want watery pancakes! But dried strawberries give a really sweet, healthy and luxurious alternative to the bog standard sultanas or raisins we come to expect every February. And when combined with a glorious dollop of Cornish Clotted Cream Ice Cream – Kelly’s is one of the market leaders around in terms of being a hit both price and taste wise – you cannot go wrong!

2: Maple, Walnut and Apple Pancakes
For a true winter’s treat, and to put the fire back in your belly, let me introduce you to my Canadian/Somerset inspired Maple, Walnut and Apple Pancakes. These are so easy to make and what really sets these apart, besides the great fusion of flavours which really work to produce a slightly healthier (depending on how much syrup you want to ooze over the top!) style treat, is the variety of texture. If you really want to add in another dimension, feel free to throw some sultanas into the mix.

To add this awesome treat to your pancakes, just roughly chop a few handfuls of walnuts and a couple of large apples (skin off, de-cored) and add it to the batter, mixing to incorporate everything before you ladle into the pan. Cook as normal and as soon as you are ready to serve, drizzle a generous puddle of maple syrup on top. Delicious!

lime

3: Key Lime Pie Pancakes
Naturally we think lemon and a sprinkling of sugar when it comes to a ‘plain’ pancake, but how about opting for lime? The citrus thing has always been a hit on Shrove Tuesday, but the addition of lime really comes into its own when we go ‘all out’ Key Lime Pie!

Simply prepare your pancake batter as usual but then add the ‘rubble’ from 4 Digestive biscuits (okay, so this is slightly more Key Lime Cheescake Pancake than Pie Pancake… but the pastry element would be way too plain… we’re after the sweet/salty combo of the divine Digestive here!). Ladle into the frying pan as usual and then serve warm on the plate.

Before the pancake loses its heat, whip up a little cream and put it on top of your pancake (for ease you could use some clotted cream… or heck, yes, even that artificial spray cream – but shhh, you didn’t hear the latter from me), squeeze a lime wedge on top and then sprinkle with brown sugar. Irresistible.

4: Black Forest Pancakes
As with the Strawberry and Clotted Cream Pancakes, excuse me, but I’m going ‘all out posh’ here by advocating the use of dried cherries. Why? Well, for me they are infinitely less soggy and just work better when added to the pancake batter than the plump juicy version. So get your hands on a bag of these, chop them up if they’re a little on the large side and add them to your batter mix. Then ladle as normal into the pan and cook.

Once they are ready, add a scoop of good quality chocolate ice cream, a generous dollop of clotted cream, a grating of dark chocolate and a drizzle of cherry jam. Okay, jam IS hard to drizzle, but you know what I mean… Honestly, when you close your eyes and take your first bite, you wouldn’t know that you weren’t IN The Black Forest!

banana pancake

5: Chocolate Banana Custard Pancakes
And I saved the best for last. For me this is THE ultimate pancakey treat. Utterly ridiculous as a concept, perhaps. BUT as moreish as pancake creation comes. Give it a try and you will see what I mean!

We’re doing the same old thing with the pancake batter process once again, except this time at the end we are going to add in a couple of generous handfuls of milk chocolate chips. We ladle our batter into the pan and cook the pancakes as normal.

In the meantime, we have some shop-bought (or if we are being really domestically virtuous, some home-made) custard all hot and ready, just waiting to be poured. And we also have one sliced banana per pancake, just waiting to be scattered and doused! We transfer the pancake to the plate, simply lay the banana slices on top and then drizzle with custard – not so much as to drown the poor pancake, just enough to enhance it…

And now you can’t talk, can you? Too busy ‘mmming’!

But we’re nothing if not open-minded here at The Glass House, so share the wealth: tell us all about your twists on tradition this Pancake Day and let’s get everybody’s taste buds tingling!

What did you think?

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