Pancake Day Advise by Theo Michaels
First things to consider is are you going for the British tradition on Shrove Tuesday of the crepe like pancake? Deceivingly thin, always served with a generous sprinkle of sugar and and a squeeze of lemon juice? Or are you aiming for something more substantial and looking forward to a stack of American style fluffy pancakes oozing with melted butter and maple syrup? In either instance there are a few rules to follow which will make your pancake day experience much more bearable!
Tip 1: Takes a Beating
Don't over mix it; having a few lumps is OK. If you over-work the batter the gluten will go into overdrive and you'll get rubbery pancakes. And if you are making American fluffy style pancakes; once you've mixed in your baking powder don't stir as it will knock out the air bubble resulting in a flatter pancake.
Tip 2: Flipping 'eck..
Flipping pancakes is synonymous with the whole making pancakes experience - but do yourself a favour and use a spatula. Cooking fats will fly everywhere, the pancake will only flip half way turning into a mess. Instead, gracefully slide your spatula underneath and flip over in the pan.
Tip 3: Take One For The Team
I don't know why but the first pancake is almost always is the worst. It sticks, it doesn't cook right, basically, it flops.. I have no idea to the science behind this but chalk it up to mysterious superstition - let the first pancake take one for the team, the rest will be great.
Tip 4: To Butter or Not To Butter?
I've never found cooking pancakes in just butter very good. The butter burns, the pancakes taste charred. I recommend using a tablespoon of butter and oil. Add both to your pan, once hot, pour the excess into a cup and add to the pan as you cook more pancakes.
Tip 5: Mix Things Up
Don't. Make your pancakes plain and then add your toppings or flavourings afterwards. Mixing in berries, chocolate, cheese, whatever is taking your fancy disrupts the pancakes cooking evenly. Think: cook, top, eat. Not: mix, cook, eat.
Tip 6: Make 'em and Stack 'em
There is nothing worse than feeling like a conveyor belt of pancake making. The thing is; it is quicker to eat a pancake than it is to cook, or at least in our house it is. So turn on your oven to 80C, start piling up your pancakes on a plate, keep covered in foil in the oven. Once you've used up your batter - bring them to the table.
Tip 7: Be Prepared
You can make, almost, all of your batter in advance. If you're making thin crepes simply make your batter the night before or in the morning and you're good to go. If you are making the American style pancakes with baking powder in - make the batter in advance and mix through the baking powder just before cooking.
Tip 8: Less is Not More
Make lots, I mean tons. You'll always end up eating more than you thought.
Tip 9: Bubbles
Once you've started frying your pancakes; when you see the top start to turn opaque and bubbles are forming you are good to flip.
Tip 10: Shake It Up
If you are making American style pancakes; pour them in the pan and don't touch! You want them thick and fluffy. If you decide crepes are more your thing this pancake day; thin is the way to go. Pour in your batter and tilt the frying pan around to spread it out.
Check out www.TheoCooks.com for more pancake recipes!
American Style Pancake Recipe:
My personal favourite are the big fluffy pancakes I grew up with in America and go great with streaky bacon and scrambled eggs - perfect Shrove Tuesday dinner!
Fluffy Pancake Recipe:
Heaped tablespoon of melted butter (and plenty more to serve)
Pinch of salt
1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of milk
Teaspoon of baking powder
Tablespoon of malt vinegar
1. Set your oven to 80C
2. In a large mixing bowl add your flour and salt. Then using the same cup you used for the flour fill with milk and pour the vinegar into the milk aswell – don’t worry it’s meant to curdle (this is really a home-made version of buttermilk).
3. Pour the milk into the bowl with the flour, crack your egg into it and whisk together.
4. Then pour in the melted butter (I just stick mine in the microwave for 20 seconds in a cup) and whisk again, you want the consistency to be of thick paint so you may need to sprinkle a little more flour or milk to get it right.
5. Once done; add a good teaspoon of baking powder into the mixture and whisk quickly.
6. Now leave the mixture to relax for 5 mins and don’t stir the mixture again; the baking powder will start to work and give air to your batter – if you start to mix it it will lose all the air.
7. When you are ready to cook simply add a little oil to a pan on medium heat and a decent dollop of butter – I find I always put a bit more than I need in and once melted pour into a cup and occasionally add some back as I’m doing my rounds of pancakes.
8. Using a ladle gently pour in about 1/2 a ladle of batter into your pan and don’t touch the thing! Once you see holes appearing in the centre of your pancake and it has started to solidify at the edges you’re good to flip.