Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Flipping good pancakes!

Today is one of the high days and holidays you’ve really got to love – Shrove Tuesday, a chance to eat lots of yummy pancakes before the austerity of Lent. And everyone seems to have their own slight variations of the perfect pancake or crêpe batter, some have eggs and egg yolks, most are all milk, some have cream and if being used for a dessert many have caster sugar added also. The really important thing is not to make the batter too thick, because you can’t then easily swirl it around your crêpe pan quickly so as to cook it evenly. I am only making pancakes for myself today, so I halved my normal batter recipe.

Basic Crêpes – makes about 5 or 6 pancakes

60g plain flour, sifted

A pinch of salt

1 large free-range egg

100ml milk mixed with 40ml water

25g butter

- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl (for this quantity I can use my big Pyrex jug) and break the egg into a well in the centre.

- Start whisking and then gradually add small quantities of the milk and water mixture, whisking all the time. It will start off rather lumpy but these should disappear as you whisk.

- The mixture should have the consistency of thin cream, it is important that the batter is not too thick as it won’t spread thinly around your crêpe pan.

- Melt the butter in a small pan, cool slightly and then whisk 1 tbsp of it into the batter. Leave the batter to stand for about 30 minutes (or even overnight), it will thicken and you may need to thin it down with a splash more milk before making the pancakes. I had to thin down mine a little today as it really plumped up whilst it was standing.

- Leave the remaining butter in the pan (or transfer to a small bowl if the pan is too hot) and use it to lubricate the crêpe pan with a wad of kitchen towel before pouring in the batter to make each pancake.

- Get the pan hot and then turn it down to medium, pour about 3 tbsp of batter (either from the jug or a ladle if more practical) into the pan and quickly swoosh it round to cover evenly the base of the pan.

- After about half a minute, lift an edge with a palette knife to check the colour, if it’s tinged with golden brown flip over and cook the other side for a few moments more. Generally the first pancake has to be sacrificed to the god of pancakes because it will invariably fail; I believe that’s called a cook’s treat!

- Slide the pancake directly onto a warm plate or stack the pancakes between sheets of greaseproof paper as you cook them.

- To serve, either sprinkle each pancake with sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice and then fold into quarters or roll them up especially if filled with a tasty savoury filling.

Today I wanted to have both savoury and sweets pancakes so I sautéed some chicken breast, cubes of tasty ham, finely chopped leeks and then added some double cream. This mixture filled three plump rolled crêpes and the remaining two were doused with lemon juice and sprinkled with sugar. I suppose they didn't look very exciting on the plate but I can assure you they were really delicious!.

Crêpes are so delicious and versatile; I really should flip a few more often.

1 comment:

Linda said...

i've never made crepes before! this will be prefect for my love and i this saturday at brunch! thanks so much!