An original fast food, pancakes take centre stage in February. How do you like yours?
￼￼Words: LAURA ROWE Illustrations: VICKI TURNER
Associated with many religious festivals including Shrove Tuesday (celebrated on 9 February this year) and Hanukkah, pancakes’ few ingredients symbolise big things: eggs for creation, flour the staff of life, salt wholesomeness and milk purity. It was also a celebratory way to use up the foods forbidden during Lent fasting.
Over time they’ve become more everyday. In the US they like them in the morning, fat, stacked high and covered in maple syrup. Maybe you prefer a mini version; bitesize buckwheat blinis from Eastern Europe, topped with sour cream, smoked salmon or caviar? Or perhaps you’re a fan of the thin pancake, rolled and stuffed with shredded roast duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber and spring onions for dinner in a bao bing like the Chinese. There’s a pancake for everyone and any time. But whichever way you like to eat them, the question remains: do you flip high or slide low?
Mix 135g plain flour with 1 egg, 130ml milk, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp caster sugar and 2 tbsp melted butter and whisk for a thicker batter. You want the consistency of double cream.
Drop 1 heaped tbsp into a hot, buttered frying pan and fry for 1 min until you begin to see bubbles on the surface. Flip or turn over and fry until golden brown and risen
Mix 100g plain flour with 2 eggs, 300ml milk and 1 tbsp melted butter. Whisk thoroughly and rest for 30 mins. You want the consistency of pouring single cream.
When ready to cook, add a knob of unsalted butter to a non-stick frying pan. As it starts to melt, add a ladle of the rested batter and swirl the mix around the pan until it covers the entire base.
Cook for 1-2 mins before flipping, or gently turning over and repeat on the other side. Then bin it: the first pancake is always the worst. Repeat and you’ll have perfect pancakes for the rest of the batch. Serve with lemon juice and sugar or whatever takes your fancy.
Extract from Taste: The Infographic Book of Food by Laura Rowe, illustrations by Vicki Turner by Aurum Press, £20. Buy your copy here.