Forget lemon and sugar, pancakes have gone gourmet, says Beth McDonald.
Don’t think about simply throwing some eggs, flour and milk in a bowl and frying it up tonight. Here are some tips from the country’s top chefs on how to jazz up your pancakes on Shrove Tuesday.
The Perfect Mix
- 110g plain flour;
- 2 large eggs
- 75ml water
- 200ml milk
- 1tbsp melted butter
A better batter
For a perfectly smooth batter, Riad Ziak, head chef at London’s Kensington Quarter Café and Restaurant, recommends warming your milk first.
“If you get it up to around 60C, this will help gel the egg mixture together and ensure a smooth batter,” says Ziak.
Michelin-starred Induan chef Vivek Singh strains his batter mix twice to ensure no lumps. And if you’re looking for a more American-style pancake, chef Erion Karaj from Gordon Ramsay offshoot Bread Street Kitchen recommends adding ricotta to your mix to give you that extra fluffy texture.
Whichever you choose, all our chefs recommend resting your mixture for between 20 minutes (which gives the starch granules in the flour enough time to swell up) and 12 hours.
And always weigh out your ingredients – no guesswork. Andrew Turner, executive head chef at Hotel Café Royal, says: “It’s difficult to get consistency. A good recipe will yield perfection every time.” And what you are looking for in a batter is something the consistency of double cream, according to Bruno Zoccola, the owner of Italian deli Valentina.
Ever suffered from that pancake-on-the-floor / ceiling moment? Here’s something radical – don’t flip.
Marylebone’s Opso restaurant start their pancakes off in melted butter on the hob and once the bottom of the pancake is crispy, it then goes into the oven to finish cooking for two minutes.
Or you can try another of Vivek Singh’s creations – malpua. This northern Indian pancake, which has raisins mixed into the batter, is deep-fried rather than flipped (the recipe is in Singh’s book, Spice At Home).
But if you think flipping is part of the fun, then check the underside is a light golden brown before you attempt anything. There are no second chances, as flipping too soon will always lead to a mess and you can only flip once to reduce the chance of any damage says James Lyon-Shaw, executive chef at ETM, the group behind some of London’s top gastropubs.
Top Pancakes Fillings
Ricotta and blueberry ripple ice cream
James Lyon-Shaw, gastropub guru
Sweet cheese adds a creamy element to this.
Baylands layered lemon, chocolate, orange and crêpes
Andrew Turner, Café Royal
The pancake that thinks it’s a jaffa cake. Perfect for pud.
Donal Skehan, Irish singer turned foodie
Sticky-sweet, add a handful of nuts for extra crunch.
A mixture of melted butter and maple syrup
Cara Ceppetelli, Bird restaurant, East London.
Cara says to keep it simple. “Nothing else on top and the syrup has to be Canadian!”
Crispy bacon, banana and maple syrup
Tam Storrar, head chef at Soho’s Blanchette
Sweet? Savoury? You know the answer. Both!
Pancake Props Batter Up