Fiendish pancake maker

Making and eating pancakes are important to me. Tossing pancakes is the best way to turn them and it is also good for impressing friends, hence the photograph.

Let me be clear that I'm talking about English pancakes if there are such things. These are probably more properly called crepes but may not be quite as thin as the French versions. They contain no raising agent and hence have no voids like Scotch or American pancakes.

Photograph by Marco Falcioni
Cooking pancakes (thanks mum!)

For each large hen's egg add 4 level tablespoons of plain wheat flour. Mix and add milk until the mixture has a sensible consistency. If you mix with a minimum of fluid and then add more as the mixture becomes smooth, you will find a fork and few minutes work are all that are required to produce plenty of non-lumpy batter.

To get the perfect surface texture I like to add a little fat (half a teaspoon or less) to a non non-stick pan (can one say a `stick pan'?) before cooking each pancake. Butter, oil and lard all work fine though they taste different. I use about 3 fluid ounces of batter for each 10 to 12 inch diameter pancake. The pan should be very hot and you can spread the mix by tilting the pan in a rotating motion. If the mix won't spread then the mix may be too thick. If the pancakes break easily when you try to turn or toss them then the mix may be too thin or the eggs too old, better luck next time. Turn or toss the pancake when there is no fluid batter on the top side and the bottom is gently browned. The second side will take hardly any time to cook.

What do I put on the pancakes? Lemon on sugar are hard to beat but many other things are good too (grapefruit, chocolate sauce, ice cream, cream ...).

None of this is precise but it has served me well for many hundreds of pancakes. The first pancake will never be the best so eat that yourself and serve the next to a friend. Enjoy the cooking!

Written by Simeon Warner
Last updated 10 February 1997
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