Pancake Day, which is the informal term for Shrove Tuesday, is the day before the first day of Lent. Traditionally, it was known as an occasion when people would finish ingredients left in their cupboards before religious fasting or abstinence until Easter. These days, it’s a day for fun (particularly if you’ve got kids) and flipping. But it’s not easy to get a perfect pancake. Here are a couple of tips and a recipe to help make yours pan-tastic!
Fresh is best
If you haven’t baked for a while, it’s always a good idea to check the dates on your ingredients. We’ve all been there – you open up the cupboard where you keep your baking goods to find some Bicarbonate of Soda from circa 2001. But fresh ingredients will not only make your pancake taste better, it will help it cook (and flip) more easily.
Mix it up
Combine your ingredients thoroughly. Nobody wants lumps of dried flour in their pancake, so ensure that the mixture is runny and smooth before you pour it into your pan. If you’re using baking powder (some recipes recommend a pinch), it can help if you let the mixture sit for a while once you’ve stirred it together. Then give it one last blitz with the whisk before you cook it.
Feeling hot hot hot?
Perhaps the greatest tip for a flippin’ good pancake, and the area in which most people get it wrong, is to keep the frying pan at the optimum temperature. To do this, turn the pan onto a high heat, melt a spoon of butter (how much depends on the size of the pan and how much you like butter) and wait for it to get searing hot. Then you can pour in your mixture. After a minute, turn the temperature to a medium heat until the mixture on the bottom starts to firm up.
Perfect pancakes require patience
Don’t get over-excited and flip your pancake too early. Carefully check underneath with a flat utensil to check it’s not burning and wait for bubbles to form on the surface. When you feel like it won’t fall apart (or cover you in hot batter) give it a flip. Then wipe the pan with paper towels before making the next one.
What you need:
4 oz or 110g plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
250ml water (can be replaced with milk if preferred)
2 oz or 50g butter
What you need to do:
Sieve your flour into a bowl and add the salt. Add the eggs and gently mix these together with a whisk. Then gradually add the milk and water mixture and stir until it’s smooth and runny. Pour in the pan and in a few minutes you’ll have a flippin’ good pancake. Top it off with your choice of ingredients such as fruit, lemon and sugar, chocolate sauce or maple syrup. Enjoy.
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