In perusing the UK’s Telegraph (no recipe just a discussion about the auld pancake of yore) and the Guardian this fine Shrove Tuesday, I made a shocking discovery for an American in love with fluffy pancakes topped with butter and syrup: My Great Grandmother enjoyed thin pancakes (like the French) topped with lemon and sugar. Brits wax very sentimental about these.
The Guardian provides an overview of the development of the British pancake going back to 1594. That seems far enough when most humans can’t trace their lineage back more than a few generations.
…[M]odern pancakes are descended from those specifically designed to use up fat before the beginning of Lent, which means they tend to be heavier on the eggs and butter than, say, the fluffy American stack, or the squat Russian blini.
Forewarned is forearmed as they say. Don’t look to these for any dietary benefit only taste.
Here is a website that will help you convert metric measurements. Learn to do this because we are going global.
As for the pancakes, the key to remember is this. The first pancake is always a mess. That’s just how it is for all of us. So let the cook eat the first one. Looks bad; tastes good. From the Guardian:
Makes about 8
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
225ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
Small knob of butter
1. Sift the flour in a large mixing bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre, and pour the egg and the yolk into it. Mix the milk with 2 tbsp water and then pour a little in with the egg and beat together.
2. Whisk the flour into the liquid ingredients, drawing it gradually into the middle until you have a smooth paste the consistency of double cream. Whisk the rest of the milk in until the batter is more like single cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
3. Heat the butter in a frying pan on a medium-high heat – you only need enough fat to just grease the bottom of the pan. It should be hot enough that the batter sizzles when it hits it.
4. Spread a small ladleful of batter across the bottom of the pan, quickly swirling to coat. Tip any excess away. When it begins to set, loosen the edges with a thin spatula or palette knife, and when it begins to colour on the bottom, flip it over with the same instrument and cook for another 30 seconds. (If you’re feeling cocky, you can also toss the pancake after loosening it: grasp the handle firmly with both hands, then jerk the pan up and slightly towards you.)
5. Pancakes are best eaten as soon as possible, before they go rubbery, but if you’re cooking for a crowd, keep them separate until you’re ready to serve by layering them up between pieces of kitchen roll [could be parchment paper – I wouldn’t use waxed].