How To Make The Perfect Pancake
Lumpy batter? Flipping skills up the wall – literally? Let us lead the way…
Poor Yvette Fielding. Remember her on Blue Peter? She never got it right when she made pancakes. Every year, they made her do it, and every year it got worse. So, to prevent you having to scrape your crepes off the ceiling, here’s our guide to making and flipping pancakes – with some celebrity tips along the way.
Get the batter right
Do any Google search on how to make pancakes and you’ll be bombarded with thousands of different recipes. But we reckon Delia Smith’s is the most reliable.
On her website, she recommends the following (paraphrased) –
- Mix 200 ml of milk with 75 ml of water in a jug
- Sieve 110g of flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt
- Make a well in the centre and break in two large eggs
- Whisk together
- While whisking, add the milk and water mix little by little
Choose your consistency – advice from top chefs
At this point, things get a bit controversial. Delia reckons the batter should have the consistency of thin cream. But in Good Food magazine, Masterchef judge and top chef, John Torode, says it should be more like thick custard.
And in The Guardian, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recommends leaving the batter to rest for half-an-hour before cooking – though Gwyneth Paltrow in her cookbook My Father’s Daughter reckons it should be overnight.
Who’s right? Who knows. We say give each one a try and pick your favourite.
Flip with finesse
If you want to get really technical about pancake-tossing, ask a scientist. On the BBC website, Gary Tungate, a physicist, recommends tossing your pancake at a speed of ten miles per hour. The velocity means it’s more likely to land safely back in the pan, apparently, He also says successful tossing is all in the wrist action – and having a decent non-stick pan.
And if all else fails, follow the advice of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s French wife, Marie. They have an on-going argument about turning over a pancake – he likes to toss it in the air, whereas she just flips it over with a metal spatula. Much easier. We like Marie’s thinking.
And interestingly enough, Ken Albala, the world’s leading pancake expert, agrees. “I see no reason to toss it”, he says. “Just turn it over with a spatula. It makes more sense.” Click here for the full interview.
Get stuffed…with our favourite pancake fillings from around the world
Yup, pancakes are pretty tasty, and it’s no surprise they’re a true global food. Filling-wise, though, it’s not just about banana ‘n’ Nutella and lemon ‘n’ sugar. Oh no. From deep-fried Egyptian katayefs to Djerban crepes filled with octopus, here’s our pick of the world’s favourite pancake fillings.
Egyptians like their pancakes with a hefty dose of calories. They stuff them with soft cheese and deep fry them before dunking them in lemony syrup. You might find some nuts thrown in as well.
Residents of this Tunisian island are absolutely nuts about seafood, and they love to stuff their thin, French-style crepes with octopus. Sweet-toothed types will be glad to hear they come with fruit as well.
Okay, so we’re cheating a bit here. But tortillas are technically pancakes, made with corn rather than wheat flour. We like to grab the Old El Paso set and make a big pile of chicken fajitas.
Proper Canadian maple syrup is a beautiful thing, especially when it’s poured over a pile of thick, spongy pancakes. Add a bit of crispy bacon and you’ve got heaven in breakfast form.
Despite their reputation for eating healthy bites like tofu and seaweed, our friends in the East love a plate of belly-busting okonomiyaki. This pancake is smothered with things like chicken, octopus, spring onions and kimchi – Korean pickled cabbage – and topped off with mayo.
Trust the Russians to bling up their blinis. They top off these crispy buckwheat pancakes with sour cream and a spoonful of caviar. Mind you, lashings of soft cheese with jam is popular, too.
In Finland, the home of Lapland, families traditionally tuck in to pancakes with yellow pea soup on Thursdays. And right across Scandinavia, families celebrate Christmas with aebleskiver – fat little Danish pancakes topped off with berry jam.