WANT to be a flash in the pan this Shrove Tuesday?
Posh Pancakes author Sue Quinn says its time to say bye bye to boring toppings and pimp your pancakes with adventurous flavours.
But it’s also vital to get the basics right. Sue says: “Pancakes are simple but there is a knack to getting them just right. Raw interiors, burnt exteriors and chronic pancake stickage can easily be overcome with practice, the right kit, and by bearing a few basics in mind. We should all master pancakes because they’re flipping delicious.”
In this exclusive extractfrom her book, Sue shows how to create two beautiful bases and a selection of toppings – and makes a special pizza pancake for Sun readers.
- Posh Pancakes (Quadrille, £12.99) is out now. Photos: ©Faith Mason. @penandspoon
THIS basic crêpe batter will form the basis of many a delicious feast. The batter will keep in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Alternatively, cook the crêpes, layer them between sheets of greaseproof paper and freeze them in a plastic food bag for up to one month.
- Makes 10 x 15cm (6in) crêpes
- Takes 50 mins, plus 30 mins resting
- 130g (4½oz/1 cup) plain or wholemeal plain flour
- 1 tbsp caster sugar (omit for savoury recipes)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 300ml (10fl oz/1¼ cups) whole milk
- 1 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
- Butter or vegetable oil, for frying
- In a bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and salt and make a well in the centre. In a jug, whisk the egg, milk and melted butter. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the well and whisk, incorporating the flour as you go to make a smooth batter. Don’t overbeat or the crêpes will be tough.
- Let stand for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken, so stir in 1–2 tbsp cold water before cooking.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan or crêpe pan over a medium heat and when hot enough, brush with butter or oil.
- Pour 60ml (2fl oz/¼ cup) batter into the pan, quickly swirling the pan to cover the base.
- Cook for 1–2 minutes until the edges look dry and the underneath is golden. Loosen the edges with a palette knife, flip and cook for a further 1–2 minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve the crêpes immediately or layer between sheets of greaseproof paper and cover loosely with foil to keep warm
STUFF YOU’LL NEED
HERE is the equipment that will help with your pancake making …
- Griddle or shallow frying pan – ideally non-stick cast iron. What you want is a solid, flat base that distributes heat evenly, ideally with shallow sloping sides.
- Large, flat, heatproof spatula – the kind used to flip fish or eggs, is essential for turning over large pancakes. A palette knife is also useful for getting under the edges.
- Whisk – perfect for stirring together ingredients and removing lumps, but a wooden spoon is fine.
- Sieve – commonly used to sift flour and other ingredients for pancakes, but it is debatable whether doing this makes much difference to the end result. It is easier to use a whisk to combine and aerate the dry ingredients.
- 60ml measuring cup (2fl oz/1⁄4 cup) – useful for scooping out just the right amount of batter to make pancakes of perfect equal size.
Mascarpone cream blueberry blintz
Makes 10 blintzes. Takes 1 hour, plus 30 minutes resting
- 1 quantity cooked crêpes (see French crêpes recipe below right for basic batter) loosely covered with foil to keep warm
For the blueberry compote:
- 500g (1lb 2oz) blueberries
- 100g (3½oz/scant ½ cup) caster sugar or more to taste
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cornflour
- ½ tsp rosewater
For the mascarpone cream:
- 250g (9oz) of mascarpone
- 250ml (9fl oz/1 cup) double cream
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Place all the ingredients for the compote in a pan. Lightly squash the blueberries using a potato masher, then stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are starting to release their juices.
- Gently simmer for 15 minutes or so to make a thick sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside to keep warm. To make the cream, briefly whisk the mascarpone to loosen it. Add the cream, then whisk until light and fluffy. Stir in the icing sugar and vanilla.
- To serve, spoon some of the mascarpone cream along the centre of a crêpe and roll up.
- Spoon over some of the blueberry compote and serve immediately.
When is Pancake Day 2021?
In 2021 Pancake Day – which is also known as Shrove Tuesday – falls on Tuesday, February 16.
The day always falls on the seventh week before Easter.
It is also the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the the period known as Lent.
The tradition of eating pancakes stems from the time when people were trying to use up rich foods such as eggs, milk and sugar before the fasting season of Lent.
Honeycomb butter buttermilk
Makes 16 pancakes. Takes 2 hours, including 1 hour setting 1 quantity Buttermilk pancake
For the honeycomb butter:
- Vegetable oil, for brushing
- 100g (3½oz/scant ½ cup) caster sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2 tbsp runny honey
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 250g (9oz) salted butter, softened
- Maple syrup, to serve
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with baking paper. To make the honeycomb butter, combine the sugar, golden syrup and 1 tbsp of honey in a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- Simmer gently until the temperature reaches 150°C on a confectionary therm-ometer, or until a little dropped into a glass of cold water cracks and turns hard. Add the bicarbonate of soda, then remove the pan from the heat and whisk: The mixture will froth up dramatically.
- Quickly pour on to the prepared baking sheet and leave to harden for about 1 hour. Break half the honeycomb into pieces and place in a plastic food bag. Bash the bag with a rolling pin until the honeycomb is finely crushed but still coarse enough to give the butter some crunch.
- Whip the butter and the remaining honey until light and fluffy, then fold in the crushed honeycomb. Spoon the butter on to a piece of Cling Film, roll tightly into a sausage shape and chill.
- While this is happening, make the pancakes following the method above for buttermilk pancakes transferring them to a warm oven to keep warm.
- Serve the pancakes warm with slices of the honeycomb butter on top and a generous drizzleof maple syrup.
Is Pancake Day always on a Tuesday?
The day always falls on a Tuesday because of the period of time it marks between the start of Lent and Easter.
The following day, Ash Wednesday marks the start of Lent, in which Christians go through a period of 40 days of fasting, designed to help them remember the same amount of time Jesus spent fasting in the Wilderness.
This culminates in Easter, with Easter Sunday this year falling on April 4.
Pears & walnuts salted caramel
Serves 4 generously. Takes 1 hour 10 minutes, plus 30 minutes resting
- 4 pears (about 185g/6½oz) each
- 1–2 tbsp butter
- crème fraîche, to serve
For the caramel:
- 160g (5½oz/¾ cup) light brown soft sugar
- 1 tbsp golden syrup
- 120ml (4fl oz/½ cup) double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp butter
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes for more to taste
- Splash of rum (optional)
- 1 quantity cooked crêpes
- kept warm loosely covered under foil
- Handful of toasted walnuts, chopped Crème fraîche, to serve
- Start with the pears. Peel and cut them into eighths lengthways and remove the core.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large frying pan until foaming, then add the pears and reduce the heat to medium high. Cook for about 6 minutes, turning often, until golden and just tender. Add more butter to the pan if needed. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
- For the caramel, whisk together the sugar, golden syrup, and 50ml (1¾fl oz/scant ¼ cup) cold water in a pan off the heat. Set the pan over a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 3 minutes.
- Remove pan from heat and slowly pour in the cream, stirring constantly, then add the vanilla. Stir in the butter, salt and rum (if using). Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring, until thickened – the sauce will thicken further as it cools.
- Fold the crêpes into quarters and divide between serving plates. Distribute the pears and walnuts on top and drizzle over some of the caramel sauce.
- Serve with crème fraîche.
Makes 4 pizza pancakes. Preparation 10 mins. Cooking time about 30 mins.
- 130g plain flour
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 300ml milk
- Extra melted butter or vegetable oil for frying
- Toppings of your choice
- chopped fresh tomatoes, cooked mushrooms and ham are delicious
- Grated cheese – a harder cheese like Cheddar or grated pizza mozzarella works best
- Prepare toppings first. Whisk the flour and salt, then make a well in the centre. Add the egg and melted butter and gradually stir in the flour from the edges.
- Pour in the milk, whisking as you go, to make a smooth batter. Don’t overbeat the mixture or your pancakes might be tough. Heat a medium-sized, heavy frying pan or crêpe pan – ideally one with a 15cm – 18cm diameter base – until hot. Add enough butter or oil to generously coat the base and wipe out any excess with kitchen paper.
- Reduce the heat to medium, then pour 125ml of batter into the pan – use a measuring cup to scoop it out if you have one. This will make a pancake much thicker than a crêpe – you need a sturdy base to hold your toppings.
- Fry until the batter is set on top and the bottom of the pancake is golden, about 2 – 3 minutes. Pull the pan off the heat and add your toppings.
- Place the frying pan under a hot grill for 3 minutes, or until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden. The pancake might be slightly puffed and golden in patches too.
- Loosen the edges with a knife or egg flip, then slide on to a plate. Add fresh herbs and serve immediately.
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