It’s Pancake Day! AKA Shrove Tuesday, AKA your third biggest eating festival of the year after Christmas and Easter. And maybe Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day. Possibly Valentine’s Day, depending on how hard you tend to go on pink Lindors. But anyway – pancakes! Carbs, carbs, as far as the eye can see! Tomorrow, Lent begins and Christians across the world will begin six weeks of solemn self-denial… buuuut today, we party like Nutella and sugar are going out of fashion.
Traditionally in the UK, people celebrate Pancake Day by eating flat, thin, crêpe-style pancakes. They’re super easy to make, so if you’re craving some traditional, religiously-approved goodies, here’s what you need to do.
To make 8 pancakes, you will need
100g of plain flour
A sprinkle of salt
300ml of milk, full fat or semi-skimmed
About 50g of butter
1. Put the flour and the salt into a big bowl. Stir to mix it all together, then use your spoon to make a big hole (a ‘well’) in the centre of the mix. Take a tablespoon of the butter and melt it in the microwave for about 10-20 seconds. Crack the eggs into a mug, then add the milk and the melted butter. Whisk everything together until it’s smooth. Don’t have a whisk? That’s cool. Just use a fork instead.
2. Pour the eggy mix into the well you made in the flour, and start whisking the eggy mix round and round so it starts to mix with the flour. You want to draw the flour into the wet ingredients bit by bit, being slow and cautious, like you’re encouraging a kitten to come to you – but you’re hopefully not going to eat the kitten afterwards, whereas you are very much going to eat these pancakes. Once all the flour is mixed into the eggs, beat everything together until you have a smooth paste.
3. All that milk you’ve got left? Now we’re going to add it to the batter. Whisking all the time, pour a steady stream of the milk into the batter until everything is combined.
4. Leave the batter on the side for 30 minutes. You can do whatever you want while you wait. Watch an episode of something on Netflix, paint your nails, practise your hula-hooping, anything. You do you, boo.
5. Take a frying pan and heat it over a medium heat. When it’s hot remove it from the heat. Quickly take a piece of kitchen towel, smear it in the butter, and rub it all over the frying pan. Ladle a bit of batter into the pan and tilt the pan around to evenly spread the batter so you get a nice, thin layer, then put the pan back on the heat. Cook for about 30 seconds, then slide a spatula underneath it and flip it over. Cook for 30 seconds more, and then you’re done!
By the way…
Your first pancake might be a bit… er, crap. Don’t worry about it. Most first pancakes are a bit rubbish because the pan is either too hot or too cold, and pancakes are like life; it’s ok to make mistakes, and it doesn’t mean the rest of what you do will go the same way. So if your first pancake is a hot mess, just throw it away and repeat step 5 to make a second one without worrying about it. You got this. We believe in you.
But maybe you’re not a fan of the thin crêpe. Maybe you’ve got one eye on your stomach and one on your Instagram feed so instead you want thick, fluffy, American-style pancakes? Gotcha. Here’s what you need to do.
To make 12 American pancakes, you will need
160g of plain flour
20g of caster sugar
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp of baking powder
Half a teaspoon of salt
225ml of buttermilk
1 medium egg
40g of unsalted melted butter, plus extra for frying
1. Put the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in the other. Mix each bowl together separately, then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and whisk together. It’s very important that the wet ingredients go into the dry and not the other way round. Otherwise you’ll get sad, rubbery pancakes, and no-one wants that.
2. Leave for ten minutes. Probably not enough time to paint your nails or watch something on Netflix, but you can definitely get more hula-hooping practise in.
3. Heat a frying pan until it’s hot. Take a knob of butter and melt it in the pan. Tilt the pan to spread it round evenly, then use kitchen towel to carefully wipe off the excess.
4. Add a heaped tablespoon of batter to the pan and let it spread slightly. When the top is covered in bubbles and the bottom is brown, flip it over. Fry for 30-60 seconds longer, then remove from the pan. Repeat with the rest of the batter – you can probably do 3-4 pancakes at a time.
5. If you want to add toppings to your pancakes, like chocolate chips or blueberries, just dot them over the soft side of the pancake before you flip it. Easy peasy.
Got all that? Flipping excited? Now there’s just one more question to ask yourself: how much syrup is too much syrup?*
*This is a trick question. The limit does not exist.