Pancake Day was never one of my favourite days as a child. It’s traditional to make what we now call English pancakes and I’m not sure I had even heard of American pancakes until I was in my twenties. Thin yet somehow flabby at the same time, and as accomplished at immediately going from too hot to too cold as a ‘hot’ flannel in a Chinese restaurant, English pancakes were one of my least favourite foods. I would eat them on Pancake Day because you’re supposed to (and why should my two younger brothers have all the fun?). But I didn’t ever really like them. Making them, once you have mastered the art of not under- or over-cooking them by about the third or fourth attempt, was always more enjoyable than eating them. Especially the bit where you get to flip them, of course. Although even that loses its appeal after a while as pancakes are a lot quicker to eat than they are to make and there is always someone impatiently expecting the next one. Did I mention I have two younger brothers?
American pancakes are a completely different story. Warm, soft and giving, they hint at summer and light. Best with fresh fruit and maple syrup, they make the perfect brunch. I’m not sure if the first time I ever had them was in Miami or not, but that’s how I remember it: breakfast outside, in the early heat and light of a summer morning. Fresh, vibrant, local fruit and a jug of maple syrup. And proper coffee, not filter.
So in honour of this year’s Pancake Day we had a Sunday brunch of American pancakes with mango, blueberries and banana. For a few minutes there was very little conversation around the table as we all remembered exactly why American pancakes are such a treat at the weekend. I know that on Tuesday I will probably give in and make English pancakes anyway. But I’ve had my Pancake Day pancakes this year already and I won’t be tempted by the empty promises of their English counterparts: and I might even share the flipping.
200g plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
Melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.
These can be made in a blender or in a bowl. To make in a blender just put all the ingredients into the jug and blitz for a minute or so: until the mixture is smooth.
Alternatively, put the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
Mix the milk and eggs with the melted butter.
Gradually whisk the egg mixture into the dry ingredients making sure that the mixture is smooth and not lumpy.
Heat a small amount of butter or oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
When the pan is hot pour a small ladle of batter into the pan. You should be able to fit around three at a time, depending on the size of your pan and your pancakes.
Cook for around 1-2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form on the surface.
Turn over and cook for another minute or so, so that the centre of the pancake feels firm and spongy and they are golden brown on both sides.
Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminium foil to keep warm while you cook the rest.
Serve with fruit and the syrup of your choice.
Happy Pancake Day!