One does need a little amusement in one’s life, doesn’t one think? Just a little from time to time. On Shrove Tuesday each year, I just love going to a local supermarket at around seven in the evening and watching the shoppers panic as they realise the shop has run out of lemons.
I remember one particularly aggrieved gaggle of frustrated mothers and fathers, huddled around the cake-making shelf, clutching their half dozen eggs and bottle of lemon juice, desperately trying to see if staring long enough at the self-raising flour could turn it into plain. Of course, they were completely ignoring the organic plain flour two shelves up. I have learned that many people have what I call organic blindness. So sure are they that the entire Organic industry is some huge conspiracy that they have retuned their brains to completely blank out any product with Organic on the label.
Anyway, I am not that cruel, so I pointed out that the supermarket had mischievously put an entire pallet of plain flour three aisles away by the kitchen towels.
Of course, the real amusement is that they were trying to buy flour, eggs and lemon juice so late in the day. There is no getting round it; if you want a half decent pancake, the batter MUST be left to sit for at least two hours or more! Otherwise, you just end up with a sort of eggy stodge.
Here is what you do; don’t wait for pancake day, do them for the weekend and have them with fried bacon and maple syrup!
This is the proper way of making a pancake batter. Don’t bother with any other method, to be honest, just do it this way.
Put the eggs into a bowl, kenwood chef, liquidiser or food processor. Something with some kick to it! Whisk them till bubbly.
Stir in the flour and the salt and beat till you have a very smooth paste. Do not cheat! Keep going till it is nice and smooth.
Start adding the milk bit by bit, beating all the time to make sure the milk is properly mixed in. The slower you add, the safer, to be honest. Once you have a thick batter going, add the rest of the milk and the water.
Now add the melted butter and whisk for a couple of minutes till you are happy there are no lumps.
Now, LEAVE FOR 2 HOURS! Or even longer. This allows the flour to absorb the liquid properly. Just before use, give it an extra good whisking adding a couple more tablespoons of water.
Heat non-stick pan to medium-hot. Wipe the bottom of the pan with an oily piece of kitchen towel. You need hardly any oil, just enough to stop the pancakes sticking and give them a nice texture.
Now, take a ladle of batter and pour it into the pan, tilting the pan around to help spread the mixture. How thin you want the crepes is up to you, but the thinner the better. Be prepared to fail the first couple of pancakes while you get the pan the right temperature.
Loosen the pancake with a thin spatula and the toss the pancake over. And off you go – you should get about 20 or so out of this mix!
Tossing is very important and is not just a party trick. If you try and turn over a pancake with a spatula it will inevitably tear, or mush up, or something useless. Tossing should turn it over cleanly and rip free.
The trick here is to loosen it to get some air under it, then shake the pan until the entire pancake is sliding around nicely. Flip the pancake by sliding is suddenly to the back of the pan and letting the curve of the pan help flip it over. It won't go sailing into the air; it should look quick and very cool!
While you are making pancakes, make some extra for breakfast. You can heat them up by just putting them in a dry, hot pan for a few seconds, then eat them with bacon and maple syrup – disgusting! I wouldn’t miss it for the world!
And that is it.
This is really the French crepe I am making here, but I think it is the nicest pancake ever. Serve them with lust lemon and sugar or Grand Manier. Rum is nice as is whiskey and marmalade.
I like lots of white wine with mine (in a glass).