Not only does Luiz Hara run The London Foodie blog, he also hosts a monthly supper club and is a Grande Diplome student at Le Cordon Bleu. With Pancake Day upon us, we asked him to talk us through the perfect pancake (*drools*). Pans at the ready…
‘Pancake Day (aka Shrove Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday – the first day of Lent, when observant Christians start a six week fast from luxury items in anticipation of Easter. The custom of making pancakes on this day goes all the way back to Medieval times when items such as as eggs, dairy produce and sugar needed to be used up. To this day, households across the land will be tossing pancakes for Shrove Tuesday which falls this year on February 21.
The traditional recipe, serving 4, requires 75g plain flour and a pinch of salt, to which 3 eggs and 300ml milk are gradually beaten in. Just before cooking, stir 25g melted butter into the mixture, then grease a 20cm frying pan lightly with butter. Pour about 3 tablespoons of the batter into the centre of the smoking-hot pan, twisting to spread the mixture evenly over the surface. Cook until the batter has just set, then turn carefully with a palette knife. Keep going until golden brown, then turn out onto a plate – continue until you are ready to serve all the pancakes. In England, pancakes are traditionally served with a sprinkling of caster sugar and a few drops of lemon juice. I love the sweet and sour flavours of this satisfyingly simple recipe, but there are many other guilty pancake pleasures to be had on Shrove Tuesday.
Banana Pancakes fall within that category for me – sauté sliced ripe bananas in butter, sprinkle a generous amount of brown sugar over them and a good dash of rum. When the bananas are starting to caramelise, place some filling in the middle of each pancake and roll it up. Serve with a dollop of extra thick double cream or hot chocolate sauce.
A pancake doesn’t need to be a French crêpe to be savoury – our version might not be as thin as theirs, but I find the addition of goats cheese, ham and spinach with a drizzle of honey makes for a delicious lunch. Smoked salmon, crème fraiche, dill and a dash of lemon juice are also great fillings.
Wherever you are on this Shrove Tuesday, and whatever your religious inclinations, pancake making is our home-grown way to celebrate the start of the Easter season. Be creative and you might be surprised at how much pleasure you can get from a pancake.’
If you can’t be bothered to make your own, here are some great places for pancakes.