How to perfect your pancakes
There’s no doubt that after Christmas and Easter, Pancake Day is the best annual holiday. Whether you prefer sweet, savoury, buttermilk or blintz, there’s a pancake out there for everyone.
But, how can you make sure your crepes are crispy and your American-style pancakes are thick and fluffy? Follow these top tips to get the best from your batter:
With these pancakes, it’s all about the crispiness. To achieve this, you can’t be heat-shy. Many will probably tell you do cook the batter over a medium heat but the real trick is to crank up the heat. If it’s getting too hot in the kitchen – or you simply prefer a less crispy crepe – you can always turn the pan the heat down before you pour the batter in.
No matter how non-stick your frying pan claims to be (real fans will have invested in a pancake pan), make sure you grease the pan with butter or oil – this will also bring some extra flavour. Once it’s melted, spread the batter as thin as possible. Don’t worry if you get the amount wrong the first time – everyone knows the first pancake is an experiment!
Scotch pancakes are thicker than their French counterparts. They are pretty much interchangeable with American pancakes, although devout followers would argue the difference comes in the size – basically, think of Scotch pancakes as smaller American pancakes.
Anyway, enough of the semantics. The biggest trick with these pancakes is in making them thick and fluffy. This can be done in several ways. Either add some baking powder and/or opt for self-raising flour – which should be sifted into a large bowl. When mixing, make sure you fold so you don’t lose any of that air.
Don’t overwork the batter though! People often, wrongly, assume that the fluffiness comes from beating air into the batter. It doesn’t actually work this way and overdoing it can result in tough and chewy pancakes. Disaster – unless that’s your kind of thing, in which case, don’t bother inviting us over this Shrove Tuesday!
Gluten Free Pancakes
Gluten intolerance or allergies don’t have to mean you miss out on this joyful occasion. The increasing awareness around such intolerances has resulted in huge boost in gluten free recipes.
Whether you’re after thin and crispy or fluffy, there are plenty of recipes out there. The key to gluten free pancakes is in the flour. You might have a personal preference on the type of flour but make sure it contains xanthan gum, as this helps with the fluffiness. Add ¼ teaspoon of xanthan gum into your gluten free flour blend if it doesn’t already contain this ingredient.
Unless you’re following a specific recipe, the rest cooking method for your gluten free pancakes should then follow that of the standard crepe or Scotch.
Can’t get enough of Pancake Day? Why not turn it into Pancake Week, and try a different mix everyday? If you’ve tried every topping under the sun, however, head over to our random recipe finder for some batter-free ideas!