A recipe for basic, easy pancakes is always good to have, especially if you’re trying this out for the first time. Once you become proficient and confident with this recipe you’ll probably want to try something more adventurous. But these easy pancakes are wholly satisfying and perfect just as they are and may be all you ever need. This is the basic recipe that generations of families have been knocking out each Shrove Tuesday for pancake day.
- 4 ounces / 110g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- 7 fluid ounces / 200ml semi-skimmed milk
- 2¾ fluid ounces /75ml water
- 1¾ ounces / 50g butter
- caster sugar
- fresh lemon juice
- lemon wedges
Combine the water and the milk.
Sift the flour and a pinch of salt into a bowl. A good tip is carefully to shake the sifter from a good height above the bowl. This gets plenty of air into the flour.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and break the eggs into it.
Now, gradually whisk the eggs into the flour using either a balloon whisk or an electric one. Make sure you get all the flour from the sides of the bowl and keep whisking until it starts to thicken.
At this point you need to start adding the watered milk. Keep whisking, but add the watered milk in small doses. Make sure all the flour has been scraped in from around the side of the bowl. Continue whisking until the batter is smooth and the consistency of thin cream.
Melt the butter in a frying pan. You will not be using all this butter at once.
First, mix two tablespoons of the melted butter into your batter.
Pour the rest of the melted butter into a bowl and reserve for re-greasing the pan as you cook your pancakes. You don’t want the pan swimming in butter but you will need to re-grease from time to time, using kitchen paper dipped in the melted butter to smear it round the pan.
Now, heat the pan to very hot, then turn the heat down to medium.
The secret of a good, evenly cooked pancake is to make sure the required amount of batter is tipped into the pan quickly, in one go, and not poured in slowly.
So, first, you need to find out how much batter is needed to cover the base of the pan thinly. You’ll need to do a test with one pancake. It’s a good idea to use a small ladle or a large serving spoon to measure the quantity needed. Once you know the correct amount of batter, it’s a good idea to prepare several batches in cups so you can easily tip the right amount into the pan quickly without having to think about it.
As soon as the batter is in the pan, wiggle the pan around to make sure it completely covers the base as quickly as possible.
It should only take about 30 seconds to cook before you need to turn it over. You can gently lift an edge with a palette knife to check if the underneath is turning golden. Then, use a plan slice to flip it over, unless you’re feeling really adventurous and want to toss it. This takes practice but is the quickest and easiest method once you’re good at it.
The other side only needs a few seconds and then you can gently slide it out onto a plate. You can serve this immediately if you like. But if you are doing all the pancakes before serving, then it’s a good idea to put the plate on a warmer. It’s a good idea to off-set each pancake slightly as you stack them. This makes it easier to lift them off individually.
If you are planning to freeze the pancakes, then put layers of baking parchment between them as you slide off each pancake from the pan.
Sprinkle the caster sugar over each pancake and then drizzle them with the freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Then, either roll them up, or fold them up into a quarter.
Finally, sprinkle more caster sugar and drizzle more lemon over each and serve them up with the lemon wedges.