Monday, 24 June 2013

Pancake Essentials

You only have to watch any of the TV shows that feature amateur cooks to realise that even those that think they know what they're doing often fall short when it comes to having some of the most basic skills.

Pancakes are a perfect example of this. How to make pancakes is something that anyone can learn quickly and easily, and with a little practice you can get perfect results every time.

Basic Pancake Recipe

In the UK we probably think of pancakes mostly in the form that we traditionally have them on 'pancake day', or Shrove Tuesday, the evening before the period of Lent begins in the run up to Easter. These are usually thin and flat pancakes to which we then add a sweet filling of some kind.

In the United States, however, pancakes usually come thicker and slightly more 'fluffy' and are commonly part of a breakfast or lunch meal, often served with bacon and syrup.

In order to make a pancake you need to know how to make a basic batter. For this you'll need:

100g (4oz) flour (white or wholemeal)
A pinch of salt
1 egg
300ml (1/2 pint) milk
15g (1/2oz) butter, melted
Oil for frying

The preparation time is really short as it only takes five minutes to make the batter and a few minutes to fry a pancake, but for best results you need to allow a couple of hours in between to let the pancake mixture rest.

Method

First of all you must sieve the flour into a bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Then you add the salt and make a small dip or 'well' in the centre of the flour.

Next you add the egg and milk, and as you do so you mix in the flour from the edges of the bowl using a whisk. Soon you will have a smooth batter and then you simply need to add the melted butter and mix a bit more.

For the very best results it is advisable to cover the bowl with a damp cloth and allow the mixture to rest in a cool place for 2 hours.

Cooking

Heat a non-stick frying pan and add about 1tsp oil, making sure the pan is not so hot that the oil burns.

Using a ladle or big spoon pour in some of the pancake mixture; turning the pan around as you do so until it is covered with a thin layer.

When bubbles form on top of the pancake, flip it over so that the other side is cooked. If you are making several pancakes you can keep them warm in a low oven whilst you finish the batch.

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