For so may years, I would shake my head at anyone who suggested that I make pancakes, claiming with confidence that I couldn’t make pancakes. Pancake day filled me with dread, I love pancakes but I could never make them. My mum always made great pancakes and the taste of a freshly cooked pancake with lashings of lemon juice and a sprinkle of granulated sugar was something so special. We didn’t have them very often but they were such a treat when we did.
Then I went to university in Manchester and in the city centre was a restaurant called the Dutch Pancake House. The interior was a little unimaginative but the food? It never failed to impress me. The concept was simple, a menu totally dedicated to pancakes. A savoury pancake for main followed by a sweet one for dessert. They were huge and all served on giant, highly decorated plates. Even as an impoverished student, I went a few times during my stay. Apparently, it is sadly no more, closed down due to redevelopment but it will always have a fond place in my memory.
The discovery of ready made pancakes proved to be a bit of a revelation. No longer did I have to feel shame at my apparent failing as a mother who couldn’t make pancakes. The children all love them and still have them at granny’s house with enough sweet fillings to give them their weekly sugar allowance in one go.
But there was still something missing. I wanted to be a mum who could whip up a batch of thin, delicious looking pancakes on a Sunday morning.
Jamie Oliver came to the rescue. Quite literally. He introduced me to the one cup method of pancake making in one of his Christmas shows a few years ago. He added fruit to his, but they looked so simple to make. I decided to be brave. One cup of milk, one cup of flour, one egg and then I added some grated apple to the mixture. Of course, for a family of five, one cup of batter didn’t go far but they turned out pretty well. Not as thin as my mum’s but not a bad attempt.
Over time, I have looked at other pancake recipes online and adapted the recipe and made it my own. I don’t often add fruit now, although it is a good way to get fussy eaters to eat fruit, and I add slightly more milk to make them thinner. I use a just enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan and cook the batter on medium heat so that the butter doesn’t burn.
So the secret to the perfect pancake is as simple as the one cup method. One cup of flour (self-raising if you want thicker, lighter pancakes or plain if you want thinner pancakes). Add to the flour one cup of milk and one egg and whisk until combined into a thin batter. Heat a small about of butter in the pan on a medium heat and then ladle enough mixture to coat the base of the pan (I usually do this in a circular motion to keep it even). Cook for a few minutes until the base is a golden colour and then flip (whichever way suits you) and serve. I usually pile them all up on one plate and then wait for the stampede.
They taste delicious and I always enjoy weekend pancakes. The children coat them in honey, chocolate spread and jam (not all together I hasten to add) but for me, the real secret to perfect pancakes is still a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of granulated sugar. Perfection.