Tips, cooking method and keeping perfect crêpes and pancakes

 

Traditional English Pancakes

Traditional English Pancakes

Tips

Use a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm/8–9in in diameter with rounded sides. For a larger, English-sized pancake use a 25½cm/10in pan.

Aim for the consistency of thin cream.

Don’t over beat the batter.

Add 1–2 tablespoons of melted butter to each 300ml/10 oz of batter for extra richness.

Leave to stand for 20 minutes to allow the starch granules to swell which will result in a lighter batter.

 

The Basic Batter Recipe – example of ingredients and method
 
  • Ingredients
  • 4 oz strong plain flour/all-purpose flour
  • ½ level teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • ½ pint semi-skimmed milk, or whole milk and water

  • Equipment
  • Use a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm/8–9in in diameter with rounded sides. For a larger, English-sized pancake use a 25½cm/10in pan.


  1. Method
  2. Mixing by hand, put the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually mix the flour into the milk and egg. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-beat.

  3. Using an electric mixer, mix the egg and milk together. Then mix in the flour until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-beat.

  4. Let batter stand for at least 20 minutes.

  5. Heat the pan for a couple of minutes over a moderate heat — about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to brush the pan. If using oil, use groundnut or other flavourless oil, not olive oil, and pour a little in a small bowl. If using butter, melt a large knob of butter in the pan and then pour into a small bowl. Dip a wodge of kitchen paper in the oil or butter to wipe the pan between cooking each pancake. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.

  6. Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml/3 tablespoons of batter in the pan for each lace crêpe and 45–60ml/3–4 tablespoons for each filled crêpe. A ten inch pancake will need about 90ml/3 fl oz/6 tablespoons. Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions so the batter spreads thinly over the base.

  7. Turn when the the batter starts to curl away from the sides of the pan, the mixture begins to bubble and the underside is golden. It should take about a minute. If it seems a bit sticky give it a couple of seconds more. Loosen the edge of the crêpe or pancake from the pan, then flip it over with a palette knife and cook until the underside is golden. Slip each cooked crêpe or pancake from the pan directly onto a piece of absorbent kitchen paper — the paper will absorb any grease and keep them light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time you add batter.

  8. Stack the crêpes or pancakes up on a warmed plate as they are cooked and keep them warm in a warm oven, 110°C/225°F/gas mark ¼, covered loosely with foil.

 

Refrigerating and Freezing

They are best served straight away but can be prepared in advance and kept in the fridge or freezer. Allow them to cool first, by laying them out on a length of kitchen paper as they are made. Slip them into a freezer bag (there’s no need to separate them with greaseproof or parchment paper) and they will keep for 3 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer. If frozen, prevent tearing by letting them  thaw and come to room temperature (2–3 hours) before unwrapping and separating them.

To warm, wrap a stack of pancakes in a baggy foil parcel. Heat in a moderately hot oven, 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5, for about 15 minutes.

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