Tips, cooking method and keeping perfect crêpes and pancakes
Aim for the consistency of thin cream.
Don’t over beat the batter.
Add 1–2 tablespoons of melted butter to each 300ml (10 fl oz) (1¼ cups) 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.
- 115g (4 oz) strong plain flour/all-purpose flour (⅔ cup + 2 tbsp)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 300ml (10 fl oz) (1¼ cups) semi-skimmed milk, OR
- 240ml (8 fl oz) (1 cup) full fat/whole milk and 60ml (2 fl oz) (¼ cup) water
- You will also need a shallow-rimmed, lightweight pan, 20–23cm (8–9 inch) in diameter with rounded sides or for a larger, English-sized pancake a 25.5cm (10 inch) sized pan.
- Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the egg into the well and, using half the milk, gradually whisk the egg and milk into the flour, using a balloon whisk. Once a smooth consistency is reached and lots of bubbles rise to the surface, add the rest of the milk quickly. Do not over-mix.
- Or use an electric mixer. First mix the egg and milk together then mix in the sifted flour and salt until the batter is smooth and lots of bubbles rise to the surface. Be careful not to over-mix.
- Let batter rest for at least 20 minutes.
- Get the pan really hot then reduce to a moderate heat – about the temperature needed for frying an egg. Use oil or butter to grease 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. Add a little oil or butter to the pan and tilt the pan to cover the base. It should just glisten, not run with oil or butter.
- Stir the batter, then pour about 45ml (3 tablespoons) of batter in the centre of 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) (⅓ cup). Immediately lift and tilt the pan in all directions so the batter spreads thinly over the base.
- 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 kitchen paper which will absorb any grease and keep it light and dry. Repeat the process with the rest of the batter, greasing the pan each time.
- Stack the crêpes or pancakes up on a warmed plate as they are cooked and cover loosely with foil. Keep warm in a 110°C (225°F) (gas ¼) oven.
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 is no need to separate them with 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.
To warm, wrap a stack of pancakes in a baggy foil parcel. Heat in a moderately hot oven, 190°C (375°F) (gas 5) for about 15 minutes.