This is a classic recipe for 'Pancake Day' pancakes, traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday, all over England.
The batter for English pancakes is meant to be thin and runny, so that it quickly covers the base of a small frying pan. Once one side is cooked the pancake is then flipped-over to cook the other side. They should be served hot from the pan, with a sprinkle of sugar and a splash of lemon.
Ingredients (makes 6 pancakes)
- 150 grams (5 oz) plain white flour
- 1 large egg
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) milk and 75 ml (3 fl oz) water mixed**
- Pinch of salt
- 25 grams (1 oz) butter (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of oil for frying
**If using skimmed milk, just use 275 ml (10 fl oz) milk, without adding water.
How to Make English Pancakes
- Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the flour and add the egg.
- Gradually mix the egg and flour. As the mixture thickens start to add the milk and water, beating all the time.
- Once you have a smooth batter, melt the butter, add it to the mixture (optional) and beat thoroughly.
- Allow the batter to stand for 30 minutes then beat again.
Frying the pancakes
- Heat a small non-stick frying pan.
- Once hot, turn down to a medium heat and add a little oil. Swirl it round to cover the bottom of the pan.
- Ladle a portion of the batter into the pan, just enough to cover the bottom.
- Tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly around it.
- Let it cook until all the batter is just set (it should be brown underneath, if it isn't the heat is too low, and if it's black the heat is too high.)
- Now turn the pancake over. The traditional method is to gently slide the pancake to the front of the pan and flip it quickly up and back, catching it in the middle of the pan. If your flipping technique is not that good then slide a spatula under the middle and turn it using the spatula.
- Cook the underside briefly and transfer it to a hot plate.
- Serve the pancakes as you cook them, with lemon juice and castor sugar, or make a mound of them and keep them hot to serve
all at once.
Traditional English pancakes should be served as soon as they are cooked, sprinkled with caster sugar and drizzled with fresh lemon juice. If you are not keen on lemon then you can add any sweet topping of your choice such as jam, chocolate sauce or syrup.
If you want to keep the pancakes to eat later they can be allowed to cool, rolled up together and wrapped in foil. They will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, and can be filled with a sweet or savoury filling and reheated under the grill or in the oven.