I always find Pancake Day very exciting, as this is the one day in the year that you can legitimately sit down and enjoy a whole dinner of sweet things. While the Americans enjoy maple syrup and butter and the French tuck into jam, we Brits are adding sugar and the most lip-puckering lemon juice you can find. In my opinion, lemon and sugar is the best combination for pancakes, and is definitely worth trying. If you don’t find the juice alone to be enough, try zesting your lemons first, and adding the zest too.
I also like that everywhere has their own take on Pancakes. Over the years, I have been luck enough to try the variations in the UK, France (crêpes, galettes de bretagne), the Netherlands (poffertjes) and the USA, but today I’m making Scotch pancackes. These are like the American pancakes, but not as fluffy and a lot smaller (go figure!). The benefit of small pancakes is that you can have lots of them, each with a different topping. Also, there is no standing time (as for crêpes) so they are a doddle to make first thing in the morning for hungry houseguests.
To make the pancakes:
• 115g plain flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 25g butter
• 1 egg
• 150ml milk
Mix the flour, baking powder and cream of tartar in a bowl, and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs. Next, beat in the egg and enough milk until the mixture resembles double cream (i.e. it should flow a little bit, but it should not be runny).
Heat a non-stick pan on a high heat, and once hot, turn down to a medium heat and leave for a minute (*). Once the pan is ready, put spoonfuls of the mix in the pan (I put three in a large frying pan). Bubbles will form on the top. Once the burst (but the top of the pancake is still “wet”) turn the pancakes over and cook for a moment until they are also golden.
Enjoy with whatever you want. The Scottish way is to use butter and honey, but let your imagination run wild. And don’t forget the sugar and lemon.
(*) It is a myth that the first pancake never works. Follow this technique, and your first pancake will turn out just fine.