Today is Pancake Day in the UK! Woo-hoo! Traditionally, Pancake Day serves as a ritual for Shrove Tuesday, where all of the cupboard staples are used up in preparation for fasting during Lent.
Whether or not you follow this tradition for religious reasons or not, there is no better excuse than the last Tuesday of February to fill your face with delicious pancakes, with a variety of toppings, from classic sugar and Jif lemon (because fresh wouldn’t be anywhere near as nostalgic), to fruit and savoury fillings.
When it comes to the pancake itself, some people prefer crepes, some like to go for a thick, airy American style one, and everyone has their own tried and tested recipe. In which case, who am I to question you. All I will say is that I stay away from instant mixes, I stick with a simple milk/egg/flour mix, and that Nigella can always be trusted if you’re feeling a little more decadent.
While I like to keep the pancake simple, I do anything but with the toppings. Here are a few of my favourites.
Caramelised Banana (serves 2)
200g caster sugar
1 teaspoon of butter
In my opinion, there is nothing better atop a pancake than some sweet, sticky caramel, and golden caramelised bananas. Simply simmer the sugar and water together for 20mins until it becomes a dark, gooey syrup, adding butter and sliced bananas for the last 5mins of cooking. This also works well with thinly sliced apples and is not one for the diet conscious! If you really want to have a heart attack, add a dollop of thick whipped cream.
Blueberry Yoghurt and Honey (serves 2)
2 handfuls of Blueberries
250g plain yoghurt
4tbls runny honey
And for those of you trying to avoid a banana induced hypoglycaemic attack, this blueberry yoghurt topping is just as good (well almost as good, let’s not pretend). By mixing fresh blueberries into plain yoghurt yourself, you will be able to avoid the sugar and additives in many fruit yoghurts. To get the most flavour out of the fruit, simmer in 50mls water until the berries pop and you get a chunky compote, like when you make cranberry sauce. Allow to cool then stir through the plain yoghurt, dollop on the pancakes and drizzle with the honey before serving.
Ham and Cheese Crepe (serves 2)
200g cheese of your choice (mozzarella works well)
4-6 slices of nice, cooked ham
Over the other side of the Channel, our fellow Europeans are rather fond of topping their pancakes with savoury goods, the classic being a ham and cheese combo. Think your basic croque monsieur with a pancake instead of bread. Whilst still in the pan, and almost cooked, spread the pancake with some good quality ham and slices of your favourite cheese, fold in half, and continue to cook quesadilla style until the cheese melts.
Spicy Chilli Beef Crispy Pancakes (serves 2)
100g lean minced beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 red chilli, finely chopped, with the seeds left in if you like it hot
2 ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 teaspoon each of ground cumin and coriander/cilantro
2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
2 big dollops of sour cream
If you were a child in Britain in the 1980’s you will undoubtedly be dogged by the memory of Findus Crispy Pancakes. Filth they may have been, but stripped down to their essence of saucy fillings and crispy coating, they are actually quite a good idea, making it fully worthwhile to resurrect this 80’s teatime classic with this proper homemade version.
Begin by browning mince with coriander and cumin. Add onion, garlic, pepper, chilli, juice of the lime and tomatoes and cook for 10 mins until the tomatoes become a little saucy.
Dollop a few spoonfuls of the meat mix onto pancakes and roll like a burrito so that ends are folded up. Coat with egg, followed by breadcrumbs and fry until crispy. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
Image Via Diet Recipes Blog (ha, how ironic!)