THE PRO CHEF
As a child one of my favourite days of the year after, of course, Christmas and my birthday was Pancake Day.
I knew nothing as to why we had a pancake feast on pancake day, just that we could come home from school and eat mum’s amazing pancake topped with all the things we wouldn’t normally be allowed, bananas with chocolate sauce, ice cream or my favourite loads of sugar and lemon. We would challenge each other to see how many we could eat with always room for just one more.
Moving on to present times and my two children still have that excitement of all those treat things on a Tuesday night. But I do it a little differently from when I was a kid, we have to have a savoury pancake first, I don’t know but it makes me feel like I’m trying to balance things out.
As I have gotten older I now know that Pancake Day or, Shrove Tuesday is the traditional feast before the start of lent on Ash Wednesday. It was the last opportunity to use up eggs and fats before fasting and pancakes are the perfect way of using up these ingredients.
The ingredients for pancakes can be seen to symbolise four points of significance at this time of year:
Eggs ~ Creation
Flour ~ The staff of life
Salt ~ Wholesomeness
Milk ~ Purity
Pancakes are served all over the world and can be as simple or complex as you wish. Here’s a quick world tour:
English pancakes: very thin and served immediately
American pancakes: made with buttermilk and served with crisp streaky bacon
French crepes: best with chocolate sauce
Australian Pikelets: a small, thick pancake popular as snacks or served with afternoon tea.
This is the beauty of pancakes, as they start out as neither sweet nor savoury, you can top them or fill them with whatever you like.
My favourites other than lemon and sugar, are:
LEMON CURD MASCARPONE
Put 100g mascarpone, zest ½ lemon, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp icing sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Swirl through 2 tbsp lemon curd, then set aside. Spoon the creamy lemony mix over 2 warm sweet pancakes and roll or fold up.
CREAMY GARLIC & THYME MUSHROOMS
Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a large frying pan. Add 3 finely sliced garlic cloves and cook until golden. Tip in 250g pack sliced, mixed mushrooms, 2 tsp thyme leaves and seasoning, and cook for 5 mins. Add 100g cream cheese and stir until smooth. Divide the mix between 2 warm savory pancakes, roll or fold up, and serve with a green salad, if you like
HAM, SPINACH & GRUYERE
Empty a 250g bag spinach into a colander. Pour over a kettleful of boiling water and allow to stand for a few mins to wilt and cool. Squeeze out excess water, then roughly chop. Put 4 savory pancakes on a board. Divide 4 large slices ham, 200g grated Gruyère and the spinach between them, then fold each pancake in half. Fry the pancakes in a non-stick frying pan for 2 mins on each side or until golden and crispy with a melting middle.
In a bowl, bash a 40g Crunchie bar with the end of a rolling pin into chunky crumbs. Add 50g soft butter, 1 tbsp honey and a pinch salt, then tip mixture onto a sheet of cling film and roll into a sausage shape. Twist the ends to tighten, then chill for 30 mins. Top 2 warm sweet pancakes with a slice of Honeycomb butter and an extra drizzle of honey.
Kindly contributed by Steve Midgley Consulting Development Chef, 30 years experience in fine dinning, creating fantastic experiences at Michelin star restaurants.
FAIRWAYS ‘AV A GO PANCAKE TEAM
The team here at Fairway Foodservice just couldn’t resist getting in on the act. We’ve knocked up our favourite recipes for you here:
REBECCA’S PUMPKIN PANCAKE
Whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Separately, whisk together milk and pumpkin puree, then add eggs and stir in vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir. Melt butter in a frying pan. Add a spoonful of the pancake batter. Cook until pancake is golden underneath, about 3 minutes then flip and cook the other side. Repeat with remaining batter. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with pecans.
VLADA AND TOBY’S RUSSIAN CABBAGE PANCAKE
Start by shredding five cups of cabbage into strips. Fry with butter and set aside. Make your usual unsweetened batter for this savoury dish, enough for eight pancakes. Fill and fold each pancake, garnish with coriander, dill or chopped spring onions and serve with sour cream. You can mix up the dish by adding a splash of soy sauce to the mix and julienned carrots and onions to the filling.
RICHARD’S BANANA DIPPERS PANCAKE
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk and sour cream, then add eggs one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. In a large bowl, dip bananas in pancake batter. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add dipped bananas and let cook until golden, 2 minutes per side. Serve with melted chocolate for dipping.
CEZARY’S CHEESE & CREAM PANCAKE
Whip the cheese with 50ml double cream and 3 teaspoons of sugar. Spread the cheese mixture on a pancake and fold in half or roll. Pour the remaining double cream on top and sprinkle with sugar and a pinch of cinnamon.
[Editors note: Try not to burn them next time Cez!]
GORDON’S OREOGASM PANCAKE
In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, sugar, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, combine milk, egg, and butter and whisk until combined. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined, making sure not to over mix. To serve, layer pancakes with whipped cream, and top with a dollop of whipped cream, crushed Oreos, and a chocolate drizzle.