Jug Or Ladle?
It is easy enough to just ladle the batter out of the mixing bowl it is made in, but it is even easier is to pour the batter mixture (once made) into a tall jug with a serving spout. The pouring spout means you can be quite accurate in the amount of batter poured in, the rate at which it is poured, and the surface area of the frying pan it is poured on to.
Bakestone, Griddle Or Frying Pan?
In making (cooking) the pancakes choosing a non-stick thick griddle plate or bakestone is probably the best thing to go for, and ‘non-stick’ does not necessarily mean modern … see our shop for details.
In terms of what is best an old bakestone (planc in Wales) or griddle (girdle in Scotland) is actually the best thing you can go for (see the photo below) – it is made non-stick by constant use and the addition of layers of fats or oils (called the ‘blackening’ or ‘seasoning’) and the thick metal plate keeps the heat well and radiates it out evenly better than anything else. A heavy based non-stick frying pan is a good substitute but nothing beats the feeling of making pancakes on an old griddle or bakestone – see our shop. However, the main advantage a non-stick frying pan has over a traditional griddle for the English Pancake Batter is it’s long handle, by which you can quickly tilt the pan to and fro to spread the mixture thinly across the surface evenly – and you can also toss the pancake in the air.
Which Fat Or Oil Is Best To Fry In?
We favour sunflower oil, with a high burning point, for modern pancake recipes, while butter is best for traditional recipes. How much fat or oil the griddle or frying pan needs is also a point of confusion: actually very little fat or oil should be put into the pan or onto the griddle before the adding of the pancake batter. Rather than pour the oil in or add the butter, carefully wipe over the surface with a little sunflower oil or butter dabbed onto a piece of kitchen paper, folded over to thicken it, keeping your fingers from the heat. This is all that is needed before each pancake. The last pancakes need even less added as the pan or griddle is fully seasoned at this point.
How Hot Should The Pan Be?
The hotter the pan, the quicker the pancakes are made, and the crisper they tend to be. On a very hot griddle we can make a pancake every minute, with just 30 seconds a side. However, the hotter the pan the more smoke is made from the butter or oil. Which can get to be a distraction. We actually recommend starting off quite hot, but turning the heat down a little at a time, until a perfect balance is made and the pancakes are churned out in regular batches. Actually it is not the heat under the pan or griddle, but the heat in the pan or griddle, a good thick metal base means the metal gets hot enough and retains this heat so you can turn the heat down under it.
Is The First Pancake Made Always A Mess?
The quick answer is yes, sometimes, so don’t worry about it. The frying pan or griddle needs to be initially (re)seasoned and heated before being able to achieve the consistent results you are after, and the first pancake does this job. Also the first pancake tends to be put on too soon after getting heat under the pan and the amount of batter poured in is either too little or too much – later as you re-adjust the quantity of batter poured in on the next ones, and the heat in the metal is radiating consistently, the pancakes tend to come out much better – in archery terms the first one is used to ‘get your eye in’.
To Flip Or Toss?
Haha, the age old question, (far older than you would think!) one which was answered by Hannah Glasse in 1740 in her Pancake Recipes “toss it; if you cannot, turn it cleverly;” i.e. do anything you want, just do it controlled and with confidence. Flipping the pancake over with a flat spatula means there is less to go wrong, while tossing the pancake up and out of the pan, so that it can turn in the air, has a little more to go wrong … What should be mentioned is that on Pancake Day there are more firemen on duty, and more calls out to fires, than on a ‘normal’ day, so make your own conclusions.
Serve One Pancake At A Time Or All At Once?
This question is a bit tricky: when we make pancakes they always seem to disappear off the plate as fast as we can make them, which means in terms of controlling who has eaten what, it can get complicated. Stacking the pancakes up, and keeping them warm by using a warm plate (or by keeping them in a warm oven) means that they can be enjoyed by everyone all at the same time, which is a bit more fun, especially if making different fillings for them. However, pancakes should be a friends and family affair so try to keep it informal and fun, especially if you are observing the 40 days of Lent fasting the next day (see more on the next page on the origins of ‘Pancake Day’).
What Are The Best Fillings?
This one is down to individual taste and creativity. Some combinations always work well, having passed the test of time, chocolate and ice-cream, lemon juice and sugar, or whipped cream, caramel and banana, for example – but you never know until you try, and that is half the fun … What we will say is that we have yet to come across a tasty pancake filling that uses more than four ingredients, and the best tasting fillings tend to use only two or three.