These Pancake recipes are from Hannah Glasse’s cookery book, “The Art Of Cookery: Made Plain and Simple”, published in 1740. From the five original pancake recipes given you can see some are a little more complex, and spiced, while others are simpler and plainer. Yet all of them show how the traditional English Pancake Recipe developed over hundreds of years – yet even well before Hannah Glasse, the oldest known pancake recipe written down comes from the Tudor cook book, ‘The good Huswifes Handmaide for the Kitchin’ see the Pancake Recipe From 1588.
You can choose to do any of her pancake recipes, the original ones below are very easy to follow, but we are going to do her pancakes called “Quire of Paper”, as the ingredients are interesting and they have a great name. They also make for a wonderful tasting pancake, one of the best we have tried, although they are tricky to turn over in the pan when frying.
Hannah Glasse’s Original Pancake Recipes From 1740
The Art Of Cookery: Made Plain and Simple
To make Pancakes.
TAKE a quart of milk, beat in fix or eight eggs, leaving half the whites out; mix it well till your batter is of a fine thickness. You must observe to mix your flour first with a little milk, then add the rest by degrees; put in two spoonfuls of beaten ginger, a glass of brandy, a little salt; stir all together, make your stew-pan very clean, put in a piece of butter as big as a walnut, then pour in a ladleful of batter, which will make a pancake, moving the pan round that the batter be all over the pan, shake the pan, and when you think that side is enough, toss it; if you cannot, turn it cleverly; and when both sides are done, lay it in a dish before the fire, and so do the rest. You must take care they are dry; when you send them to table strew a little sugar over them
To make fine Pancakes.
TAKE half a pint of cream, half a pint of sack, the yolks of eighteen eggs beat fine, a little salt, half a pound of fine sugar, a little beaten cinnamon, mace, and nutmeg; then put in as much flour as will run thin over the pan, and fry them in fresh butter. This fort of pancake will not be crisp, but very good.
A second Sort of fine Pancakes.
TAKE a pint of cream, and eight eggs well beat, a nutmeg grated, a little salt, half a pound of good dish-butter melted; mix all together, with as much flour as will make them into a thin batter, fry them nice, and turn them on the back of a plate.
A third Sort.
TAKE six new-laid eggs well beat, mix them with a pint of cream, a quarter of a pound of sugar, some grated nutmeg, and as much flour as will make the batter of a proper thickness. Fry these fine pancakes in small pans, and let your pans be hot. You must not put above the bigness of a nutmeg of butter at a time into the pan.
A fourth Sort, called a Quire of Paper.
TAKE a pint of cream, six eggs, three spoonfuls of fine flour, three of sack, one of orange-flower water, a little sugar, and half a nutmeg grated, half a pound of melted butter almost cold; mingle all well together, and butter the pan for the first pancake; let them run as thin as possible; when they are just coloured they are enough; and so do with all the fine pancakes.
Pancakes 1740 Recipe
Makes about 8 pancakes. As you can see from the original recipe white wine (sack) was mixed in with orange-flower water.
Making Tips: Because of the cream, and the amount of butter, these are very soft pancakes, which make them delightful to eat, but difficult to turn over when frying the batter in the pan as they do not crisp up. We therefore recommend using a modern non-stick pan, (rather than an old fashioned griddle) putting them initially on a high heat, and not making them too big. Flip them over carefully and gently, with a large non-stick fish slice, when they are fully set. If they are too fragile whisk in a little extra flour.
- 300ml single (light) cream
- 3 eggs
- 175g plain flour
- 4 tbsp of white wine
- 1 tbsp orange-flower water
- 50g sugar
- 12 shavings of freshly ground nutmeg
- 80g butter (melted)
- a little milk
Optional: serve the pancakes with a Brandy Syllabub: whipped cream, sugar, and grated lemon zest, with some brandy added.
Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and mix in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly, until the batter is becoming smooth and free from lumps. Start with a spoon then switch to a whisk. Whisk the cream in a little at a time. Then whisk in the melted butter, white wine and orange-flower water and mix thoroughly. Finally stir in the sugar and the grated nutmeg and whisk.
Let the pancake batter rest or stand for an hour – it actually looks and smells a little bit like eggnog. This pancake batter is quite thin, (it will thicken up a little if left to stand). When you want to use it, it will be about the consistency of single cream. If it needs thinning just add in a little milk. Before using the batter give it a last whisk.
Use an 8 inch or 20cm non-stick frying pan (or a traditional English griddle) and for each pancake grease it lightly with a little butter – carefully wipe the surface over with a little softened butter dabbed onto a piece of kitchen paper, folded over to thicken it, keeping your fingers from the heat. For the first pancake heat the pan until the fat smokes, then turn the heat down a little.
Pour about 4 to 6 tablespoons (two small ladles) of the batter into the centre of the pan, and quickly tilt the pan to and fro to spread the mixture thinly across the surface evenly. The amount of batter poured in should just coat the surface of the pan, no more.
Cook the pancake like this on a medium-high heat for about 1 minute, until the batter has just set, (the bubbles on the top surface are drying out) and the edges are turning a light brown (Hannah Glasse instructs that the pancakes are not overly coloured). Turn the pancake over carefully with a wide palette knife or spatula, (this can be tricky as they are soft pancakes and do not crisp up) and cook the other side for about another minute, until it is just golden underneath.
Turn out the pancake on to a warm plate. Either serve it at once or keep them all on a warm plate, and as they stack up keep the plates in a warm oven until you are ready to serve them all at once – serve with a little caster sugar (optional: with a little ground cinnamon mixed in) sprinkled over.
You can also serve pancakes with a Brandy Syllabub: a little whipping cream which has some sugar, a little grated lemon zest, and half a tablespoon of brandy added.