Make perfect pancakes

I’m not at all religious unless there’s a religious festival that involves food fast approaching on the calendar – think Easter eggs and Christmas pudding.  Another deeply shallow moment – oh well!

This year Tuesday March 8 is Shrove Tuesday – WTF I hear you say?

All you really need to know it that it involves making and eating pancakes!

If you need more justification - Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent, a period of liturgical fasting for forty days on the Christian calendar. Shrove Tuesday is a day of penitence and the last chance to feast and celebrate before Lent.

It comes from the ritual of shriving where Christians would confess their sins in order to receive absolution. The absolution would release them from the guilt and pain their sins have caused them. In other parts of the world Shrove Tuesday is known as Mardi Gras.

Shrove Tuesday is also known as Pancake Day. Pancakes were made and eaten to use up rich food stuffs, like eggs and milk, prior to fasting for the period of Lent. Pancake races have also formed part of Shrove Tuesday traditions and customs.

Now you have all the good reasons why Tuesday is a guilt free pancake day, here’s how to cook them perfectly courtesy of the Flour Advisory Bureau.

Tips for perfect pancakes
• Measure the ingredients exactly to ensure that the batter reaches the right consistency.
• Mix the ingredients using a large whisk until the dry ingredients have just been mixed in. The larger the whisk, the more air you can whip into the batter, which will help to produce light, fluffy pancakes.
• Heat the pan for two or three minutes before adding the fat to ensure that it doesn't burn. An olive oil spray is not only a good option for those who are concerned about the fat content, it also has a high burning temperature which helps to keep the flavour of the pancake delicate.
• One ladles worth of pancake batter is usually sufficient to make one perfect pancake.
• You only need to flip each pancake once to avoid overcooking and toughening the pancakes. 

What went wrong?
  • ·         Soggy pancakes - the batter may be too thick or you may have used too much batter, the pancake may be undercooked or you may not have enough fat in the frying pan.
  • ·         Broken pancakes - The batter may be too thin or you may not have used enough egg in your batter recipe.
  • ·         Pancakes that are difficult to roll or fold - Either the batter or pancakes are too thick or the pancakes may be overcooked.
Now you've honed up on your pancake making skills, here’s a recipe from the Flour Advisory Bureau .

American style pancakes with a sweet berry sauce

Servings: makes 10 pancakes

225g plain white flour
1tsp baking powder
15g sugar
2 large eggs
300ml milk
250g berries - eg strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries
15g icing sugar
a little oil to grease pan if required
Greek yoghurt or fromage frais, sweetened to taste with clear honey for serving

Place the flour, baking powder, sugar, eggs and milk in a blender and process until smooth. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins. Place the berries, icing sugar and 1-2 tbsp water in a food processor and process to a smooth puree. Strain into a jug and sweeten with a little extra icing sugar to taste. Preheat a non stick frying pan until hot & add 2 tsps of oil. Pour in 2tbsp of the batter & cook until bubbles begin to appear. Turn the pancake. Cook for 1 min. Remove from pan and keep warm in a clean tea towel. Repeat until all the batter is used. Serve warm pancakes, drizzled with fruit sauce and a dollop of Greek yoghurt or fromage frais sweetened with clear honey to taste.

PER SERVING 131 Kcal, fat 2.4g, saturated 1g, salt 0.2g, carbohydrate 23.9g, sugar 6.6g, fibre 1g