Will you go for traditional toppings or something a little different this year?

It might be one of the more overlooked annual celebrations (according to Lyle’s Golden Syrup, pancake tossers have fallen by 25% in the UK, with a quarter of Brits at a loss as to how to make a basic batter) but in our house, Pancake Day is a big deal. I’d always thought the traditional topping was lemon and sugar, but it does seem to vary from region to region, even just within England. For some, it’s orange juice and sugar; for others, butter and sugar, or golden syrup or jam.

The way we make our pancakes differs slightly too – while us English folk tend to follow the simple style of the French crêpe, the Scots use self-raising flour, eggs, sugar and milk to make what is often called the ‘drop scone’. The Irish like to splash a little buttermilk into theirs, and then there’s Welsh pancakes, which can contain sugar, cream of tartar, and sometimes a drop of vinegar. Of course, in America and Canada, you’ll find thick pancake stacks generously drizzled with maple syrup – some recipes even use yoghurt in the batter. Heading south and onto the streets of Mexico, you’re likely to find vendors selling ‘hotcakes’ made with cornmeal and topped with a goat’s milk caramel called cajeta. Maybe it’s where the term ‘selling like hotcakes’ comes from – maybe they are that good.

We can always count on our European friends for interesting variations – in Germany your pancake might be made from potato, with strips of it sunk into soup. Meanwhile in Spain, some use pig’s blood instead of milk to make their ‘filloas’. ‘Ugh!’ I hear you cry. Sounds shocking, but it’s just like black pudding when you think about it, I suppose…

So. How will you eat yours?

In our house, the biggest debate is the sweet vs. savoury one. My preference is for the sweet variety – so there I am, pouring on layers of thick, creamy chocolate sauce and heaping strawberries on every available surface. My sister, however, prefers her pancakes cheesy, usually adding mushrooms or peppers. This year we’ve decided our well-practised pancake routine needs a definite shake up. With so many alternative recipes and great garnish ideas out there, it didn’t taken me long to come up with a new menu for our pancake palooza.

Eton Mess Pancakes

110g plain flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
200ml milk mixed with 75ml of water
50g butter

For the filling:
Meringue, either homemade or ready made
Whipping cream
Icing sugar
Fresh strawberries

To make the pancake batter, sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a medium-sized bowl and make a well in the middle. Break the eggs into the well and whisk. Add the milk and water in a steady stream, whisking constantly and incorporating the flour. Then preheat a large non-stick frying pan and grease lightly with oil.

Pour a little of the batter into the pan. Cook for 1 to 1 ½ minutes, flipping when the edges look light brown and bubbles begin to break on the surface. Continue to cook until golden brown all over.

To make the filling, lightly whip the cream and mix in crushed meringue, fresh strawberries and a dab of icing sugar for extra sweetness. To serve, roll the pancakes into cones and fill them with that delicious taste of summer.

Carrot Cake Pancakes

1 cup wholewheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp grated fresh ginger
1 egg
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups finely grated carrots
¼ cup raisins (optional)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the fresh ginger, egg, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Then stir in the grated carrots and raisins. Add the carrot mix to the flour mix and gently combine. Once the topping is made, make the pancakes in the usual way and enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

350ml milk
250g pumpkin purée
1 egg
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp vinegar
250g plain flour
3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt

Mix together the milk, pumpkin purée, egg, oil and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, making sure you mix them well together. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until just combined. Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour about 4 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. Cook until golden brown.

Spinach Pancakes with Smoked Trout and Prawns

100g young spinach
125g plain flour
450ml semi-skimmed milk
1 egg
Pinch grated nutmeg
1 tbsp sunflower oil
Salt and pepper

For the trout filling:
125g sliced mushrooms
300g frozen peas
50g plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
150g peeled, cooked prawns
125g smoked trout fillet, flaked
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
30g butter

Wash the spinach and place in a saucepan. Cover and cook for about 2 minutes then drain well, pressing out excess water. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the egg, nutmeg and seasoning then gradually whisk in the milk. Finely chop the cooked spinach and stir it evenly into the batter mix.

Make your pancakes, stacking them on a plate as they are made and interweaving them with greaseproof paper. Cover with foil.

For the filling, melt the butter into a saucepan and add the mushrooms. Cook gently for 3 minutes stirring. Add the peas and cook for 1 minute.

Whisk the flour into the milk until smooth and pour into the mushroom mixture. Bring to the boil, stirring and simmering for 3 minutes. Stir in the prawns, trout, half of the cheese, the nutmeg and seasoning.

Preheat the grill. Divide the filling amongst the pancakes, roll them up and place on a baking tray. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over and grill until golden.

Nicole Pilcher

Nicole Pilcher

Nicole is an ex-Fed Up & Drunker who has now been released into the wild.

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2 Responses to Shrove Choose-day

  1. Avatar Ruby says:

    Yum! Too right, everyone should take Pancake Day seriously, can’t believe people are having to campaign to save it! I had my pancakes with a Cointreau sauce but going to give the savoury spinach ones a go next!

  2. Avatar Lokita says:

    This sounds delicious! Cinnamon makes everything even better!

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