Good Food Blog
The ultimate guide on how to make pancakesPosted at 12:02PM, 17 February 2012 by Natalie Hardwick - Web assistant, bbcgoodfood.com
Shrove Tuesday is almost upon us, and with it comes the pressure to turn out the perfect pancake with every flip. There are many areas of debate - savoury or sweet, thin or thick, oil or butter - and there are no hard and fast rules. So to make things a little easier, we put out a call to our readers and gathered together expert advice to create Good Food's ultimate pancake guide.
The basic kit
When it comes to the most important piece of kitchen kit for pancake making, the clue is in the name. A really good, non-stick frying pan is a crucial tool according to Good Food's cookery assistant, Cassie Best, who insists it'll make flipping a whole lot easier.
Traditionalists will insist that a standard Yorkshire pudding batter is a classic, foolproof necessity and that the finishing touches are all in the filling. However, Cassie, alongside many of our fans on Facebook, recommends adding spices, citrus zest, vanilla extract or herbs to the batter for an extra layer of flavour.
Masterchef's John Torode got in touch on Twitter to insist his ultimate secret batter addition is buttermilk. Many of our Facebook followers pitched some of their own ideas, such as ricotta or soured cream in place of some of the milk. A lot of you add oil or melted butter to your batter as a clever safeguard against sticking.
Good Food magazine's deputy food editor Sarah Cook recommends tailoring the flour you use according to the eventual filling. Wholemeal works better with savoury fillings, while white is best kept for sweet. Facebook fan Jennifer Stewart recommends making a sourdough batter.
Sarah's other top tip is to leave your batter to 'settle'. 24 hours in the fridge is ample time, but it may have thickened up a little when you take it back out, so just loosen up with a splash of milk.
For bbcgoodfood.com's food editor Caroline Hire temperature is crucial: "Make sure your pan is the right temperature before you start frying. You can test this by dropping a small spoon of mixture into the pan. If it turns golden on the underside after around 30 seconds you're good to go."
The most contentious point on Pancake Day is the filling. Reader feedback suggests sweet rules over savoury, with berries and pie fillings amongst your favourites. Chocoholics can indulge to the highest degree, and Facebook follower Vicki Irving recommends a mix of melted Turkish Delight bars with whipped cream and raspberries.
Apple cider with roasted apples was touted on Facebook by Alisha Tibrewala as a fresh spin on crêpes Suzette, while Cassie suggests experimenting as much possible - her childhood favourite was creamy chicken and sweetcorn pancakes. But, despite the weird and wonderful spectrum of ingredients at our disposal, it seems good old lemon and sugar still tops your chart.
Shrove Tuesday is a great opportunity to get people around a dinner table, so the best piece of advice is to not panic and just enjoy it. Facebook fan Justine Gardiner suggests making three times as much batter as you think you'll use to make sure you have some left for yourself.
The fact many of us treat these golden wonders as a once-a-year treat may go some way to explaining a few wobbly kitchen experience. The best way for perfection is practicing as much as possible. So it's time to get more pancakes in your life.