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Pancake Day recipes: London’s top chefs share their tips for nailing Shrove Tuesday

Look on the flip side: try a new recipe this year  (Mae Mu on Unsplash)
Look on the flip side: try a new recipe this year (Mae Mu on Unsplash)

There has been plenty of time to perfect the pancake: the dish is truly ancient, having been enjoyed sufficiently by the Greeks to make it into poetry circa 600BC, but thought to have been eaten by those chipping away during the Stone Age. While the dumbly-straightforward “pancake” name wasn’t coined until the 17th century — astonishing it took so long to come up with — the idea of mixing flour, milk and eggs appears to have been one of mankind’s earliest.

As such, long before lemon and sugar became the standard — and centuries before Nutella was even a glint in Pietro Ferrero’s eye — chefs, cooks and Neolithic sorts were experimenting. Old favourite pairings included everything from rosewater to sherry (still a smart choice).

Still, tens of thousands of years of history later, and few agree on the perfect accompaniment — or even a basic recipe. Below, five of the London’s top chefs share their thoughts.

Classic crêpes Suzette

Natasha Sideris, tashas, tashascafe.com

 (Courtesy of tashas inspired)
(Courtesy of tashas inspired)

Many great dishes have been created by accident in the kitchens of absent-minded cooks and hot-headed chefs. One story of the origin of these crêpes tells how a young assistant waiter was finishing off a dessert for the Prince of Wales at the Café de Paris, when it caught fire. What the chef was thinking in entrusting this grand finale to an amateur we can only guess. But we’re grateful he did, because we now have this wonderful, burnt sugar and orange liqueur flambéed classic. Serve the crêpes with vanilla ice cream.

Makes: 4 crêpes

Ingredients

For the crêpes

  • 120g flour

  • ½tsp salt

  • 500ml milk

  • 1tsp sugar

  • 5tbsp soft unsalted butter

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying

  • 125ml beer, preferably lager

  • 100ml Grand Marnier (or equivalent orange liqueur) NB. for serving

For the orange liqueur sauce

  • 500ml orange juice

  • 60g sugar

  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds removed

  • 2 oranges, zested and segmented

  • 180g butter, softened

Method

For the crêpes

  1. Sift together the flour and salt, then whisk together the milk, sugar, butter, eggs and oil.

  2. Whisk the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Next, pour the batter through a fine sieve into a large mixing bowl.

  3. Whisk in the beer, cover, and refrigerate for about 4-5 hours (although it’ll be best if left overnight).

  4. Remove the batter from the fridge and let it stand to reach room temperature.

  5. Once it has, heat a flat non-stick crêpe pan (though a frying pan will do) to medium heat, lightly brush with a little bit of oil and pour 125ml of batter into the pan.

  6. Once the crêpe starts to bubble all over, it is ready to be flipped. This should be about two minutes per side.

  7. Remove the crêpe from the pan, place on a platter and cover with a lid or dome to prevent the crêpes from drying out. Repeat until the batter is finished.

For the sauce

  1. Heat the orange juice, then add the sugar, vanilla seeds and orange zest and bring to a boil.

  2. Once the sugar has dissolved, whisk the butter in, bit by bit. When the sauce is smooth and thickened, add the orange segments and bring back to a boil.

To serve

  1. Place the crêpes one at a time into the boiling sauce. Make sure they are completely covered. Fold them in half and in half again to make triangles, making sure you have a few orange segments inside each crêpe.

  2. Once they are folded in the pan, covered in sauce and very hot, add the Grand Marnier. Carefully set the sauce alight, and allow it to flame briefly.

  3. Serve with ice cream and the remaining sauce on the side.

Printed with permission from tashas inspired, available to purchase at tashas Battersea

‘Silver Dollar’ pancakes

Sandia Chang, Kitchen Table, kitchentablelondon.co.uk

 (Marcus Cobden)
(Marcus Cobden)

On a typical Shrove Tuesday, I make American-style “silver dollar” pancakes for my kids in the morning. They’re named after their small size and are really fun to stack up. We normally serve them with maple syrup and have them for breakfast that day. Then, in the evening, my husband James (Knappett, co-founder of Kitchen Table) will make us traditional English pancakes for dessert after dinner. He serves them classic, with sugar and lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 225g all-purpose flour

  • 3 tbsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp baking powder

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 350ml milk

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 eggs, separated

Method 

  1. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

  2. In another bowl, combine the milk and vegetable oil. Add the egg yolks to the milk and whisk to break up the yolks.

  3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Don’t worry, there will still be small lumps.

  4. Place the egg whites in another bowl and beat until they have stiff peaks.

  5. Add about 1/3 of the stiff egg whites to the pancake batter and stir it in to combine and lighten the batter.

  6. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until no white streaks appear.

  7. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Grease with butter or with nonstick cooking spray.

  8. Pour about the size of a "silver dollar" of batter (about 4cm diameter) onto the hot griddle. Let the pancakes cook until bubbles form, then flip and continue to cook until browned and cooked through.

  9. Continue with the remaining batter until all of the pancakes are cooked

Crepes with crispy maple bacon and spiced apple chutney

Gregory Marchand, formerly of Frenchie, Covent Garden

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

“One of my favourite dishes at the restaurant for pancake day is this one, of pancakes topped with crispy maple bacon, spiced apple chutney and smoked bacon ice cream. The blend of fatty bacon, sharp, sweet apple and the cooling ice cream is just perfection.”

Makes: Six pancakes

Ingredients

For the pancakes

  • 140g plain flour

  • 200ml whole milk

  • 2 eggs

  • 25g melted butter

For the bananas

  • 4 tbsp brown sugar

  • 2 bananas

For the apple chutney

  • 1 green apple diced

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 50g light brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon corn starch

  • 1 teaspoon all spice

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the pancakes together using a food processor. Then, in a non-stick pan on a medium heat, cook the batter while making sure that the crepe is about half a millimetre thick.

  2. Meanwhile, reduce the vinegar, sugar and maple syrup by half, add corn starch and cook for one to two minutes, add the apple and then the allspice, cook for a further two minutes, and then cool.

  3. Sprinkle the banana slices with brown sugar and caramelise with a blow torch or simply under a hot grill. Garnish with icing sugar.

Pancakes with berry compote, fresh berries and clotted cream

Henry Omereye, Riding House Cafe, ridinghouse.cafe

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

“My secret to light and fluffy pancakes is to add the egg yolks first to your mixture and allow it to rest for three minutes. Then in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and combine all ingredients together. If you want thin, crispy crepes, always make sure your pan is not too hot as the batter goes in; you should be able to tilt the pan, so the batter forms a thin (!) layer over the base. Then gradually turn up the heat and cook for two to three minutes on each side. Keep checking so it doesn’t burn.”

Makes: 20 pancakes

Ingredients

For the pancakes

  • 1.7kg malted flour

  • 250g unsalted butter

  • 8 eggs

  • 1l whole milk

  • 200g caster sugar

  • 500ml water

For the berry compote

  • 1kg frozen blueberries

  • 400g caster sugar

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, melt the butter and separate the egg yolk from the whites.

  2. Make a well with the flour in the bowl and in the centre add the yolks, sugar, butter and milk. Mix and adjust the texture with water and allow to rest for three minutes.

  3. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites into a foam and then combine with the rest of the mixture. Have your non-stick pan and some butter ready to cook.

  4. Put a ladle full of batter into the pan and cook the pancakes for two minutes on each side, then finish in the oven for five to six minutes at 190°C.

  5. For the compote, combine all the ingredients together in a pot, and cook them over on a low heat till it’s all reduced by half, then take it off the heat.

  6. When everything is ready, assemble your pancakes. Top with clotted cream and garnish with a mixture of fresh blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries. Add some good quality maple syrup and icing sugar, et voilà.

Sweet Goan pancakes filled with jaggery and coconut

Will Bowlby, Kricket, kricket.co.uk

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

“There are hundreds of different pancakes across India, from sweet malpua to savoury dosa. I am constantly discovering new ones. This year I am making Alle Belle, which is a sweet pancake recipe from Goa and makes for the perfect afternoon treat.  If you fancy going the extra-mile, then garnish the pancakes with a dusting of icing sugar and some chopped pistachios.”

Makes: Four pancakes

Ingredients

For the pancakes

  • 80g plain flour

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1 egg

  • 150ml whole milk

  • A pinch of baking powder

  • A little ghee or clarified butter

For the filling

  • 6 pitted dates, finely chopped

  • 50g fresh grated coconut, desiccated coconut is a fine alternative, toasted to a light golden brown in a dry pan

  • 50g Jaggery or dark muscovado sugar

  • 1 cardamon pod, grounded to a powder

  • A small pinch of Maldon salt

Method

  • In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, the egg and baking powder. Slowly incorporate the milk until you have a thin batter consistency. Leave this to one side whilst you make the filling.

  • Combine all the ingredients for the filling in a pan. Add a little splash of water to prevent the mixture from sticking.

  • Cook over a low heat until all the ingredients have come together, and you have a nice thick sweet paste with no liquid — this should take about 10 minutes. Allow to cool and set aside.

  • To make the pancakes, heat up a little ghee or clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan over a low to medium heat.

  • Pour a ladle of the batter into the pan, and swirl around to allow the batter to spread into a thin pancake. You don’t particularly want any colour on the pancake itself, so keep the heat relatively low and flip the pancake after a couple of minutes or so.

  • Once flipped, add some of the stuffing into the middle of each pancake and remove from the pan onto a serving plate. Roll up the pancakes, and repeat until you have used up all the batter and filling!