Gizzi Erskine's perfect pancake recipes for Shrove Tuesday

After the bleakness of a long lockdown winter, Pancake Day is the first ray of light which ushers in the beginning of Easter and announces the start of spring.

My easy pancake batter is probably my most sought-after recipe, simply because it never fails.

Instagram goes nuts for it every year — and this is one year we all deserve to indulge.

Enjoy!

The best easy pancake recipe:

This is my ultimate foolproof pancake recipe.

Prep time: 5 minutes, plus 2 hours resting (or overnight in the fridge)

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Makes six large or eight small pancakes

Ingredients

  • 110g plain flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • A decent pinch of both sugar and salt
  • ½ pint milk
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted

Method

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix together the dry ingredients, (flour, sugar, salt) in a bowl until well combined.

2. Crack the egg into the bowl, and add the extra egg yolk. Whisk the egg into the flour, then whisk the milk in gradually to knock out the lumps. Pour in the melted butter and whisk again. Your batter is now ready. It really benefits from two to ten hours rest in the fridge, but will be fine if you just can’t wait that long!

To cook

1. Heat the crepe pan over a medium-low heat, then grease it with some kitchen paper dipped in oil.

2. Carefully pour a ladleful of batter across the base of the pan, tilting to form an even layer. Excess batter should be poured back into the bowl of batter to make a nice thin, evenly cooked crepe.

3. Cook for 30-60 seconds, then turn it over — or flip it if you’re feeling brave! Slide the crepe onto a plate. Continue until you have used up all the batter and have a pile of crepes.

Negroni sauce

Having a Crepe Suzette at The Ritz has to be up there as one of my favourite eating experiences of all time. It’s served ‘en guéridon’ (cooked at the table) with a show-stopping flambé.

This version is Crepe Negroni and it’s a very boozy and grown up pancake! The Negroni is a famous Campari cocktail from Italy — it’s bitter and tangy and, frankly, when mixed with (bang in season) blood oranges, makes the perfect pancake syrup. Serve with vanilla ice cream

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Makes enough for four pancakes

Ingredients

  • 100ml Campari
  • 80ml blood orange juice, plus the zest of half an orange
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 30g icing sugar
  • 30ml gin
  • 30g butter

Method

1. Bring all the ingredients, apart from the gin, to the boil in a frying pan. When the liquid has reduced by half, lay one crepe into the syrup and allow it to absorb into the crepe. Fold it in half and then half again into quarters. Repeat until you have four crepes in the pan. Remove the crepes from the pan onto a serving plate.

2. Pour the gin into the pan and flambé to cook off the alcohol, then whisk in the butter off the heat to thicken the sauce. Pour onto the pancakes and serve alone or with vanilla ice cream.

Zest is best

If I’m honest, my favourite way of serving pancakes is with lemon juice and caster sugar — it really is the king of Brit pancake flavours.

A good rule of thumb is the juice of half a lemon and a couple of teaspoons of caster sugar.

Go bananas

Another brilliant classic is the banana and Nutella pancake. Use ½ a sliced banana, 1½ tablespoons of Nutella and ‘super-charge’ it by adding in 1 tbsp of the homemade salted caramel (see below). Finish with a dollop of whipped cream.

Salted caramel sauce

Salted caramel will always be my one true love. It’s a brilliant staple and lasts for a good few weeks in the fridge. Spread inside a hot pancake.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Makes 500ml — enough for six pancakes with leftovers

Ingredients

  • 320g sugar
  • 10ml water
  • 250ml double cream
  • 120g butter
  • the seeds from a vanilla pod
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Method

1. Put the sugar and water in a large saucepan and melt over a low heat, stirring gently. Turn up the heat and bring the sugar syrup to the boil. Do not stir as this will cause crystals to appear. The sugar syrup will slowly turn into a mahogany-coloured caramel.

2. Quickly, but carefully, pour in the double cream and beat it back to a smooth texture as the cold cream will make the caramel seize.

3. Beat in the butter, vanilla and salt until smooth and combined.

Vegan feast: Savoury gallette pancake

This hearty buckwheat gallette is vegan and gluten free. I’ve served it here with a delicious creamy leek, spinach and oat milk béchamel.

Preparation time: 10 minutes plus min of 1 hour resting time (or overnight in the fridge)

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Serves two

Ingredients

For the pancake

  • 140g of buckwheat flour
  • 300ml of oat milk
  • ¼ tsp yeast
  • a pinch of sugar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp of salt

For the filling

  • 15g flour (gluten free if preferred)
  • 15ml olive oil (plus a few extra tablespoons for frying)
  • 400ml oat milk
  • 500g spinach
  • 2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
  • 50ml of cashew cream (optional)
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  • 1 tbsp white miso
  • a good grating of nutmeg
  • zest of quarter of a lemon
  • ¼ tsp of celery salt
  • ½ tsp sea salt flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Pour 300ml of oat milk into a small saucepan. Warm over a low flame until just above room temperature (you can hold your finger in it comfortably). Add the yeast and sugar into the milk. Set aside for 15-20 mins to allow the yeast to activate (when you see bubbles rising to the surface).

2. Add the buckwheat flour, baking powder, salt to a large bowl and mix with a whisk. Pour the olive oil and cider vinegar into the yeasted oat milk. Whisk together into a smooth batter. Leave to rest for at least one hour, or to develop a deeper flavour, overnight in the fridge.

3. Start the filling by wilting down the spinach in a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat. Remove from the pan and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

4. In clean pan, heat a couple more tablespoons of oil and sweat the leeks for 4-5 minutes until soft. Remove from the pan and set aside.

5. To make the béchamel, heat 15ml of olive oil, add the plain flour and stir, allowing the flour to cook out for 1-2 mins, then slowly pour in the oat milk, whisking as you go to create a smooth sauce.

6. Now whisk through the nutritional yeast, English mustard, miso, and the cashew cream if you are using. Grate in nutmeg, lemon zest, and season with celery salt, sea salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

7. Allow to thicken up over a medium/high heat until it becomes a thick sauce. Turn off the heat and stir through the spinach and leeks until well combined.

8. Heat a crepe or frying pan over a high flame and brush with a coating of oil. Let the pan come up to temperature. Pour a small ladleful of batter into the pan. Move the pan around to spread the batter in a thin, even layer.

9. As the galette cooks you will see bubbles rise to the surface. With a spatula, carefully release the galette around the edges and flip over. Transfer to a plate and repeat the process with more batter.

10. To serve, spread a few tablespoons of filling mixture into the centre of the galette. Fold the edges inwards to create a square and serve immediately.

Instagram @gizzierskine; Gizzi’s cast iron pancake pan in collaboration with Skeppshult is available from buymeonce.com

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