Pancakes are among the most versatile of dishes in the world. The Americans eat them for breakfast, the Brits tend to only eat them on Shrove Tuesday and the French call them ‘Crepes’ and eat them the whole year round.
How ever you use these wonderful creations the basic ingredients are similar for all varieties. How to make pancakes need never be a problem as long as you stick to a few tried and tested rules. The batter is made from plain flour, eggs, salt and a combination of milk and water. American recipes also include baking powder for extra fluffiness and French crepes often include three eggs rather than two.
After you’ve made the basic batter, let it stand for a short while in the fridge or another cool place. Then heat up the pan, adding either butter or oil and pour some of the batter into the pan, as soon as the mixture starts to brown, turn the pancake over.
In the UK there are a strange number of kitchen ceilings that still bear the remains of an over enthusiastically tossed pancake but this really isn’t recommended unless you can guarantee to catch your pancake in the pan and not send it heavenwards.
The American breakfast pancake is slightly thicker than its European counterpart and is traditionally covered with maple syrup, and an assortment of fruit. Blueberries are really popular.
In Eastern Europe pancakes are eaten with bilberries and sour cream and can be enjoyed at any time of the day. The traditional British pancake is accompanied with lemon and sugar but there appears to be a growing trend to also eat the pancake as a light meal and stuff them with meat and vegetables.
Busy office workers now choose the stuffed pancake as an alternative to sandwiches. The French crepe tends to be lighter and can be made from buckwheat flour as well as wheat flour.
This wholesome and easy dish is an absolute boon to a busy working mother who is in a quandary about the family supper. The speed of preparation and the low cost of the ingredients make this meal a viable alternative to the ubiquitous hamburger or fish fingers. Another bonus is that if the family budget is severely stretched you can always find something in the store cupboard that you can add to the mix.