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Perfect pancakes and fool-proof fillings

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We might flip out over them on Shrove Tuesday, but we can enjoy easy-peasy pancakes all year round, from sweet or savoury to simple or fancy

Pancake day is upon us, and kitchens across the UK are about to get flour-covered surfaces and batter-covered ceilings. Follow our simple recipe, though, and things shouldn’t get too messy.

We’ve got six great filling recipes too. So whether you’re after a light lunch, an oh-so-impressive dinner party pud, or you just want to have some fun in the kitchen with the kids, read on for our flipping fantastic ideas…

Making the perfect pancakes

Pancakes really are one of the easiest foods you can make from scratch. Here’s how.

METHOD

1. Whip (or, for really perfect pancakes, blend) one egg, 100g of sifted plain flour (or whole wheat is the healthier choice), 300ml of milk and a pinch of salt. This should make about six pancakes.
2. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and, when hot, add a ladle of pancake batter so it just about covers the pan base.
3. Cook for one to two minutes then ease the edges of the pancake with a spatula first to ensure your flip doesn’t fail.
4. Here comes the fun part the kids can get involved with ¬– toss the pan to flip the pancake over.
5. Cook to your liking and serve hot with one of the below fillings or toppings.

For the recipe in full, click here.

For a savoury supper: cheese and ham

Pancakes are usually thought of as sweet treats, but with your favourite savoury filling, they can be a delicious lunch or light supper.

METHOD

1. Cook your pancake on one side. When the top is firm enough, layer it with a slice of ham, some grated cheese (whatever you have, but Gruyère is particularly good) and some chopped chives or spring onions.
2. Let the cheese melt before folding your pancake in half.
3. Serve with a simple green salad.

For the health-conscious: mushroom and spinach

If you’re watching your weight, use whole-wheat flour instead of plain, and enjoy your pancake with some vitamin-rich veg.

METHOD

1. Sweat a small, finely chopped onion in olive oil until softened but not brown (about five minutes).
2. Add some chopped mushrooms. When the mushrooms are cooked, remove from the heat and stir in some baby spinach to wilt. Season well.
3. If you like you can spread your pancakes with a little crème fraiche before topping with the mushroom and spinach mixture, but either way you’re in for a lush lunch!

For the kids: smiley-faced banana split

Pancakes are great for kids. Not only can they get involved in the flipping part, but you can make fun and fruity smiley faces, as below.

METHOD

1. Slice a banana and a large strawberry in half lengthways.
2. Lay a pancake flat on a plate and use the banana half for the smile and the strawberry half for the nose.
3. Use spray-can whipped cream to give the face fluffy hair and two eyes, topping the eyes with a blueberry each.

N.B. For a healthier alternative, skip the cream and just use a collection of blueberries for the hair.

For the traditionalist: lemon and sugar

Okay, this isn’t so much a recipe as a reminder. A pancake with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkling of sugar is pretty hard to beat.

For the sweet toothed: Black Forest gateau

Come over all 70s with this delicious and super-easy filling.

METHOD

1. Dollop your pancake with chocolate spread.
2. Warm a can of black cherries and pour down the middle of the pancake.
3. Roll up your pancake and serve with whipped cream and a few curls of grated chocolate if you’re feeling fancy.

For the fancy dinner party: Crèpes Suzette

Crèpes Suzette make an easy but impressive dinner party dessert, and are great served with vanilla ice cream.

METHOD

1. Put 50g of sugar in a frying pan then place it on the heat until the sugar melts and then caramelises - don’t be tempted to stir the sugar, just let it melt gently, swirling the pan occasionally.
2. Add the zest and juice of one orange to the melted sugar. Be careful – it will bubble and splutter.
3. Add 50g of butter to the pan and bring everything to a simmer to create a syrupy sauce.
4. Slide your cooked and folded pancakes into the pan and leave them to simmer gently for a minute, turning once until completely drenched in the syrup.
5. If you’re feeling brave, you can now flambé the pancakes by drizzling over some orange liqueur, rum or brandy then carefully, and at arm's length, setting it alight.

Bon appetit!

Have you got a recipe for a pancake filling that’s flipping fabulous? We’d love to hear from you.

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