It’s Pancake Day! Oh yes indeed. This day was huge in my house growing up. The batter would be ready, the flipping would commence, I’d have a nervous breakdown that I was hold a hot pan and didn’t want to risk my pancake hitting the floor. My mother would set up a Rag Trade style factory line up of assortments and accompaniments for the pancakes and we would work our way down the line dousing our pancakes in the sweet additions.
Chocolate. Syrup. Different sugars. Fruits. Squirty Cream. All sorts. But my favourite? When I was younger I kept it simple. I enjoyed nothing more than a generous splash of lemon juice and a quick scatter of sugar and I was done. I would eat it with a knife and fork. No folding. And of course I’d have about seven hundred and thirty two pancakes but that was my decision and I regret nothing.
These days, my tastes have changed. My mother would make our traditional British, wide and thin pancakes that you could fold over and make little crepe style offerings. While these will always have a soft spot in my heart, the pancakes of my today are a little squishier. I prefer the American style ‘stack’ pancakes that are smaller in diameter and thicker. The kind you want to serve with something syrupy and sloppy. Story of my life.
The trick I find to getting the batter right for these kinds of pancakes is thick and smooth – and the only way I manage to achieve this consistency is in a food processor (or any kind of juicer/blender you have). It does the work for you, no arm aching whipping involved, and it takes out any floury lumps so that your pancakes are perfect.
These could easily done by hand in a big jug or bowl or something but do prepare yourself to have Michelle Obama arms at the ready because you will need to beat the daylights out of the batter to ensure there are no lumps. I don’t believe in exercise before 9am so I choose my food processor.
And the sauce I put with them is a nod to my childhood but a salute to my present. It’s an amaretto spiked chocolate sauce that gives the sweet-salty spike of the pancakes a decadently more-ish quality. But the beauty of these pancakes is that they’re small… so technically you can eat more, right?
In a blender, drop in four teaspoons of smooth peanut butter before cracking in one egg. Drop in 1 tablespoon of soft demerara sugar followed by ½ tablespoon of baking powder. Sprinkle in a little sea salt before adding 100g of plain flour. Finally, pour in 200ml of full fat milk. Clamp on a lid and press the button and blitz everything to a thick, nutty fragranced batter.
Melt a small dab of butter in a frying pan and melt to a bubble. Now pour the batter into four little dollops (depending on the size of your frying pan). I pour my pancake batters into the frying plan clockwise, i.e. pour one in at 12 o clock, one in at 3, one in at 6, one in at 9 because this allows me to flip them in that order so that they each get equal cooking time against the hot pan.
If you’re nervous with this part, it could be worth just doing two at a time until you get your confidence. This is a thick batter so try and keep the pancakes as small as possible because if you spread it out over the pan, it’ll cook a little bit too thickly and almost be like a flat, unrisen Yorkshire pudding. Which actually could be delicious… but we’re making pancakes today so let’s stick with it.
Only hold the jug over the pan for a second or two as you only want these pancakes in 5/6cm diameters. These take no time at all to cook, but as soon as you start seeing little tiny bubbles on the surface of the pancake, flip it over with a spatula and cook for another minute before removing to a plate.
Continue this pattern – but every now and then give the pan a quick but careful wipe with kitchen tea towel and melt another dab of butter. This is so that the butter doesn’t keep burning and put little black bits in your pancake. These measurements should give you roughly 20/22 small pancakes.
For the sauce, place a big tablespoon of Nutella – or any other hazelnut chocolate spread- in a microwaveable jug and pour in a generous shotglass of amaretto. Place this in the microwave for 20 seconds before removing, stirring, and putting back in the microwave for a further 10/15 seconds. And you’re done.
Yes I stacked the pancakes for a picture so that you can see how much more fun these pancakes are to stack than the flat traditional ones – and nobody would judge you to eat them all yourself – but these freeze really well so if you won’t be eating them all, bag them up into equal portions and freeze until you’re in the mood for a pancake.
But it’s Pancake Day. It’s technically law to be pancake mood-ed today. So get stacking.