Kitchen folklore will tell you that the first pancake you fry – regardless of your skill level – will always be shit. I can testify that this is often the truth.
Frying pancake batter, you need at least one or two crap ones out of the way first so that you can get used to the consistency of the batter coming off of your spoon or out of your jug before you start getting into a winning rhythm of consistent pancake shapes.
Despite being a food writer and somewhat of a recipe collector, I am nothing short of evangelical about finding a recipe that works for you, sticking to the damn thing and just tweaking the odd flavour element here and there for a bit of variety.
Imitation genuinely is flattery in this sense. Repeating the same recipe over and over again until you’re confident enough with it to tweak where you feel comfortable.
This pancake recipe is no different. I’ve been making pancakes the same way for years, only switching the odd flavour element (or what I drape on top of them) every now and then, but the core principle stays the same. It’s a wash-rinse-repeat approach that I’m only more than happy to put into practice in my kitchen if it secures me some banging pancakes.
However, having said that, I do like to play around with different flours for pancakes. I am delighted to say that I happen to find buckwheat flour the best for pancakes. I have no idea why because I’m not a specialist in the area. I just know buckwheat flour has never let me down and has given me the springiest and heavenly cloud like pancakes every time, and I have never gone back.
Yes we’re using some tinned peaches here and yes we’re sprucing them up with some spices. I don’t want to hear a snobbish word on the subject.
And don’t throw away the peach poaching liquid – make a peach infused chocolate sauce to drizzle over your pancakes. Simply zap about 50g of milk chocolate in a microwave (stirring every 10 seconds or so) until it’s all melted and smooth and then stir in 20ml of double cream and a few hefty tablespoons of the peach poaching liquid.
For the pancakes
200g buckwheat flour
2 tablespoons soft brown sugar
25g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
300ml full fat milk
Flavourless oil for frying
For the peaches
1 x 420g can of sliced peaches in syrup
1 cinnamon stick
2 – 3 whole star anise
- Add all the pancake ingredients to a big bowl or jug, whisk together until thoroughly combined – no flour spots – and let rest for as long as you can. Overnight is my preferred.
- Just before making the pancakes, make your peaches. Empty the contents of the can into a small saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and bring the pan to a simmer.
- Once the pan is simmering, stir the peaches around a little, take off the heat and allow to stand while you make the pancakes.
- Drizzle a little oil in the pan and using kitchen paper, rub it around the pan. You want a thin film, not a puddle.
- Put the pan on a medium heat and once you can feel the heat (I just hover my hand over the pan) you can add a small drizzle of the pancake batter to the pan. Proper food writers would say a quarter of a cupful but I usually just pour it in with a steady hand and gage by eye if they’re even. They never are, but I remain optimistic.
- You want a little space between each pancake so you have room to flip, so I usually go for three or four pancakes in the pan at a time. It depends on how big your pan is.
- When you start to see little pockets of bubbles on the surface of your pancake, flip it over and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Take them out of the pan and to a plate, throwing a clean tea towel over them to keep warm.
- Repeat until you’ve finished up the batter.
- Divide the pancakes to plates, stack as you see fit and then top with the poached peaches. If you want the glossy spiced peach spiked chocolate sauce you see in the picture, just see the intro.