A simple & classic recipe for Pancake Day
Try these American style pancakes on this annual celebration of the dish, courtesy of Simple & Classic
Even the simplest of recipes vary a little bit, country to country. Shrove Tuesday is often referred to as Pancake Day in Great Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth, but the pancakes eaten in England tend to be the flatter type, rather than the bouncier, fluffier style favoured in North America.
However, the English cook and cookbook author Jane Hornby’s new book, Simple & Classic, includes a wonderful, US-style buttermilk pancakes with blueberries and syrup that will still taste great tomorrow Tuesday, no matter where you make them in the world. Here’s what you need, and what to do.
2 cups (250g) all purpose (plain) flour
3 tbsp superfine (caster) sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp unsalted butter, plus extra to serve
½ cup (120ml) milk
1 cup (250g) buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large (UK medium) eggs
1 lemon, optional
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil, for frying
1⅓ cups (200g) blueberries maple syrup, to serve
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the middle of the mixture.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then take off the heat. Whisk in the milk, buttermilk, vanilla, and finally the eggs. Finely grate the lemon zest, if using, and stir it in.
Pour the wet ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients.
Whisk to make a thick, smooth batter. Don’t overwork it. If you plan to cook all the pancakes before eating them, preheat the oven to 275°F/140°C/Gas Mark 1.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or frying pan over a medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the oil, let it heat for a few seconds, then add 3 large spoonfuls of batter, helping each spoonful to spread out with the tip of the spoon. The mix should sizzle gently as the first spoonful hits the oil. Cook the pancakes for 1 minute, or until small bubbles start to pop on the surface and there’s a tinge of gold around the edges.
Slide a spatula (fish slice) under a pancake and flip it over. Repeat with the remaining pancakes and cook for a minute on the second side, or until they are puffy and springy in the middle. Lift onto a plate. Eat immediately or keep warm in the preheated oven while you cook the rest of the pancakes. Add a little more oil to the pan for each batch.
Serve the pancakes hot, with a pat of butter, a drizzle of maple syrup, and a handful of blueberries.
Can’t find buttermilk? Buttermilk is slightly acidic, which helps the mix become extra fluffy and light. If you can’t find buttermilk, you can use yogurt instead, or simply put 1 cup (240 ml) milk into a bowl or pitcher (jug) and add the juice from half a lemon. Let sit for a few minutes until the milk looks thick and lumpy, then use as above.
Too much effort for the morning? Although they’re always best made fresh, you can make the pancakes the night before and reheat them in the morning. Either toast briefly, or preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/ Gas Mark 4 and put the pancakes onto a heatproof dish. Cover with aluminum foil and reheat for 10 minutes, then serve.
Simple & Classic is a newly curated collection of the very best of Jane Hornby's recipes from What to Cook & How to Cook It, Fresh & Easy, and What to Bake & How to Bake It, each previously published by Phaidon.
The absolute beauty of Hornby's recipes is how easy they are to perfect – with detailed step-by-step shots and beautiful images of the finished dishes, this is destined to be the most useful cookbook on the shelf. Buy your copy here.