FRYING pans at the ready — a celebrity chef has shared his top tips to enjoy the perfect Pancake Day.
Paul Heathcote, catering boss at the Bolton Whites Hotel and the Reebok Stadium, says the trick is to make sure your pan is nice and hot and not to use too much mixture for each pancake.
While his favourite pancake topping is the tried and tested pairing of lemon and sugar, the restaurant owner says plenty of ingredients work with pancakes — from chocolate sauce to chicken curry.
He added: “Don’t just think they are something for dessert with traditional lemon and sugar.
“If you think about making an omelette, you can use the same ingredients in a pancake.
“I think it’s a great alternative for vegetarians because you can virtually put anything in — asparagus which will be in season soon, mushrooms, cauliflower cheese.
“Greek yoghurt, banana and honey would be quite a good breakfast one and a healthy option.”
The 52-year-old said his most unusual pancake recipe was one he made with a soufflé inside and he is planning to have smoked haddock, potato and cheese sauce pancakes on the menu at the hotel today.
To make the perfect Pancake Day treat, Mr Heathcote advises pouring the mixture into the pan, rolling it around until it covers the whole pan and adding a couple of drops to fill any gaps.
He said: “You can see the change of colour on the pancake.
“The outside will colour first, you will see it move in as the pancake cooks.”
The father-of-two says to take care not to try to turn it before it is cooked, and make sure it can slide easily around the pan before you turn it over.
He added: “The tendency is almost to try and flip it first before it’s cooked on one side.
“It doesn’t take much cooking on the reverse side because they are only a few millimetres thick, hopefully.
“If you’ve not got a non-stick pan, I would suggest you put oil in it and leave it for a little while, for four or five minutes.”
One of the most fun parts of Pancake Day is attempting to flip the pancake, but Mr Heathcote says, in a working kitchen, he would usually avoid this.
He added: “I wouldn’t flip any because I think it’s easier, simpler and more consistent not to.
“If you toss a pancake, it’s going to take a lot of practice and you’ll mess a few up. Use a palate knife and turn it over.”
Shrove Tuesday is the day that precedes Ash Wednesday — the first day of Lent which marks the start of 40 days of fasting and religious obligations. It gets its name from the custom for Christians to be “shriven” before the start of Lent and pancake day traditionally gave people the chance to use up any stocks of milk, butter and eggs which were forbidden during abstinence.
PANCAKES — JUST PERFECT SWEET OR SAVOURY
What you need
(makes 12 good size pancakes)
- 110g plain flour
- 2 eggs beaten
- 150ml milk
- 50ml water
- Pinch of salt
- 20g melted butter
- Vegetable oil for cooking
- Wedges lemon
- Caster sugar
What you do
1. Place all the ingredients in a liquidiser or food processor and blitz well.
2. Pass through a fine sieve and pour into a jug.
3. To cook the pancakes, make a frying pan hot, add a few drops of vegetable oil and swill it around the pan.
4. Pour in sufficient batter into the middle of the pan and quickly tip it around as thinly and evenly as you can. It will take no more than a minute to cook on one side before flipping it over with a palate knife, or if you are brave – tossing it! Cook for about 20 seconds longer before tipping onto a plate and serve with lemon and sugar.
Quick Pancake Dishes
Make a cheese sauce, add some cooked chicken and mushrooms, spoon into a pancake and roll, place on a plate or dish, spoon over a little more sauce and a sprinkle of grated cheese, place under a hot grill for a few seconds and serve.
- Cooked fish, such as smoked haddock or salmon, tinned tuna or a combination of cooked cauliflower, peas, mushrooms, sweetcorn for a vegetarian.
- Italian Pancakes: Jar of passata sauce (tomato). Spoon a little into a bowl and mix spicy thick sausage and tinned haricot beans. Finish under the grill with a little more sauce and grated mozzarella cheese.
- Sweet and Delicious: Try mixing sliced banana, thick Greek yoghurt, blueberries and a good measure of honey. Change the yoghurt for crème fraiche or the blueberries for raspberries — they all work really well.
While Paul advises using a palate knife for the perfect flipped pancake, if you do want to toss it then lift your arm up high so the pan follows the pancake up in the air so there is less chance of it ending up on the floor.