Pancakes have a way of making every essay crisis seem less gloomy – and I’m not just talking about the essay on the week of Pancake Day, oh no… You see, I have a confession. I make pancakes regularly throughout the Cambridge term – a sweet snack to distract me from the worries of everyday life. Why not? They are extra cheap to make (and I seriously mean this!), super nice to the taste buds, and entirely customisable.
Before we get stuck into the tasty part, where does this custom of making sweet pans of goodness even come from, anyway? They are supposed to be named after the ‘Pancake bell’ that is rung even nowadays to signal for people to attend confession. Pancakes themselves came to be a way of using up one’s supply of indulgent, forbidden foods (namely, eggs and fats) before the 40-day fast that is Lent. You will note however that my recipe does not use eggs at all(!) – So much for that…
So, what is my base pancake recipe?
Makes: 2-3 pancakes.
2 tbsp plain flour
½ cup milk (or water, for vegan!)
1 tsp sugar (not necessary – it depends how sweet you like your pancakes)
½ tsp baking powder (also not necessary, unless you like your pancakes fluffy)
Sieve the flour, and add the rest of the ingredients into the same bowl. Mix together. (Note: Don’t stress if you don’t have a sieve – just try and get rid of as many bubbles in the mixing period as possible.) Add more flour or milk/water dependant on the texture of the batter. Pour some of the batter into a frying pan, spread it around to make the pancake thinner. Cook on both sides until golden brown. If you’re brave, you could even try a flip!
Onto the more exciting bit! Here you are free to get as creative as you like. Aside from your more basic toppings (sugar, lemon and golden syrup), I have compiled just a few pancake ideas to get the cogs spinning. Feel free to add/take away as many ingredients as you like to create the perfect pancake.
Inspired by the traditional snack. Slice a banana into small pieces and spread evenly over the pancake. Drizzle some caramel sauce all over and add a dollop or two of vanilla ice-cream for good measure.
Be My Valentine
Seeing as Valentine’s Day is just a day after Pancake Day, I was inspired to concoct a pancake that was in-theme. Spread a berry compote over the pancake, or instead a mixture of fresh berries, and squirt on some whipped cream to finish. If you’re particularly artistic you can even try your hand at cutting the pancake into a heart shape to bedazzle your Valentine.
A basic recipe, inspired by virtually every pancake and crepe place you’ll ever visit. Add chocolate spread evenly to the pancake, and then sprinkle some crumbled cookie all over to mix it up a bit. I personally used a few different types of cookie, but you could try adding any kind of biscuit you particularly like to make it your own.
Peel a cooking apple. Core, and cut in half. Add cinnamon, sugar, butter and currants. When cooked, pour over the pancake. Drizzle with honey and add even more cinnamon if you love it as much as I do.