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A tale of two pancakes

Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday – call it what you will, but today marks a day of pancake flipping for breakfast, lunch and supper. While some choose not to join in the festivities, we certainly will be, so below we share with you a classic, failsafe recipe, alongside a slightly healthier version, plus a few helpful tips and all-time favourite toppings.

Happy flipping.

What makes the perfect pancake?

A stack of American-style fluffy pancakes laden with maple syrup is one way to do Pancake Day (although it’s not the path that we prefer to tread). At the other end of the scale lies wonderfully fine French crêpes served with a squeeze of fresh lemon and tempered by just a dusting of something sweet. But the perfect pancake? We think it’s found somewhere between the two – crispy at the edges with a modicum of fluffiness in the middle.

The lovely thing about Pancake Day though is that it’s one of the occasions where family traditions – old and recently dreamed up – come to the fore.

At Neptune, there are two base recipes that we prefer to follow – one classic, the other a slightly healthier alternative. And then of course there are the toppings, and those, along with the flipping, is where the fun really begins...

The classic

  • 200ml whole milk
  • 75ml water
  • 110g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 50g unsalted butter, for frying
  • Pinch of salt

The alternative

  • 300ml almond or soy milk
  • 200g spelt flour, sifted
  • 1 mashed ripe banana
  • Coconut oil, for frying
  • Pinch of salt

A tip or two

  • Sifting the flour really does make a difference so don’t be tempted to skip this step.
  • You need your frying pan to be hot – but not so hot that the butter starts to burn. Go for a medium heat and test a little bit of the batter first to see if it’s hot enough. Turn it up gradually if need be and just keep a close eye that the butter doesn’t begin to brown.
  • A good trick is to let the batter rest beforehand, then re-whisk – leaving it overnight is fine, too.
  • Remember, the first pancake of a batch is never the best. Don’t lose heart – they get progressively better as the pan warms up and your confidence grows.

Top it off

  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to a spelt flour batter – it’s a great combination.
  • Serve either recipe with fresh raspberries, a dollop of Greek or coconut yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
  • For a savoury variation, add cubes of pre-roasted sweet potato or butternut squash to the batter. Add chopped (fresh) coriander and a pinch of cumin to bring out the flavours.
  • And don’t feel like you have to stray from the toppings that we all know and love. Experimentation is lots of fun, but sugar and lemon will forever be a favourite of ours, and so we’ll always be sure to have at least one.

The best combinations are often unique to you – or invented on the spur of the moment. After all, the origins of Shrove Tuesday were as a way to use up the household’s more indulgent foods before the fasting days of Lent, mixing in whatever was to hand. So raid your pantry and consider all of your refrigerator options and do the unexpected…