This morning I made Blueberry Pancakes because I had a large punnet of blueberries in my freezer that I’d had earmarked for using in muffins one day, but I figured I might try them in a stack of pancakes instead. I bought the blueberries at a brilliant reduced price from Marks and Spencer and although I had no immediate use for them I thought I’d freeze them to use another day. (The freezing process makes no difference to the taste of the berries whatsoever and is a good, handy way to make sure I have nice fruit at hand to add to recipes.)
Sometimes on a Sunday morning it’s nice to push the boat out and make something for breakfast that’s a bit more time consuming than usual, but well worth it in terms of taste. For me, American pancakes fall into that category. I could eat pancakes any time of the day, any day of the week, but they are a bit of a faff-on to make from scratch because of the time it takes to cook them. However, these American pancakes take no time at all thanks to being able to chuck all of the ingredients into a jug and whisk them together before simply frying them.
When I was a kid I loved pancake day because it was a day in which you were legitimately allowed to eat dessert for dinner. Dad was always the designated pancake maker and, apart from the first one which is always a dud anyway, they were consistently outstanding. We’d wait patiently (or impatiently) to receive each individually made pancake from the frying pan and eat them piping hot, sprinkled with Jif lemon juice and drizzled with a generous coating of Tate and Lyle’s golden syrup. Delicious!
Although nowadays my adult palate baulks at the idea of solely eating sweet pancakes for dinner on Shrove Tuesday, I do insist on following tradition and I tend to make them after a small sensible dinner as a tasty dessert. The topping choices seem endless in today’s day and age, but the first pancake on my plate is always decorated with lemon juice and golden syrup. Any other topping just seems out of place until I’ve had my citrus-laden, tart, but sweet one.
I was a bit apprehensive about trying to create a recipe for vegan pancakes because I was unsure whether an eggless, milk-free pancake mix would yield the same results as a standard pancake mix would, but I have to say, vegan pancakes taste exactly the same as ‘normal’ pancakes. I’ve never liked really thick, dense pancakes (unless they’re fluffy little Scotch pancakes) and have always preferred a thin, crispy crêpe. Thankfully, this vegan pancake recipe makes lovely light crêpes that have just the right tasty crispiness to fold around your chosen fillings.
On the subject of pancake fillings, the list of possibilities is endless: lemon juice; golden syrup; maple syrup; honey; nuts; whipped cream or coconut cream; melted chocolate; or fresh fruit. Another option is to leave the sugar out of the mix which would allow you to use the crêpes with savoury fillings, such as cream cheese (or vegan alternatives), cooked meats, grated cheddar, crispy bacon, roasted vegetables, or sundried tomatoes and pesto.
Whether you want to make pancakes to celebrate Shrove Tuesday or simply to worship the joy that is the humble pancake, give these a go. You won’t be disappointed.
Ingredients for the vegan pancakes:
200g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F Plain Flour)
2 tbsps of sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
400ml of rice milk (or normal milk)
2 tbsps of sunflower oil (or 1 egg, if non-vegan) (plus more oil for frying)
Toppings can include: Lemon juice; Golden Syrup; Maple syrup; Jam; fresh fruit; Nutella (or vegan alt.); Nuts, etc.
Put all of your pancake ingredients (without the toppings, obviously!) in a jug and whisk together until it is smooth.
Put a non-stick pancake pan or frying pan on a medium heat with a little sunflower oil (around 1 tsp).
Once the oil is hot, slowly pour some of the pancake mix into the centre of the pancake pan, tilting the pan as you pour so the mixture spreads into a thin disc. (They don’t have to be perfect, so don’t stress if they’re weird shapes. Trust me, they’ll still taste amazing.)
Let the pancake cook on one side until it’s crispy and golden brown when you lift the edge up with a fish slice.
Flip the pancake over and cook the other side until it’s also crisp and brown.
Remove from the pancake pan and place on a baking tray. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven until you’re ready to serve them and carry on making more until all of the mix is used up.
Adorn your pancakes with your chosen toppings and serve.
Every year at the height of summer my village holds a street fair in which the main street is lined with stalls which groan under the weight of books, bric-a-brac and baking. Although everyone flits around the stalls looking for bargains and purchasing junk they’ll pay an exorbitant price for, but will never actually use, they all end up at the Scottish Women’s Rural Institute table.
I’m going to let you into a little secret here, a secret which these women covet and rarely acknowledge to outsiders, but I know to be true. They have magical powers. Most of these women are elderly and hold life-long secrets to the best home baking. However, they also have the uncanny ability to produce the lightest, airy, pillowy soft, vanilla-scented perfect little rounds of scotch pancake using a portable camping stove on top of a rickety church hall table in the middle of Main Street on a hot summer’s day.
Aside from their coven’s unearthly good scotch pancake-making abilities, they also have the skill to enchant their stall to ensure that on this sunny day of festivity, no wasp, fly or honey bee will bother them. Nor will they bother the jars of homemade preserves the women concocted the previous autumn from the bounty of wild brambles which creep along the hedgerows and are brought along on street fair day to pour atop the little enchanted scotch pancakes they sell to their customers for a small fee.
It’s possible my imagination has embellished the seemingly magical skills of these women. It’s not possible however, that I’ve in any way embellished the tastiness of their scotch pancakes. And just in case I’m right about the true supernatural nature of the women who are members of the Women’s Rural, you won’t catch me being disparaging about them within their earshot. I’d also guarantee that, judging from the wicked little twinkle in Mary Berry’s eye whenever I see her on TV, she’s bound to be a member of her own coven of baking witches. The sheer otherworldly tastiness of Mary Berry’s scotch pancakes also assures me that my suspicions regarding her otherworldly baking abilities are correct.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m late for a meeting with a group of women you really wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of and I’ve still got some chores to do before I leave. After all, my broomstick’s not going to sweep the floor itself, is it?
300g gluten-free self-raising flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
1½ tsps. baking powder
200ml lactose-free milk (I used rice milk)
2 tbsps. vegetable oil
Sieve your dry ingredients into a large jug and then add the egg and milk. Whisk well until a thick batter is created. (You may need to add a little bit more milk if the consistency isn’t what you think it should be.)
Put a griddle pan or a large frying pan on a low to medium heat and then add a very small amount of butter.
Once the butter is melted pour a few tbsps. of batter onto the griddle, but try to pour it on one spot so you get a perfect circle of batter. If you’ve got a large enough griddle you can pour more pancakes to cook at the same time, but if not then just cook them one by one.
Let your pancake cook for a while. When bubbles begin to appear on the top of the pancakes you can flip them over to cook the other side.
When your pancakes are light golden brown and springy to the touch they’re ready.
Spread with generous quantities of real butter and jam and enjoy while still slightly warm.