The magic number
Kathie Auton - 12 February 2013
There are very few things as magically alchemical as the creation of pancakes. The extraordinary metamorphosis of flour, eggs and milk into something so delicious. The truest and simplest example of the amazing transformative power of cooking.
Pancakes are so good. So good, in fact, that I fully understand the religious link. For many people, Shrove Tuesday is a religious day that marks the beginning of lent, but in my household it’s just Pancake Day and is a celebration of the sheer cunningness of cooking.
The coming-together of three kitchen staples – eggs, flour and milk – and the simplest of cooking methods are what appeals to me about pancakes. It is the essence of cookery and a great example of something being greater than the sum of its ingredients. AND, because there are only three ingredients, you could consider making your pancakes organic this year. There are many good reasons for this, not least the animal welfare aspects, but also from an educational point of view, having only three ingredients gives you an ideal opportunity to talk about where those three ingredients come from.
And what better first dish to get your kids to cook. The three ingredients, a bit of beating and minimal cooking time, pancakes have to be one of the best ways to get children hooked on cooking.
So here’s a recipe for you. I’ve given the quantities for one egg so you can easily scale it up to match the pancake demands being made of you. I’ve also left out any weighing, so it’s easier for a child to do.
Equipment-wise, can I suggest you use a non-stick frying pan and brush it with butter using a silicone brush between each pancake. I also use an ice-cream scoop to pour my batter into the pan because it’s less messy and you get nice even sized pancakes. The one-egg quantity makes about 8 pancakes.
The three magic ingredients:
- 1 organic egg
- ½ American cup or 4 tbsp plain organic flour
- ¼ pint organic milk + ¼ water (or ½ pint milk)
Mix all the ingredients together until the lumps have gone. If you’re doing it, you can mix carefully and add the liquid gradually, but if your child it doing it, just give it a good mix in a big bowl, it’ll be fine!
- Cook on a high heat
- Put the frying pan on a high heat and brush with a little bit of butter or oil.
- Pour an ice-cream scoop of batter into the middle of the pan then lift the pan off the heat and tip to make the pancake shape.
- Cook on high until it’s just stating to colour underneath.
- Give the pan a sharp bang on the hob, then a shake to release the pancake – and flip it!
- Take the pan off the heat, brush again and pour in the next scoop of batter. Swirl it round before butting back on the high heat.
- If you do this, you can cook them all without changing the heat setting or having to use a spatula to turn them!
If your kids aren’t old enough to help with the cooking bit, given them a spare pan and a paper or cloth ‘pancake’ to flip!