With the colder weather making us hungrier a pile of warm pancakes is the perfect way for a simple, hearty meal - and to feed the hordes.
A pancake batter can easily be kept in the fridge for a couple of hours or even over night - then all you have to do is cook them, add ingredients and eat.
And guaranteed, whenever a plate of pancakes lands on the table and they are enjoyed by all ages - and the plate always returns to the kitchen empty.
Tips for crepes:
- Pancake batter should be prepared in advance so it can settle before use
- Wheat or buckwheat flour may be used and either milk or water to mix
- If beer is used to mix the batter, it rises slightly
- The batter must have a pouring consistency
- Using a proper crepe pan, that has a very low outer rim, helps in the cooking and flipping. You should be able to find these at any good kitchen shop
- Pancakes can be cooked ahead of time and stacked, under foil, in the oven on a very low temperature. If you're cooking on demand, you may find consumption is quicker than the speed of cooking
- Crepes can be served as savoury or sweet
Mix 500g (4 1/2 cups) sifted flour with 5-6 beaten eggs and a large pinch of salt. Then gradually add 1 litre (4 1/2 cups) of milk, or, for lighter pancakes, 1/2 litre of milk and 1/2 litre of water.
The batter may also be made with equal quantities of beer and milk.
Finally add 3 tablespoons of oil (sunflower, peanut or olive). Leave the batter to stand for 2 hours.
If needed, add a little water to dilute before cooking.
Add a little butter or spray oil on the hot pan and pour about 1/2 cup of mixture in the middle of the pan, and then turn it to spread the mixture so it's about 3mm thick and reaches the edge of your pan.
Cook for about 40 seconds or until it's golden brown on the underside, then flip it to the other side - use a spatula, or even your fingers, or just flip it in the air.
Savoury fillings usually start with a simple bechamel in which other flavours can be added. Tasty options include ham, mushroom, Roquefort, seafood and spinach with added grated cheese.
Spread a little filling length ways in each crepe. Roll up and place several lined up in an oven proof dish and heat in the oven for 15 minutes.
Sweet options are limitless, the most simple but delicious being lemon and sugar - rolled up and eaten immediately.
But jam or Nutella are great, too. Sliced banana's with brown sugar is delicious. Sliced apple that has been lightly browned in a pan with sugar is fantastic - or use peaches and nectarines when in season.
For sweet crepes, follow the above recipe, but also add 1 tablespoon of vanilla-flavoured sugar or a teaspoon of vanilla essence with a tablespoon of caster sugar.
HOW TO DRESS UP A PANCAKE
Here are just some of the ways to jazz up a pancake but the options are endless.
- Maple syrup
- Icing sugar
- Whipped cream
- Fruit compote
- Lemon curd
- Rum-glazed bananas
- Chopped peaches
- Sugar and lemon
- Sugar and cinnamon
- Salmon and caviar
- Tomato salsa
- Hoisin sauce and green onions
- Ham and cheese
- Chicken in a white sauce