The other day I was cooking with maple syrup and made pork chops with apple and maple syrup. Using maple syrup brought back memories of visiting America for the first time when I was a child.
Two things were surprising. The first was that children’s TV programs were on all night long. In the late seventies there were only three television stations in the UK. Children’s programs were limited to an hour after school. Waking up with jet lag early in the morning and turning on the telly to find cartoons was a wonder.
The other source of amazement was American breakfasts. When ordering breakfast in a coffee shop the next morning there was an abundance of choice. Eggs made different ways, sunny side up or over easy. Sausages were not sausages as we knew them. They were round rather than long and thin. Best of all you could get pancakes for breakfast.
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I tried a stack of pancakes with maple syrup. Even the pancakes were different. Much smaller and fluffy with maple syrup poured over from a separate jug and bacon served on the side. They came with whipped butter and bottomless coffee. Both concepts unheard of in England.
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American style pancakes are easy to make. Sift together flour, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the centre of the flour and add an egg and some milk. Whisk well until the batter is smooth.
Heat some butter in a frying pan. When the butter is foaming pour the batter into the pan making pancakes 5cm wide. Leave a gap between them as they will expand.
After about five minutes flip the pancake and cook the other side. You can keep them warm in the oven until they are all ready. Serve with maple syrup and the maple baked bacon.
To allow time to cook the pancakes cook the bacon in the oven. This is so easy to do. Trim the fat of each slice of bacon and put onto a baking tray. Turn the oven on to 180C and put the baking tray inside. Leave it for about fifteen minutes until it is nice and crispy. If the bacon is thick it may take a little longer.
When the bacon is ready, pour a little maple syrup over it put back in the oven for five minutes. It comes out much more crispy that fried bacon and is tastier. Serve the bacon with a stack of pancakes with maple syrup. You have a gorgeous, although fattening, breakfast.
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Yes, you can freeze American pancakes. Allow them to cool completely. Place on a sheet of baking parchment on a baking tray and place in the freezer. Allow to freeze for around six hours and then you can put them into a ziplock bag or storage container. Don’t forget to label and date the container.
You can stack the pancakes in layers on the tray. Use extra sheets of baking parchment between the layers so they don’t stick together.
The pancakes should keep in the freezer for up to two months but are usually safe to eat after that.
Reheat the pancakes in the oven or the toaster. They will taste good but will not be as fluffy and light as when they were first made.
Why not pin the recipe for later?
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Pancake day or Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent. Mardi Gras is another name for Shrove Tuesday. This is is the French for Fat Tuesday. Shrove Tuesday is the traditional day for making pancakes.
Pancakes are a great recipe to use up milk and eggs before the forty days of fasting for Lent begins.
For me, pancake day brings back memories of my mum making pancakes for us when we got in from school. We would demand pancakes at breakfast but had to wait until the afternoon. Pancakes with lemon and sugar were a real treat whilst watching TV.
There was always a debate about whether to add the lemon juice or sugar to the pancake first. In the end, it didn’t matter, they were tasty, filling and sweet. The odd misshaped pancake or frilled edge provided a talking point and made things more fun.
To make the perfect pancakes as well you need the right kitchen equipment. I have put together a list of the things that I would love in my kitchen to help make the perfect pancake.
To mix up the pancake batter you need a mixing bowl. One thing I would love in my kitchen is a large ceramic mixing bowl which would be perfect for cakes. The powder blue colour of * the Mason Cash Mixing bowl is gorgeous and it is a good size as well.
If you are making traditional English pancakes for pancake day then you need lemon juice. I use a * traditional lemon juicer for getting juice from my lemons. This works really well. If you want something a little bit more snazzy then the * Tradeau lemon squeezer is ideal. The juice goes into the bottom container keeping it pip free.
To serve the pancakes this * green Sintra platter is gorgeous. The green colour makes me think of Spring and it is a lovely contrast to the yellow pancakes. It is big enough to put several on so the family can share.
For pancakes though this * Le Creuset Stoneware Mixing Jug would be perfect. It is wide enough to mix the batter and then you can pour it into the pan easily to cook.
To make the perfect pancake you need a good non stick pan otherwise flipping the pancake is difficult. Procook is a brand I use in my kitchen. I have had my frying pan for a number of years now and has done a great job. The * ProCook Professional Anodised Induction Non-Stick Frying Pan is still non-stick, this coating wears off quite fast on other pans.
A whisk is always handy to mix the batter. This * balloon whisk is traditional and will make light work of whisking.
What are your pancake day essentials? Let me know below.
This post was first published in Feb 2016 but has recently been updated with new information.