Pancakes. There’s a fine line between heaven and hell with these magnificent battered beasts.
You either get them right. Or you get them horribly, horribly wrong. There’s really no scope for any happy medium.
So to try and help you avoid any disappointment this Pancake Day, our resident expert, food editor Gregor McMaster, has revealed the best ways avoid the common pancake problems the world keeps making. Follow our guide and you won't end up with a flipping disaster.
How to avoid pancakes that look more like scrambled eggs
We’ve all been there. You promise everyone stacks of perfect, circular pancakes and what you actually serve up looks more like a big pile of rubbery beige scrambled eggs. Happy Pancake Day!
Gregor says: Don't be tempted to play around with the pancakes in the pan, as this can cause them to break up. Heat is key, make sure you keep to a consistent medium heat throughout. And if you're not flipping them, make sure you use the right tool to turn - a fish slice is suitable - and only turn once if possible. Non-stick pans work best.
How to avoid 'egg on your face' pancakes
The pressure is on and your hands start to shake. You either do the big toss or end up with one big, burnt pancake. Facing this life or death decision - and normally with an audience of curious onlookers willing for you to get it wrong - you grasp the pan in both hands and flip your batter into the air… *sighs and fetches broom*
Gregor says: Confidence is king - if you hesitate, it can cause you to fumble. Cook the pancake until the bubbles are just bursting and the pancake moves in the pan when shaken. In a similar way to tossing a stir fry, count 1,2,3 and flick your wrist to flip the pancake.
How to avoid 'stuck on the pan' pancakes
There’s only one thing worse than air bound pancakes that end up on the floor/in your face/clinging to the ceiling. And that’s ones that don’t even manage to leave the pan because they are basically stuck like a clingy limpet to your frying pan. Pathetic.
Gregor says: Use a good quality non stick pan and apply some oil to the pan with a sheet of scrunched up kitchen paper. Spread it all around the pan and repeat after each batch.
How to avoid burnt pancakes
When people describe the perfect pancake, they ALWAYS use the word ‘golden’. The adjectives: ‘burnt’, ‘black’, ‘crispy’ and ‘fire-damaged’ are very rarely bandied around when describing a triumphant moment in pancake history.
Gregor says: Getting the correct heat is vital. It needs to be hot enough to avoid the fat soaking into the pancakes, but not too hot so it burns. You are aiming for a pancake that is crispy and evenly cooked on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. If you start off too high the pancakes will be raw in the middle and burnt on the outside.
Start with a medium heat, let the pan warm up before cooking. Cook in batches and allow the pan to come up to temperature before adding more batter. Having a good quality non-stick pan also makes a great difference. If you use a cheap pan it will have a thin base making it easier to burn your pancakes.