Pancakes - flipped, stacked, oozing with maple syrup or dripping lemon-juice-and-sugar, they're fabulous. Cheese is a brilliant topping for them too, so here's a few curdy recipes to inspire your pancake day feast...
The basic pancake first of all:
I love buckwheat pancakes - I was first introduced to them by a chef cooking up the first recipe on this list, who insisted that no, we absolutely could not use just plain flour for his galettes. Boy, am I glad he put his foot down. Buckwheat (actually a member of the rhubarb family and not a grain at all) brings a marvelously nutty flavour to the pancake. This recipe uses half plain and half Buckwheat flour, but feel free to tweak the ratio to your taste.
Makes 15 - 18
85g buckwheat flour
85g plain flour
45g melted butter, plus a little more for cooking
400 - 450ml whole milk
Blend or whisk the flours, melted butter, eggs, salt and half the milk until smooth, then mix in the rest of the milk until the batter is the consistency of thick cream. Leave the batter to rest - overnight in the fridge is best, but give it at least a couple of hours.
Brush your hot pan with melted butter then pour in a ladle of batter, tilting the pan as you do to get a thin, even pancake. Cook until the top has lost it's shine - just a couple of minutes - then flip the pancake to cook the other side for a minute. Layer the cooked pancakes on a plate with greaseproof paper and, if using the pancakes straight away, keep in a very low oven to stay warm. (They'll keep for up to 2 days in the fridge, so you can make ahead for some of the recipes.)
A very classic French bistro recipe, serve with a peppery winter salad.
1 buckwheat pancake
1 slice ham
50g grated schlossberger
Preheat oven to gas 4/180c/160c fan.
Spread the middle of each pancake with a thin smear of dijon mustard, sit the ham on top then the grated cheese on top of that. Fold the edges of the pancake up to make a square parcel with an open middle and make a well in the cheese. Carefully transfer the folded pancakes to a lined baking tray and crack an egg into the middle of each one. Season well then bake for 10 minutes, or until the egg is cooked to your liking.
Cheesey Crispy Pancakes
A homemade twist on the old ready meal staple, stuffed with plenty of cheese to come oozing out of the crispy crust.
8 buckwheat pancakes
100g plain flour
600ml whole milk
120g ogle shield, grated
120g keen's extra mature cheddar, grated
60g dorset red smoked, grated (optional)
50g cirone, grated
2 slices day old bread
1 egg, beaten
Make a bechemal sauce by melting the butter and flour, stirring until they begin to darken and smell biscuity. Remove from the heat and slowly add in the milk, mixing well until smooth each time. Once all the milk is fully incorporated, return to a low heat, stirring frequently until the sauce thickens. Add the ogle shield, cheddar and dorset red (if using) with the cayenne, stirring until melted. It should now be thick enough to dollop into the middle of each pancake. Set aside to cool a little.
Heat the oven to gas 6/200c/180c fan
In a blender, blitz the bread and grated cirone to fine breadcrumbs.
Spoon a mound of the bechemal into the middle of each pancake, brush the edges with beaten egg and fold over, pressing well to seal. Brush the top of each one with more egg, then cover well with the breadcrumb mix.
Bake for around 30 minutes, until the tops are crispy and the filling is utterly gooey.
Pear, blue cheese and chocolate
The left-field one - blue cheese goes fabulously well with both pears and dark chocolate, so a combination of the three is a definite winner.
Simply warm tinned pears with their juice, spread on top of a fresh pancake and crumble over your favourite blue. Grate over dark chocolate and, if you like, top with broken walnuts.