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hannahsummers
13th February 2024

Pancake day: Two recipes to enjoy on February 13

February 13 is the traditional Pancake Day, so here are two recipes and some inspiration for making and enjoying some pancakes, either with your housemates, friends or on your own
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Pancake day: Two recipes to enjoy on February 13
Photo: Der Robert @Flickr

February 13 is pancake day, and for some it is the most anticipated holiday of the year – no? Just me? Every year, I attempt to eat as many pancakes as I can in one day, often making sure they constitute all three meals of the day, and I would definitely recommend trying the same.

Becoming an adult is arguably realising just how tedious it is coming up with and preparing three different, nutritious meals every day. Therefore, this one day can act as a break from that never-ending cycle, where the answer is always pancakes.

Pancakes are one of the amazingly adaptable foods enjoyed all over the world; thick, thin, sweet, savoury, big, small – they are always comforting and always allow huge amounts of flavour through their infinite topping possibilities. As a result, they are also greatly debated, with everyone having a different meal in mind when imagining pancakes. I cannot begin to encompass all of these possible recipes and traditions in this one article, so I won’t even try. Instead, here are two recipes; both are very versatile and can carry any preferred topping, sweet or savoury.

Crepes

The first pancake recipe is for crepes (palačinke are the central European and Balkan version I grew up with so this recipe is more inspired by these, to prevent any dispute around the minute differences between the two). These are the easiest and most versatile form of pancake I have ever made, requiring only three ingredients: eggs, milk, and flour. A whisk – either electric or a simple metal hand-held one – would come in useful here. This recipe can, however, be made with just a fork and some patience.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Flour

As this is a family recipe, the amounts of each ingredient is very arbitrary and honestly it is best just to follow common sense.

  1. Whisk the eggs and milk together, and then add in the flour. A very loose suggestion is one cup of flour and milk to every two eggs, specifically using imprecise measurements as I’m assuming that cooking scales aren’t found in most student houses. Two eggs can make around seven pancakes, so multiply this as you see fit. The final texture should be relatively runny and light in colour, and this mixture can sit in the fridge for a day if needed.
  2. When you are ready to cook the pancakes, add a cup of water to the mixture and mix to thin it out. The amount of water is not too important and often I will add extra towards the end of the process if I want to try and make a few more with the remaining mixture, though the more water you add the thinner the pancake will turn out.
  3. To cook, put a teaspoon of sunflower oil in a frying pan and wait for it to heat up. Pour in roughly one ladle of the mixture and move the pan around until the mixture covers the whole area evenly. Leave on the heat until the edges of the pancake start to brown, and then flip, with as much flair as your confidence will allow.
Crepes with raspberry jam and pistachio or apricot jam and walnuts. Photo: Hannah Summers @ The Mancunion

These classic pancakes can even be veganised: just replace the eggs with cornflour and the milk with a plant-based alternative.

For these pancakes, any range of toppings would be great. My go-tos are jam, any kind, or crushed walnuts with sugar or Nutella. For a slightly more sophisticated selection, I would suggest banana, caramel and crushed biscuits, or plum jam and mascarpone cream. Pesto, mushrooms, spinach,. and ricotta, or a classic ham and cheese would work great for any of you without a sweet tooth.

Ricotta hotcakes

For those of you who prefer smaller, thicker pancakes and are fans of brunch, I would suggest ricotta hotcakes. These fluffy pancakes receive their texture and height from the soft ricotta and whisked egg whites, a process which does require a proper whisk but is still surprisingly quick.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs
  • Ricotta
  • Milk
  • Flour
  • Baking powder
  1. For five hotcakes, mix two egg yolks with around 2/3 of a pack of ricotta in a bowl, adding three tablespoons and then around one cup of flour and a teaspoon of baking powder to mix.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the remaining egg whites and then gently fold these into the ricotta-flour mixture, using a spoon to prevent the egg whites from deflating.
  3. To cook, melt a fair chunk of butter in a frying pan and then add generous spoonfuls of the mixture to the pan, no more than two at a time. Flip these after a couple of minutes and they should be golden brown, repeating with two more minutes on the other side. These should be enjoyed warm and should result in a fluffy and tasty base for a creative combination of toppings.

These pancakes have a relatively neutral flavour, so can be enjoyed with any sweet or savoury toppings. For these, I would particularly recommend plum jam and mascarpone cream, or pomegranate seeds, greek yogurt and honey.

Ricotta hotcakes with honey and pomegranate seeds. Photo: Hannah Summers @ The Mancunion. 

These are just two of many different pancakes options for Tuesday’s celebrations. A quick Google search will reveal a huge variety of pancake shapes and sizes internationally, involving different ingredients with varying cooking methods. They all, however, share the same enjoyment and comfort that has me looking forward to this day all year long.


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