Tag Archives: pancakes

The trouble with crumpets…

I’m British ergo I love me a crumpet. Delicious, bubbly, yeasty crumpety goodness, covered in butter and jam and with a cup of earl grey. What’s not to love?

I went to visit friends in France a few weeks ago – and I was challenged to make crumpets (the French do not love crumpets and my British mates were missing them). Now, I’d never made them before, but hell, I love me a challenge so off I went to my best friend Google who gave me a Paul Hollywood recipe.

We found most of the ingredients in Sue’s cupboard and subbed in some others and started the batter which was supposed to rest for a couple of hours. So we tested it after a couple of hours and whilst they tasted crumpet-y, they did not have that well known bubble top. So we left it another couple of hours. Still no bubbles. We finished the batter the following morning. Still no bubbles.

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See? Bubbles when in the pan…

We did however, see Hagrid in one of the crumpet tops, so any Harry Potter fiends out there, hit me up for your next Potter pilgrimage location.

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Hallelujah/Hagrid

So I’ve been wondering what went wrong (I blame the French ingredients. Obviously. Never my fault) and this weekend, we had a friend over for brunch so I decided to make them again. On my fancy new cooker.

This time, Jamie Oliver was my go-to recipe (thanks Google, I don’t know what I’d do without you). The batter was supposed to rest for an hour and then you make a call based on the bubbles in it. There were NO bubbles in my batter. Well, some but not crumpet levels of bubbles.

So I left it overnight and there were a few more bubbles in it and I cooked it and there were bubbles in the middle but again, there were no bubbles on top.

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Everyone was terribly polite about them and they looked more like crumpets than my french attempt (and tasted just like crumpets) but I need help, bakers, what am I doing wrong?  I think I’m turning them when they’re too wet, needs to be a low temperature for a long time so it’s basically dry on top and you’re just colouring the bubbles?

(I am very sorry for overusing the word ‘bubble’ and ‘crumpet’ but there are very few synonyms for them).

So no recipe yet, I’ll be remaking them again (third time’s a charm?) and if those actually look like  proper crumpet, I might yet post it. But in the interim, HELP ME GET MY CRUMPETS TO BUBBLE. (thanks)

Here’s a picture of the plate of carbs I served for that brunch. Not all bad. Eclairs and pancakes saved the day (PS remind me to tell you about the first batch of eclairs I made that my mum ruined some other time…)

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Recipe: Kale, Asparagus and parma ham pancakes

I’ve realised I’ve a tendency to post recipes after the event which probably isn’t that helpful. So festive treats after Christmas and Valentine’s Day three days late. In keeping with that trend, here’s what I made on Shrove Tuesday. Which is known as Pancake Day in the UK so guess what we ate?

My niece and nephew came over at lunchtime as it’s half term and we decided to make big fat fluffy American style pancakes, drowned in maple syrup. Because they’re 10 and 5, a plain pancake wasn’t nearly good enough so they attacked my cupboard of weird things I’ve used to decorate cakes with in the past and decided that we should make half with neon sugar and the other half with chocolate chips. What they hadn’t realised is a) mixing neon sugar into the mix would make the pancakes a gorgeous sludgy green colour and b) the chocolate chips were 70% cocoa solids. So they put neon sugar on top of their maple syrup to make them look pretty and my nephew left half of his chocolate chip pancake because even with syrup, the taste of the chocolate was not nearly fun enough. You live n learn, eh? It’s OK, I took them to Shaketastic the next day for brightly coloured milkshakes so all is forgiven.

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After that much fat pancake-ness at lunch, I decided that it made much more sense to be a little bit more sophisticated for dinner with the wino. My adult pancakes (which sounds decidedly filthy) recipe is below. Really quite delicious – and made far too much so we have stuffed pancakes (also wrong) in our freezer for another day.

 Parma Ham, Kale and Asparagus pancakes

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For the crepes (makes about 8 crepes)

  • 30g butter, melted and cooled a little
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 325ml milk

Whisk together the milk and the egg then pour it into a well in the flour. Stir till smooth, then add the butter. I then pour this back into the measuring jug as it’s easier to make the pancakes. Heat a nonstick frying pan (whatever size you’ve got), pour in a couple of tablespoons worth of batter and swirl the pan so you get thin layer across the bottom. Check the bottom to see when it’s cooked by lifting an edge with a palette knife then flip (or just turn them with the palette knife if you’re not feeling fancy). Once both sides are cooked (literally 30 seconds per side), remove and repeat till the batter is finished.

For the filling

White sauce

  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter over a medium heat then add the flour and cook through for 2 mins. Remove from the heat then add the milk, slowly, whisking all the while to ensure no lumps remain. Once you’ve added all the milk and it’s silky smooth (mine wasn’t) return to the heat and bring up to the boil, still stirring. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, till the sauce has thickened up. Turn off the heat, add the salt and pepper (don’t add too much though as the filling is quite salty) and leave to one side. At this point, preheat your oven to about 170C.

The filling

  • 300g kale, thick stalks removed and finely chopped
  • 6 asparagus spears (I should really start measuring asparagus by weight but this is so much easier), sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 4 x slices of Parma ham

Blanch the kale for a couple of minutes in boiling water to soften its flavour. I also blanched the asparagus – accidentally – but it helped cut down on the cooking time and didn’t ruin the flavour so feel free to follow my mistake. Drain and leave to one side. In a frying pan, heat a tsp of olive oil and add the garlic – don’t let it brown so add a pinch of salt to it.

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Add the vegetables and Parma ham and lightly fry it all together for 3-4 minutes. Once your vegetables are cooked, add them to the white sauce with 50g of blue cheese and stir it all together so you have a big unctuous mess of vegetables and sauce.

Now grease a baking tin well. Take one pancake and spoon a small amount (say 1.5 tbsp) of the filling onto it, not getting too close to the edges. Fold in the short edges then roll the pancake around the filling so you’ve got a neat package of pancake stuffed with vegetables. Repeat this process until all your filling is used up. This amount of filling was right for six of the pancakes. I also had some slices of Parma ham left over so put those into the pancakes too, under the filling.

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Arrange the stuffed rolled pancakes into the baking tin and sprinkle over 50g of parmesan. Bake for 15 minutes until the parmesan is golden and crispy.

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Remove from the pan and eat whilst hot with a green salad (which we didn’t have but I’d imagine it’ll help to cut through the white sauce and the earlier lardy pancakes we ate.)

If I do say so myself, they were delicious (although I probably could have cooked the pancakes a few seconds longer as they looked quite pale and I’d maybe reconsider the garlic as with the Stilton it was all quite a party in my mouth for days afterwards) and definitely something I’ll be making again for an easy midweek supper, even if it’s not pancake day. However, right now, I think I’m going to give up pancakes for Lent as I’ve definitely overindulged.

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