The right sort of pancakes, from Bill Sewell

The right sort of pancakes, from Bill Sewell

From page 48 of Bill’s Kitchen. Go to our shop to buy your copy.

These are proper thin pancakes, not the fluffy kind which I find less delightful.

For pancake fillings/toppings, bacon and maple syrup or ham and cheese are joyous, but it’s hard to beat lemon juice and sugar. With these, try melting a little knob of butter on each one after you’ve flipped it. If cheese is one of your toppings, add it after the first flip so it begins to melt whilst the pancake is still in the pan.

Over 20 years ago I bought two cast-iron, flat-bottomed pancake pans and they have served me well ever since. I only ever use them for pancakes and when I’ve finished cooking I just wipe out any burnt bits and give them a very thin coating of sunflower oil and put them away. 

Makes about 12 pancakes using a 20cm diameter pan.

125g plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg
330ml milk

Sunflower oil for frying

Choice of toppings
streaky bacon, cooked
smoked ham, thinly sliced
Gruyère or cheddar cheese, grated
lemon wedges
caster sugar
maple syrup
good jam

Put all the batter ingredients in a large jug and whizz with a stick blender for 30 seconds until you have a smooth batter about the thickness of single cream. Leave to stand for half an hour.

Prepare your toppings before you start to cook the pancakes. Fry the bacon and keep it warm. Grate the cheese and have sliced ham ready to use. Have wedges of lemon ready and a bowl of sugar to go with it. Open a pot of blackcurrant jam.

When your toppings are ready, smear a little sunflower oil all over the bottom of your pancake pan with kitchen paper and heat it until it’s very hot, so that a bit of batter dropped in starts to sizzle straight away. Put in a ladleful (I use about 60ml per pancake) and swirl it around quickly so that it covers the whole of the base of the pan. Let it cook for 30 seconds to a minute and then use a metal palette knife to ease it away from the pan all around the edge – you’ll be able to see if it’s cooked on the first side or not. When it’s ready flip it over – I use a palette knife to do this but you may wish to toss it in the air – and cook very briefly on the other side until just beginning to brown. Serve immediately, with your toppings, or stack the pancakes in a warm place until you’re ready to eat.

Of course the other thing that goes beautifully with bacon and maple syrup is eggy bread. Just soak a thickish piece of bread in an egg lightly beaten with a splash of milk and then fry it in a mixture of butter and sunflower oil until golden brown on both sides.