With any luck you will have a little time today to whip up a few pancakes – possibly one of the simplest of our favourite dishes (exuberant attempts stuck to the ceiling aside). But one lady who has a bit of a knack for reinventing the classics is New Zealand born Anna Hansen MBE, the talent behind London Restaurant, The Modern Pantry who told us what it is that makes the perfect pancake!
What inspires your cooking?
Talking to people about the foods they love, meandering around markets discovering new ingredients and the places I travel too be it Portugal or Sri Lanka.
What do you always have in the pantry at home?
For pancakes? Maple syrup, pomegranate molasses and vanilla sugar.
What is the key to the perfect pancake?
Whether cooking fluffy, thick pancakes or lacy thin crepes the pan must be properly buttered and the temperature must be just right.
What’s your favourite pancake topping?
Even though I serve a variety of exotic pancakes and toppings at The Modern Pantry, my favourite would have to be bacon and maple syrup or lemon and sugar … the classic combos!
Now it’s your turn …
Ricotta, Sweetcorn and Coriander Pancakes with Avocado and Lime Pickle Puree … Serves Six
These pancakes are supremely light and fluffy and wonderful served with the avocado and lime pickle puree, a genius invention from one of my chefs, Lizzy Stables. They can also be served simply with soured cream and some chunks of avocado tossed with lime juice and a sprinkling of Aleppo or Urfa chilli flakes. The batter freezes very well for up to a month so I suggest folding through a little more ricotta after defrosting.
Ingredients for the pancakes:
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp table salt
25g caster sugar
4 large eggs, separated
65g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for frying
375g ricotta cheese
200g fresh corn kernels (or canned or frozen corn)
1 green chilli, finely chopped
A bunch of coriander, chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
Ingredients for the pickle puree:
3 ripe avocados
200g good-quality bought lime pickle
Maldon slat or other flaky sea salt
– Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter and mix this into the dry ingredients. Carefully fold in the ricotta, being careful not to break it up too much, along with the corn, chilli, coriander and spring onions. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites to slightly firmer than soft peaks and then fold them through the batter in three batches.
– Heat a little butter in an ovenproof frying pan and dollop spoonfuls of the batter into it. Put the pan into an oven preheated to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and cook for 4 minutes or so, then remove and flip the pancakes. Return to the oven for 4 minutes or until the pancakes are cooked through and feel firm to the touch. Set aside somewhere warm while you cook the rest.
– To make the pickle puree, peel and stone the avocados, cut them into chunks and puree in a food processor with the lime pickle. Check the seasoning.
– Serve the pancakes warm with the avocado and lime pickle puree and some coriander leaves to garnish.
Goats’ Curd Pancakes With Pomegranate Molasses Roast Grapes … Serves Six
These pancakes are a sweeter version of the ricotta, sweetcorn and
coriander pancakes and are equally delicious. You could substitute ordinary curd cheese or ricotta for the goats’ curd.
One quantity of the pancake batter from previous recipe, substituting goats’ curd for the ricotta and omitting the corn, chilli, coriander and spring onions
Butter for frying
400ml crème fraiche
Icing sugar, for dusting
– Put the grapes in a roasting tin just large enough to hold them in a single layer. Sprinkle over the sugar, pomegranate molasses and verjus and roast in an oven preheated to 140C/Gas Mark 1 for 15-20 minutes. The grapes should be just beginning to collapse in on themselves. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in their juices.
– Cook the pancakes as described before and serve with the roast grapes, crème fraiche and a dusting of icing sugar.
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