6 Ways to Celebrate Pancake Day

This occasion always creeps past me, so this year I made sure I was prepared. Here are 6 variations on the classic – ombre chocolate, breakfast crepes, the 3 B's (beer, bacon & blueberries), the Dutch baby, okonomiyaki and Chinese spring onion pancakes.

1. Ombre Chocolate Pancakes

A heads up, this one takes quite a bit of patience. Darker layers have to be cooked slowly on a very low heat to avoid burning the chocolate. The resulting stack can feed six people, easily. Recipe adapted from Two Loves Studio.

250g dark chocolate
375g self-raising flour
800ml milk
3 eggs
Butter for frying
To serve – icing sugar, mint, blueberries & maple syrup

Slowly melt 250g dark chocolate in a saucepan over simmering water. Combine 375g self-raising flour, 600ml milk, 3 eggs and a pinch of salt to make the pancake mix. Prepare four bowls:

1.  260g mix + 130g chocolate + 150ml milk
2.  300g mix + 70g chocolate + 50ml milk
3.  340g mix + 10g chocolate
4.  the remaining pancake mix only

Make 3 pancakes from each bowl of batter. Use a very low heat for the darker layers to cook slowly. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with mint, blueberries and maple syrup.

2. Breakfast Crepes

Incredibly easy to make and rather beautiful!

70ml milk
30g plain flour
1 tbsp water
3 eggs
15g butter, melted
Vegetable oil
80g cheddar, grated
2 slices of ham

Preheat oven to 190°C. Mix 70ml milk, 30g flour, 1 tbsp water, 1 egg, 15g melted butter and a pinch of salt. Swirl a thin layer of batter to cover the base of a skillet. Cook for 1 minute on each side. Repeat for the second crepe. Fry 2 eggs (without flipping) until the bottoms set. Place a fried egg, 40g cheddar and 1 torn slice of ham on each crepe. Bake for 7 minutes until the cheese is melted and eggs are cooked. Season to taste and serve with sriracha.

3. Beer, Bacon & Blueberry Pancakes

...because why the heck not. Recipe adapted from The Craft Beer Company. For this batch, I used Black Sheep Ale from Yorkshire, which adds a bittersweet coffee-like kick to compliment the berries.

6 bacon rashers
1 egg
125g plain flour
200ml ale
100g blueberries
Maple syrup

Preheat oven to 200°C. Roast 6 rashers of bacon for 10 minutes until crispy. Combine 1 egg, 12 g plain flour and 200ml ale. Add 100g blueberries gently to the mix. Make the pancakes and serve with bacon and maple syrup.

4. Dutch Baby Pancakes

This is basically a giant sweet Yorkshire pudding... what's not to love? There's no flipping and the pancake is baked in the oven, so this is a real treat with minimal effort required.

3 eggs
160ml milk2 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
65g plain flour
Butter for frying
To serve – icing sugar, raspberries & 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 200°C with a cast iron skillet. Whisk 3 eggs for a few minutes. Add 160ml milk, 2 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Sift 65g flour, fold in gently and rest mix for 5 minutes. Melt a knob of butter onto the hot skillet, add the batter and bake for 15 minutes. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with raspberries and lemon wedges.

5. Okonomiyaki

I first tried this in Hiroshima served with fresh oysters on top. Just thinking about it makes me want to go back to Japan. Although this recipe is ingredient-heavy, it's not technically challenging or time-consuming. A good dinner party idea!

100g plain flour
100ml water
1 tsp mirin
¼ cabbage, finely diced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
90g raw prawns, roughly chopped
1 egg
Vegetable oil
2 bacon rashers
50g egg noodles

For the tonkatsu sauce:
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp oyster sauce
1 tsp sugar

Whisk together 100g flour, 100ml water and 1 tsp mirin. Add ¼ diced cabbage, 1 sliced spring onion, 90g chopped raw prawns and 1 beaten egg. Do not over-mix the batter. Heat a little oil in a skillet, and fry one side of the pancake.

Fry one side of 2 rashers of bacon. Place the bacon on the pancake (cooked side down) and flip the whole thing. Fry 50g egg noodles with 1 tbsp tonkatsu sauce, for 2 minutes. Place noodles on top of the pancake and flip over. Transfer the okonomiyaki to a plate. Swirl plenty of mayonnaise and the rest of the tonkatsu sauce on top.

6. Chinese Spring Onion Pancakes / Cong You Bing

I like mine dipped in soy sauce mixed with more spring onion and Lao Gan Ma chilli oil (my all-time favourite).

Cong You Bing 02.jpg

150g plain flour
80ml hot water
Vegetable oil
1 spring onion, finely sliced
½ tsp five spice
Chilli oil

Mix 150g flour, 80ml hot water and a pinch of salt. Knead dough for 5 minutes. Lightly brush with oil and leave dough covered with clingfilm for 30 minutes. Roll out to a disk, 5mm thick. Brush with oil and sprinkle with 1 finely diced spring onion and ½ tsp five spice. Roll the disk into a long snake, then coil into a swirl. Flatten again into a disk, 5mm thick. Use a skillet to fry both sides until brown. Serve with chilli oil mixed with soy sauce.