Mornings can be a bit difficult at this time of year, especially if you work different shifts or random hours. There are those days when the alarm goes off (several times, because you hit snooze like you’re playing a drum solo) & you lurch more than launch your body from it’s snuggly, fluffy duvet. We’ve all been there – you really can’t be bothered with much more than a cup of coffee & a slice of toast for breakfast, the cat is curled up in your spot on the sofa & you’d rather watch Spongebob than the news (actually, I always watch cartoons in the morning – the news can be rather depressing, so it’s much better to start the day with a smile!).
You don’t need me to tell you that breakfasts are important – they kick-start your day & give you an energy boost before you boot up your laptop. Most days, I’m up at 5.30am (fyi, it’s dark) & sometimes I don’t feel like eating much or cooking anything (especially when it’s cold & soggy outside!). As I’m a huge fan of preparing in advance, there are usually a few of my apricot oat bars in a tub or my Husband’s homemade croissants in the freezer (they warm up lovely in the oven), so I don’t have to do much apart from put them on a plate. Then there are perfectly plump pancakes. I’m not talking about the delicately thin, elegant crêpes we usually eat on Pancake Day though. Breakfast pancakes are duvet-like delicacies – substantially thick, warming & with a fluffy filling. What they shouldn’t be is fiddly, time-consuming & boring! Now I’m not saying you need to be standing around the stove, flipping fluffy pancakes for all you’re worth at stupid o’clock (as if I would suggest such a thing!). The best way to get your pancake fix without the faff is to make a batch in advance & keep some ready made in the fridge (or freezer if you really want to be organised).
These plump little pillows take minutes to prepare & seconds to cook. You can make some at the weekend & stash them in the fridge (they last for a few days in an airtight container), then warm them through in the toaster when you need one or three. Here’s how to get your fluffy fix – aprons on & whisks at the ready!
What you need:
8oz Self-Raising Flour (or use Plain Flour with 4 teaspoons Baking Powder if you don’t have Self-Raising)
1oz Vanilla Sugar (just stick a vanilla pod in a jar of sugar overnight)
Quarter of a pint of Semi-Skimmed Milk
2 large Eggs
1oz Salted Butter, melted
What to do:
Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl (no need to sieve it). Add the baking powder if you’re using plain flour & give it a stir.
Add the sugar, eggs & milk, giving everything a brisk whisk to combine your mixture completely – whisk it by hand, you don’t need to get the electric one out.
Add the melted butter slowly & whisk in as you do so (the butter stops the pancakes from sticking to the pan without the need for additional fat). It should be the consistency of double cream or natural yoghurt, so if it’s a bit too thick just add a little more milk & give it a whisk again until it leaves a trail when you lift the whisk out.
Before you start cooking, get yourself a large plate & rip up some greaseproof paper into six inch long thin strips. Lay one on the plate & leave the rest to one side.
Heat up a large skillet or frying pan on a medium heat – your pan needs to be nice & hot before you start cooking your pancakes.
Using a large spoon or a ladle, pour a little pancake batter slowly into the pan to make small discs, about four inches across. Do this about three or four times, depending on the size of your pan & leave about an inch gap between them as they will grow in all directions.
After about 30 seconds or so, you will see little bubbles appearing on the surface, so carefully slide a spatula under each pancake & quickly flip it over. Give it another 30 seconds & flip it back – it should be lightly golden & have a popped bubble sort of texture all over, which means they’re ready.
Remove each pancake, one at a time & lay on the plate with a strip of greaseproof paper in between each one to separate them.
Repeat the above steps until you have cooked all the mixture. You should have enough for about twelve pancakes in all.
If you’re serving them immediately, cover the plate with an upside-down mixing bowl to keep them warm & transfer to the table. If not, leave them to cool & wrap a couple at a time in clingfilm, then put them in the fridge or freezer. You can put them in an airtight container too, just keep them separated with the greaseproof paper strips, then serve when you want some. To reheat your pancakes, simply pop a couple in the toaster for about 30 seconds to warm through & that’s breakfast prepared!
These fabulous fluffed up pancakes don’t have to be dull either! They are perfect with an array of fresh fruit, beautiful berries or just a squeeze of fresh lemon juice & a drizzle of golden syrup. If I have a couple of punnets of fresh berries going spare, I’ll put them in a saucepan with some golden syrup & simmer gently until they become soft & squishy, making a warm fruit sauce to pour on top. These soft little flatcakes also taste scrumptious with scrambled eggs – great if you fancy something a bit more exciting than cereal (which is obviously for midnight snacks).
If you’re having an impromptu dinner party, they also make a delightfully light dessert. Use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes or circles, then build them with up however you like – try layering with rich, dark black cherry jam & a spoonful of whipped cream, dusting a little grated chocolate on the top to finish. One of my favourite ways to serve them is to splodge spoonfuls of apricot jam in between the layers with whipped cream, top with a couple of fresh raspberries, then drizzle with pureed peaches – open a tin of peaches, chuck them in the blender, whizz up with a squeeze of lemon juice & pour into a serving jug! If you don’t want to use cream, maybe use strawberry or raspberry ice cream instead. These sumptuous stacks of sweetness look impressive & are really quick to assemble (especially if you have a few pancakes already made). There would have been pictures, but they never last long enough!
Next time you fancy a fluffy breakfast without the faff, flip a stack of these fabulously plump pillows onto a plate & enjoy a little indulgence. Stay hungry 😉 A x