Flipping marvellous! 10 delicious – and surprising – pancake recipes, from jaffa cake to peanut butter and gherkin | Food

February 23, 2022 by No Comments


We are a hardcore fundamentalist family on Pancake Day. For most of the year, fluffy American-style pancakes are our go-to five-minute weekend breakfast. But these do not pass muster on Pancake Day. In our house, Shrove Tuesday is a day of crepes, lemon and sugar and aggressively enforced applause whenever I successfully flip one. I don’t expect the whole world to adhere to my pancake orthodoxy, so here are 10 brazenly experimental pancakes for you to try out.

Squeak and bubble … Joe Trivelli’s Savoy pancakes.
Squeak and bubble … Joe Trivelli’s Savoy pancakes. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Savoy pancakes

You cannot make a savoury pancake half-heartedly. You must leap in with both feet. Especially if you cook up something like Joe Trivelli’s savoy pancakes. A conscious attempt to blend pancakes with bubble and squeak, they contain mashed potato and boiled cabbage. The end results are dangerously close to being farls but, eaten straight from the pan, are delicious enough to trounce such quibbling. Serve your stack topped with a fried egg.

Cheese, thyme and pecan pancakes

From a 2015 Guardian Readers’ Recipe Swap list, ElleZumbido’s recipe for cheese, thyme and pecan pancakes borders on the ridiculous. Containing an unholy mixture of cheddar, camembert and creme de Saint Agur, the combined cheesiness only slightly mitigated by the addition of honey and toasted pecans, these pancakes seem precision-honed to give you nightmares. As ElleZumbido puts it: “These pancakes are not for the faint-hearted.”

Yotam Ottolenghi’s lamb broth with pancake ‘noodles’.
Meaty matter … Yotam Ottolenghi’s lamb broth with pancake ‘noodles’. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The Guardian

Lamb broth with pancake ‘noodles’

As you might expect, Yotam Ottolenghi seizes the opportunity to turn the pancake concept on its head. Riffing on the German dish flaedlesuppe, his lamb broth with pancake “noodles” lets the crepes act as a bulking agent for soup. This is a very time-intensive recipe – to get the lamb to properly fall off the bone, you need to cook it for close to three hours – but the results are well worth the investment. Once the broth is ready, make some pancakes, roll them, slice them and chuck them in at the last minute.

Pancakes stuffed with herring

The greatest pancake restaurant in the world is, without question, Kompressor in Tallinn, Estonia. When the money is short and the mood is low, you’re guaranteed to leave full and happy. Kompressor’s menu ranges from the conventional (ham and cheese; cheese and tomato) but isn’t afraid to take risks. Enter the herring pancake: vast, thick and (at about £4.60) incredibly cheap. Kompressor keeps its recipes close to its chest, but Culinary Choice’s herring pancake recipe makes a good fist of it. The pancakes are filled with chopped herring, boiled egg and onion with sour creme and dill. You will love this or massively not love it.

Japanese soufflé pancakes
‘Tall enough to give you vertigo’ … Japanese soufflé pancakes. Photograph: Rimma Bondarenko/Alamy

Japanese soufflé pancakes

If I veer from my preference for flat, thin Pancake Day pancakes, I do so with as much panache as possible. Japanese soufflé pancakes are things of absolute wonder – soft, light and tall enough to give you vertigo. As the Kirbie’s Cravings recipe explains, they’re an awful lot of work – you have to make a meringue mixture, fold in your pancake mix, pour into a greased muffin ring and carefully steam under a lid. But if you use Pancake Day as an opportunity to impress people, this is your only serious option.

Pajeon or Korean pancake or Korean pizza - Asian food style
Hearty … haemul pajeon. Photograph: Geanina Vlasceanu/Getty Images/500px

Haemul pajeon

When I lived in Seoul and found myself reluctantly dragged on hikes up Bukhansan, by far the best part of the day was eating the pajeon that greeted me at the bottom of the mountain. A ridiculously hearty pancake, made with corn flour, plain flour and sparkling water, pajeon have seafood and spring onions cooked through them and are best served with a soy and rice vinegar dipping sauce. Most Asian supermarkets will have packets of pre-mixed pajeon powder, but making it from scratch is more fun.

Thai pancakes

We’ll round off this Asian interlude with Good to Know’s recipe for Thai pancakes. They’re filled with a punchy mixture of noodles, curry paste, fish sauce, peanuts, prawns and lime juice, and are eaten dipped in sweet chilli sauce. The recipe stipulates readymade pancakes, but you know better than that.

Prosecco pancakes

About five years ago, there was a fad for prosecco pancakes which, in hindsight, seems like pre-catastrophe decadence. However, I would argue that they’re still worth a go. This is partly because they are crepes at heart, and thus adhere to my authoritarian stance on Pancake Day. Second, they’re not as ostentatious as they sound. As Bubble Club’s recipe shows, adding prosecco to the batter lightens it, while making a prosecco syrup adds subtle sophistication.

Kids reaching for crepes at breakfastTop view of kids reaching for crepes at a breakfast table.
Get flipping! Photograph: Gajus/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Peanut butter pickle pancakes

I’m not sure I can fully sanction Spoon University’s recipe for peanut butter pickle pancakes, but I’m going to share it. The base of the recipe is a fluffy American pancake. However, a disturbing combination of peanut butter, vanilla extract and a chopped gherkin is added to the mix. Is it good? I’m not brave enough to try, not least because it’s topped with a dribble of pickle juice.

Jaffa cake pancake

Finally, my God, there is the jaffa cake pancake. Another Good to Know idea, these are unbelievable. Make a fluffy pancake, spoon marmalade on top, then pour over melted dark chocolate and let it harden. You are left with something that looks like a jaffa cake, tastes a bit like a jaffa cake and defies all known Pancake Day conventions.



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