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Pancake Day with Nigel Barden

Simon Mayo presents the Drivetime show, with music, sport, travel and money news. Plus, there is a brand new listener confession for the team to consider.

Release date:

1 hour, 55 minutes

Last on

Tue 4 Mar 2014 17:05

Perfect Pancakes by Felicity Cloake from Perfect (Penguin / Fig Tree)

Nigel says 'Although the batter can be made just before the pancakes are cooked, it's better that the batter mix has at least 30 mins in the fridge.  This allows the starch in the flour to swell, thickening the batter & allowing any gluten that's developed when the mixture was beaten to relax, resulting in a lighter, fluffier pancake.  If really organised you can even prepare the batter the day before'. 

Makes about 8


Prep time: 10 mins + 30 mins refrigeration minimum

Cooking time:  2 mins each approx.




125g plain flour

A pinch of salt

1 large free-range egg, plus 1 large egg yolk

225ml whole or semi-skimmed milk

30g butter, softened





Mixing bowl

Measuring jug

Balloon whisk

Non-stick frying pan (approx 20cm)

Palette knife

Serving plate

Kitchen roll



Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl & add a pinch of salt.  Make a well in the centre & pour the egg & the yolk into it.  Mix the milk with 2 tbsp of cold water & pour a little in with the egg. Use a balloon whisk to whisk the flour into the liquid ingredients, drawing it gradually into the middle until you have a smooth paste the consistency of double cream.  Whisk the rest of the milk in until the batter has more the consistency of single cream.  Cover & refrigerate for at least 30 mins. Heat the butter in a crêpe pan or a 20cm non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat – you only need enough fat to just grease the bottom of the pan.  It should be hot enough that the batter sizzles when it hits it. Spread a small ladleful of batter across the bottom of the pan, quickly swirling to coat.  Tip any excess away.  When it begins to set, loosen the edges with a thin spatula or palette knife & when it begins to colour on the bottom, flip it over with the same instrument & cook for another 30 seconds. (If you're feeling cocky, you can also toss the pancake after loosening it:  grasp the handle firmly with both hands, then jerk the pan up & slightly towards you.) Pancakes are best eaten as soon as possible, before they go rubbery, but if you're cooking for a crowd, keep them separate until you're ready to serve by layering them up between pieces of kitchen roll.

Gluten-free buckwheat pancakes by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney

Prep time less than 30 mins

Cooking time 10 to 30 mins


Makes 12 x 18cm/7in pancakes



2 tbsp butter

225ml/8fl oz milk

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp sugar

60g/2½oz rice flour

2½ tbsp buckwheat flour

1½ tsp vegetable oil

2 small eggs, preferably free-range

40ml/1½fl oz sparkling mineral water



1. Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the milk, salt and sugar, stir well

and turn off the heat. 

2. Put both flours in a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and pour

in the vegetable oil and add the eggs. Mix the eggs and oil with a

whisk, gradually bringing in flour from the sides until it begins to

thicken. Add the milk mixture little by little until all has been

incorporated and the batter is smooth. Finally, whisk in the water. 

3. Pour the batter through a medium strainer into a bowl and refrigerate

for at least two hours. (The resting time allows the batter to relax and

the flour to absorb the liquids fully. Pancake batter may be made up

to a day ahead and refrigerated.)

4. To cook, heat a 15-18cm/6-7in frying pan. Add a very little oil. When

the pan is hot, pour in just enough batter to cover the base of the


5. Allow to cook on one side for 1-2 minutes, flip over onto the other

side and continue to cook, until speckled and slightly golden. 

6. Slide onto a plate and keep warm while you make the rest of the

pancakes. You can stack one on top of the other as they can be

peeled apart later but are best eaten fresh off the pan.


Nigel's Top Tips 

  • For a savoury option I've opted for a slice of thin ham & grated cheese, could be Switzerland's finest Le Gruyere, or good old Cheddar.

  • Other fruity twists are fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries; apple purée & whipped cream & for a nutty addition try some chopped hazelnuts or pecans.

  • Some regular pancake & crepe makers have a dedicated cast iron pan which they season with vegetable oil & salt, which is allowed to cool a little before being rubbed vigorously with a good wadge of kitchen paper & before being allowed to cool completely after any excess oil & salt have been tipped away.  In future the pan will only be wiped with kitchen roll & never washed with washing up liquid.

  • You only need to add more butter every 3rd or 4th pancake

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