Pancake Day (or more properly Shrove Tuesday) is practically a national holiday here in the UK. Ok, we don’t get the day off work, but it is pretty much obligatory to devote one day of the year (or a week if you’re me) to eating pancakes.
(For the benefit of those outside the UK I should clarify, we’re not talking fluffy buttermilk-esque pancakes, we’re talking crepes.)
Pancakes aren’t just about the eating. There’s a whole social side to the day too. Whether you enjoy them with family, or have a pancake party with friends, pancakes are the perfect excuse for a get-together. They’re not the kind of food you can cook in advance and present to your guests perfectly arranged on your best crockery– they require standing around in the kitchen, sharing the highs and lows of the efforts to get the batter just right and to master the perfect flip.
So whilst I normally can’t wait for Pancake Day, this year it’s been looming a little ominously on my calendar. The four things you need for pancakes? Eggs, milk, flour and butter or oil to cook them in. How on earth was I going to make pancakes that are dairy free, egg free, gluten free and oil free? Huh.
It was really important to me to crack this one. I believe you can eat OMS without feeling deprived, but if there was no such thing as OMS-friendly pancakes then this theory would be blown out the water.
So with three days to go I started googling. I had high hopes for the vegan blogs yielding some decent recipes I could use. I should have known better. Whilst vegan recipes are obviously dairy and egg free, they so often contain oils and/or vegan margarine. Even the wholefood vegans who avoid the margarines etc tend to at least use coconut oil – another no-go. When am I going to learn?
So this afternoon I set out to figure it out for myself. I experimented with various concoctions and methods and finally settled on a recipe that is pretty easy to make, and most importantly actually created pancakes that taste like pancakes should.
Now I’m going to confess, this recipe isn’t my holy-grail pancake recipe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s OMS-friendly and the results are delicious, but it sort of feels like cheating as I had to admit defeat and use a commercial egg-replacer.
Mr Multiple Scrumminess tells me that I shouldn’t let that stop me blogging it, so I’m sharing it for all my fellow OMS-ers who need a pancake hit this coming Tuesday. We’ll certainly be eating plenty of them ourselves…
In the background though I’m going to keep working on this one until I find a version without egg-replacer. I’ll keep you posted, but I may be some time…..
Ingredients (makes about 6 pancakes)
- Two cups of unsweetened almond milk (I used Alpro)
- One and a half cups of plain flour (I used Dove Farm’s plain gluten free flour blend – if you use a different flour you might have to adjust the flour/milk ratio slightly – see how you get on and adjust it until you are happy with the results)
- Two teaspoons of Orgran No Egg – Egg Replacer mixed with 4 tablespoons of water
- A hand-held balloon whisk is going to make your life much easier, but you could use a fork if you don’t mind putting in the extra effort.
- A really good frying pan (see further below).
- A flexible flat turner – this is going to let you get underneath the pancakes and free them up if they stick
- A ladle – if you have one this makes portioning out the batter and adding it to the pan much easier. It also allows you to be quick, which is the key to cooking pancakes without oil.
1. Mix the egg-replacer with the water in a large bowl.
2. Whisk in the flour and the almond milk until thoroughly combined.
3. Heat your saucepan up until it’s really hot.
4. Once the pan is ready, ladle enough batter for one pancake in to the pan. The moment the batter is in you need to pick up the pan and tilt it around so that the batter runs around and forms a thin layer over the entire base. Speed is of the essence here. You want the layer as thin as it can be, whilst still covering the pan. If you do it too slowly it will start cooking before it can spread – so be brave.
It might take you a few tries to work out the perfect amount of batter and the amount of tilting you need, but perserve. I had a few sacrifical attempts before I mastered it, but I consider it effort well spent – now I’ve got the knack they’d dead easy to make.
5. Return the pan to the heat. After a minute or two you’ll notice the pancake starts to lift off the pan a little, or at least it will look like air bubbles are forming. At this point use the rubber turner to free it up, and then either turn or, if you’re brave, toss!
6. Cook the other side for a minute or two – then serve, top and enjoy!
A few points to note –
If your pancake gets stuck add a splash of water to the pan – this is normally enough to free it up.
If they keep sticking try turning the heat up – in my experience if you cook them quickly enough they don’t really stick.
Serve and eat as you go – pancakes are best fresh from the pan.
This is always a tricky one: Do you go with traditional lemon and sugar? Or are you more adventurous? In our house I’m afraid it’s always maple syrup – Mr Multiple Scrumminess’s Canadian roots shine through here – the thought of pancakes with anything else is sacrilege – but I’m more than happy to oblige….
Seriously, if there is one thing that you buy to make your OMS cooking easier, this should be it. Frying without any oil is kind of like trying to light a fire without matches. You can do it by rubbing sticks together, but it’s going to be frustrating and time consuming. Or you get yourself some decent equipment that will make the job a whole lot easier.
Anyway, I digress, a good frying pan. Yes.
I’ve recently invested in a Rio pan by Green Pan. It has a ceramic coating, so is wonderfully non-stick, and is made without PFOA, or PTFE, so is supposedly healthier. Better still, it seems to stand up to some serious scrubbing. A reality of OMS cooking is that sometimes you’re going to get it wrong. On occassion the lack of oil means you’re going to weld something on to even the non-stickiest of non-stick pans. The problem with traditional non-stick pans is they don’t take kindly to a vigorous scrubbing. This pan seems pretty tolerant – a sprinkling of Bar Keepers Friend seems to dislodge even the most stubborn stuck-on food without destroying the non-stick coating – result!
I’m sure there are plenty of other excellent ceramic pans out there, but I’d recommend reading plenty of reviews to help you pick the right one for you.
I also have an Analon frying pan, and it’s good (in fact I used to rave about it), but it’s not quite as forgiving as my Green Pan seems to be.
So happy Pancake Day everyone – let me know how you get on,
Mrs Multiple Scrumminess xx