It was Shrove Tuesday this week (or Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras as you may also know it), and that means pancakes, crepes, pikelets and blinis are on the menu! Before the long days of Lent, it’s time to live it up and lash out on luxury; eggs and butter!
Pancakes are one of the first dishes I ever learned to cook. As a child, I loved cooking them for family and friends, and would seize any opportunity to do so.
Since then, I’ve developed a passion for crêpes, the proper French ones. I absolutely adore them; sweet or savoury, it matters not. One of my favourite dishes is a crêpe version of cannelloni, the Italian filled lasagna.
It’s a dish that used to only be cooked for special occasions – because it’s so fiddly and time consuming, not something my Mum was big on.
I’ve eaten crêpes on the streets of Paris, where they’re served as a quick and convenient street-food. Nothing, absolutely nothing, tastes better than a hot choc-hazelnut filled crêpe with a hot chocolate or cafe au lait on a cold afternoon. It’s amazing.
But this week, I’m feeling old school, and I want to share with you my recipes for pancakes (American style) and my crêpe recipe. I’ve used both for years, and they’ve never let me down. But before we get on to that, let’s talk about pancakes vs crêpes.
Pancakes or Crepes: What’s the difference?
There has been many an argument over pancakes vs crêpes, depending on where you are in the world. If you are more acquainted with French crêpes, then you’re less likely to confuse them with pancakes and vice versa.
However, for others where a ‘pancake’ can mean an English pancake (a thinner crispier version of the French crêpe), a Scotch pancake, pikelet, or American-style pancake, things can get a little tricky.
So, what are the differences? Here’s a quick guide:
- American pancakes; thick and fluffy, usually around 4-5″/12-15cm in diameter, often served with maple syrup, fruit and/or bacon and eggs, etc.
- English pancakes; A Shrove Tuesday tradition, super thin, crisp and with a lattice-like pattern that’s dark brown when cooked. Usually served with lemon juice and sugar.
- Scotch pancakes/Dropped scones; A ‘half-size’ American pancake, and usually not quite as fluffy. Served more as an afternoon tea with cream and jam – just like a scone, but flatter.
- French crêpes; The smaller cousin of the ‘galette’, a crêpe is a thin-ish batter, made with eggs, milk, and flour, but no raising agent. Size can vary, depending on purpose, and can be either sweet or savoury.
- French galette; A speciality of Bretagne/Brittany, where you can find Buckwheat versions, they are slightly larger than the size of a dinner plate, and are often sold as a street-food. They can be filled with either savoury or sweet additions, or just hot and buttery on their own.
- Pikelets; Approximately 3/4 of the size of a Scotch pancake, and an after school favourite for many children in the Antipodes; they’re usually 2-3″/5-7cm in diameter, and served with butter and/or jam.
- Blinis; A fraction smaller than a pikelet, usually with only a little air in them so they puff up to about ¼”/7mm, and used as a bed for delicacies such as caviar, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and other canapes.
Essential Crêpe and Pancakes Equipment
Pancakes & Crepe Ingredients
Fresh ingredients are:
Pantry ingredients are:
So, now you have all the information about what they are, and their differences, it’s time to make some pancakes and crepes! Here are my favourite recipes:
- Mixing bowls
- Non-stick frying pan
- Measuring jug, cups, spoons
- 1¼ cups All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1 tsp Baking soda
- ⅛ tsp Salt
- 1 Egg, large beaten
- 1¼ cups Buttermilk
- 2 tbsp Butter melted
- 3 tbsp Sugar
- In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a small bowl, combine egg and buttermilk. Whisk together until blended. Add to flour mixture, stirring only until smooth. Add melted butter and sugar to batter and whisk until combined.
- Heat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Grease griddle with cooking spray or butter. Drop ¼ cup batter on pan and spread into a 5-inch circle.
- Cook until bubbles begin to form on surface and edges begin to brown. Gently flip and continue to brown other side. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Serve as pancakes, with fresh fruit, bacon, or whatever you'd prefer.
For Blinis, or Dropped Scones/Pikelets/Scotch Pancakes
- Prepare and cook exactly the same way as for pancakes, but, only use a couple of tablespoons of batter for each small pancake - be sure to push the batter around to the right size: blini - 2-4"5-10cm, dropped scone/pikelets/Scotch pancakes - 3-4"/7.5-10cm
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring jug
- Measuring cups/spoons
- Non-stick frying pan
- 240 ml AP flour
- 2 Eggs (large)
- 175-240 ml Milk
- ¼ tsp Salt
- ¼ tsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Butter, melted
- Sift the flour and place together with the sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl, mix and make a well in the centre.
- In a jug, whisk the eggs, then add the milk, and finally the melted butter, thoroughly combine.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing constantly with the whisk to remove any lumps. Do not pour all the wet ingredients in a single pour, as this will cause lumps.
- Heat a crepe pan, or nonstick frying pan, over a medium-high burner, and add a little butter or light oil to increase the nonstick surface.
- Quickly pour ¼c of batter into the pan, and tilt then rotate it to completely cover the pan bottom evenly with batter.
- Allow to cook for approx. 2mins before carefully lifting and flipping the crepe. Cook for a further 30secs - 1min to finish.
- Place on a plate, and stack with more crepes, or eat straight away.
Thanks for checking out this week’s blog post on how to make pancakes, how to make crêpes, and how to make pikelets, Scotch pancakes or dropped scones and blinis! I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes, and that you’re able to join me, Chef Kit, for the next cooking workshop on Saturday.
If you do attend the cook alongs, please share a photo of your dish on your social media accounts, and use the hashtag: #LarderPantryandGarden.
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