Wherever we come from, wherever we are in the world, we all have one thing in common: the humble pancake. Chances are, you’ve scoffed enough of them that you lost count years ago, but what you think of when you hear the word ‘pancake’ entirely depends on where you grew up.
The pancake has a lengthy history, with recipes dating as far back as the early 1400s! The tradition of tossing them (or trying to!) is almost as old. Pancakes vary from country to country; whether its the French crêpe, the fluffy America pancake, sweet Scotch pancakes, or the delicate lace of the British pancake, odds are you have a favourite.
The traditional British pancake was originally far more than just a way for the designated pancake flipper to show of their skills, however. A way to use up the last of the sugar and fat in their households, for Anglo-Saxon Christians, pancakes heralded the last day before the start of lent, a forty days period of restricted eating and self-reflection leading up to Easter. Many still observe this practice today. Personally, I just love an excuse to eat chocolate at breakfast!
Almost as varied as the pancakes themselves are the toppings we eat them with. Maple syrup, sugar and lemon juice, chocolate, fruit… Endless choices and combinations! The traditional way to eat the British pancake is with sugar and lemon juice and, whilst I do love its tart crunch, there is something elegant about a stack of thin, lacy pancakes adorned with copious amounts of glossy blueberry compote that just calls to me. So, having perfected the recipe, I simply had to share it.
I find this compote is best served as soon as it’s made (or, at least, once it has cooled a little) but, as the pancake batter needs to be chilled in order to make the pancakes really thin, I always start by making the batter.
Pancakes with Blueberry Compote
For the Pancakes
- 300 ml milk semi-skimmed
- 1 egg large
- 125 g plain flour
- Flavourless oil (such as sunflower) to grease the pan
For the Compote
- 150 g blueberries frozen
- 25 g sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
Let’s start the batter
- In a mixing bowl or large jug, whisk together the milk and egg until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk in the flour gradually. If you add all of the flour at once, you are more likely to get a lumpy batter. The batter should be quite thin. If it looks thick, add a splash more milk.
- Whisk the batter until it is virtually lump-free, and place in the fridge to chill.
Now for the compote!
- In a saucepan, add 100g of blueberries together with all of the sugar and lemon juice and cook on high for 5-8 minutes.
- Stir through the remaining blueberries, and decant the compote into a heat-safe dish to cool.
Let’s make pancakes!
- Heat a large frying pan and brush with oil.
- Pour enough mix into the hot pan to coat it thinly. You’ll need to swirl the pan to coat it.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes, pulling the edges away until the pancake comes loose. Shaking the pan will help to release the pancake from the frying pan, also.
- Once loose, flip the pancake (either with a spatula or by shuffling the pancake to the edge of the pan and flipping it with an upwards wrist motion) and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
- Repeat until all of the batter has been used and serve with compote whilst the pancakes are still warm.