Sudi Pigott’s lemon crunch pancakes
- Cooking Time: 45 mins
- Course: Dessert
- Cuisine: Fusion
- Makes 12 x 24cms
- 125g plain flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 large egg, plus 1 yolk
- 250ml semi-skimmed milk
- Butter, for cooking
- To serve:
- Bowl of granulated sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 2 lemons
Everyone enjoys pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, when they’re traditionally eaten to use up all the fat before Lent. In fact, a straw poll of friends suggested that pancakes with the classic lemon and sugar topping remains a top favourite.
I will often put melted butter in my pancake batter, making it, strictly speaking, a crêpe mix, but in this instance I prefer to keep my pancakes plainer and crisper and merely cook them in butter. Somehow it makes a better foil for all the tart lemon juice and crunchy sugar (granulated is a must). Although do experiment with coconut sugar if you can get some, as it adds a delectable, rich note.
Adding an extra egg yolk to the batter is also good for enhancing its flavour. Even if you don’t usually rest your batter, a mere 30 minutes makes a difference, as it helps the starch in the flour to absorb the liquid and allows the air bubbles from whisking to disperse.
I cook my pancakes over a fairly brisk heat, because I like them as thin and crisp as possible with lacy edges, although turn the heat lower if you want a softer paler ‘French’ finish.
If you’re selflessly making a batch for family and friends, it is the chef’s perk to surreptitiously enjoy the first pancake, straight out of the pan, eaten with one’s fingers, drenched in sugar and a squirt of lemon.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre, and pour the egg and yolk into it. Mix the milk with 3 tablespoons of water and then pour about a quarter of the milk mixture into the flour.
Start whisking the egg and milk together from the centre, gradually drawing the flour into the batter until it is all incorporated and you have a smooth mixture with the consistency of double cream. Whisk in the remaining milk until the batter is more like single cream. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Heat a crêpe pan over a medium-high heat. Add a knob of butter and wipe out any excess using kitchen paper. The batter should sizzle when it hits the pan. Pour a small ladleful of batter into the pan and swirl it around so that the batter spreads out into a thin coat.
Tip any excess batter that doesn’t set immediately back into the bowl. When the pancake begins to set and look lacy around the edges, loosen the edges with a spatula and flip it over using the spatula. Alternatively, toss the pancake with swagger. The best way to do this is to loosen the pancake with a spatula, hold the crêpe pan handle with both hands, then jerk the pan upwards and slightly forwards so that the pancake spins, then be sure to move the pan back to catch the pancake. Make sure the pancake is lying flat across the pan with no folds, then cook for 30 seconds or until lightly golden.
I like to serve my pancakes with a bowl of granulated sugar that has lemon zest grated in it and a jug of lemon juice for guests to serve themselves.