- Food & Drink
When I was 9 years old I ate 7 and a 1/2 pancakes on Pancake Day. Obviously, I was sick a few hours later, but in my own childish way I’d stayed true to the spirit of Shrove Tuesday. I’d gorged and feasted. I celebrated with dairy and wheat, lemon juice and sugar. I should’ve then followed it up with 40 days of abstention and sacrifice, but I’ve never really got to grips with denial and what would a 9 year old give up anyway?
This year I’ve been experimenting with batters in anticipation of a floury feast to remember. I’ve ditched the milk in favour of cider, because it makes the pancakes taste of booze (always a good thing) and the pancakes are thin, light and crisp – perfect little mats for rolling around buttery fruit and cream.
You could chuck the cooked apples into the batter and fry them up to make fritters if you want something that looks extra substantial, but I’d go for these wrapped around the fruit and also a batch of normal pancakes with lemon juice and sugar because it’s not Shrove Tuesday if you don’t eat so much fried flour that you’re sick.
Cider pancakes with buttered apples
Makes 6-8 pancakes
150g plain flour
250ml dry cider
100g unsalted butter
6 eating apples (about 1kg)
30g caster sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Double cream or crème fraîche, to serve
1 Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and make a well in the centre. Break in the eggs and start whisking in the flour from the sides to combine with the egg and make a stiff paste. Slowly whisk in the cider until you have a smooth, pouring consistency batter. Cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes-1 hour.
2 Heat 50g butter in a small pan over a very low heat until melted. Remove from the heat and skim off any white foam with a spoon. Let the butter sit for about 5 minutes to let the milk solids settle at the bottom of the pan, then carefully strain the butter through a fine mesh sieve, trying to leave most of the milk solids in the pan. The milk solids are good for mashing with potatoes or melting over veg, but you’ll get so little out of this they’re not worth keeping. Set the yellow butterfat (clarified butter) to one side.
3 Peel, core and thickly slice the apples. Add the remaining butter to a pan and heat until melted, then add the apples and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5-10 minutes until the apples are tender. Stir in a pinch of cinnamon, remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
4 Heat a little of the clarified butter in a small pan (15-20cm diameter) and pour off any excess – you just want a thin sheen of it in the pan. Add 1 small ladleful of the batter. Swirl the pan round to thinly coat with batter and cook over a medium-high heat for 2–3 minutes until golden underneath, shaking the pan occasionally to keep the pancake lose. Flip the pancake by tossing it or with a spatula if you’re feeling cautious.
5 Cook for 1-2 more minutes until brown spots appear underneath. Toss the pancake so it’s spotty side up, then slide onto a plate and keep warm in a low oven. Repeat to make 6-7 more pancakes. Serve the pancakes warm with the apples and cream or crème fraîche.
You’ll have clarified butter left over. It will keep in the fridge and is good for frying, serving with seafood or in a hollandaise sauce.