With Pancake Day on Tuesday, magazines and the internet are awash with pancake recipes, so do forgive me for jumping on the bandwagon and sharing yet another one. But this one is a keeper and makes an ideal brunch, light lunch or supper dish at anytime of year.
Normally I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to pancakes: I like mine made simply from eggs, flour and milk, and served with nothing more than sugar and lemon. But when you start writing a food blog, some kind of transformation happens and you get all adventurous and creative, looking for new twists and takes on the old standards.
I am currently in training for the Bath Half Marathon. (It takes place on 3 March, I’m running it for SWALLOW Charity and you can sponsor me here! Apologies – public service announcement over!) And because I’m in training I bought a copy of Runner’s World magazine about a month ago in the hope it might inspire me. Naturally, I turned directly to the recipe section and haven’t looked at another page.
I discovered in the magazine a wonderful array of healthy pancake recipes. Runner’s World food writer, Pam Anderson shares her basic virtuous pancake recipe, the perfect blend of carbs and proteins required by runners containing wholewheat flour, rolled oats and buttermilk, and then goes on to offer a whole host of variations on the theme.
I was rather intrigued by the chocolate version and so cooked up a batch last week. I made a few tweaks to the recipe, mainly to make them a little sweeter and lighter. Admittedly we ate ours as a pudding, topped with vanilla ice cream and winter berries, but we all thought they were absolutely delicious, if not quite as healthy as they really ought to have been. And if you’re looking for something different on Shrove Tuesday, particularly if you’re giving up chocolate for Lent, well this could be just the thing. Take a look too at the Runner’s World website where they have 40 more delicious pancake concoctions based on this same recipe.
Makes 16 small pancakes – serves 8
150g plain flour
100g wholewheat flour
30g rolled oats
75g caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
20g cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Combine the two flours, oats, sugar, salt, baking powder, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.
Gently whisk together the buttermilk, milk, eggs, oil and vanilla extract, pour into the dry ingredients and mix everything together well. Finally stir in the chopped chocolate.
Heat a little oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When the pan is hot, pour in a small amount of the batter – to form a small pancake roughly 10cm across. Depending on the size of your pan, you’ll probably be able to cook two or three at a time.
Fry the pancakes for around two to three minutes on each side, and then keep warm while you continue working your way through the remaining batter.
I served ours with winter berries and vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream, chopped nuts, sliced banana, honey and maple syrup would all make scrummy alternatives.
Separate the eggs into two large bowls. Whisk up the egg whites until they form soft peaks and put to one side.
Give the egg yolks a quick beat. Zest the two lemons and add to the yolks. Sieve the flour onto the yolks, then add in the ricotta and sugar. Gently mix together.
Spoon a quarter of the egg whites into the rest of the pancake mixture and carefully fold in. Once combined, gently fold in the remainder of the whites.
Melt enough butter to cover the bottom of your frying pan. Spoon in the pancake mix. You need around a tablespoon of mixture for each small pancake, and you should be able to cook around four at a time, depending of course on the size of your pan.
Fry the pancakes for a couple of minutes until tiny holes appear on the surface. Flip them over and cook for another two to three minutes until a gorgeous golden colour.
Keep the pancakes warm until you’ve cooked them all. Then serve immediately with a drizzle of honey and a good squeeze of lemon.