Yotam Ottolenghi’s alternative pancake day recipes | Pancakes

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The number of times I’ve wondered what’s for family supper, looked in the fridge and “magicked” up a meal thanks to the quick creation of pancakes is, well, a lot. The only numbers I need to remember, thankfully, are 1-2-3 (one egg, 200g flour, 300ml milk), and we’re off! Pancakes are a quick and easy solution – they’re essentially a vehicle to wrap up or to hold other ingredients – plus they come in a hugely diverse range of shapes and sizes, and in varying textures and thicknesses. Whether you’re all about the filling or the flipping, the classic or the crumpet-like, take a moment to plan for Pancake Day, so everything is ready and waiting next time you look in the fridge and wonder what’s for dinner.

Rice pancakes with egg and chilli oil (pictured top)

These are inspired by sinasir, or Nigerian pancakes made with rice that is soaked, blitzed and often fermented. They are known for their holey, sponge-like topping, which is primed to absorbs any and all juices. Being made from rice, they’re a great option for those who prefer things gluten-free. Feel free to play around with toppings – I also love them with butter and honey, or served plain alongside a soup or stew

Prep 15 min
Rest 3 hr +
Cook 10 min
Makes 8 pancakes, to serve 4

For the pancakes
210g short-grain brown rice
cooked sticky or basmati rice
fast-action dried yeast (ie, ½ a packet)
1 tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp fine sea salt
½ tsp baking powder

For the toppings
4 large eggs
1 pinch
flaked sea salt
Chilli oil
, homemade or shop-bought
Runny honey
1 lime
, cut into 8 wedges
2 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander leaves
25g unsalted butter

Put the brown rice in a bowl, cover with cold water and leave to soak for at least two hours, and ideally overnight, until the grains can be broken by a firm press between your fingertips.

Drain the rice, put it in a blender with 250ml room-temperature water, add all the remaining pancake ingredients and blend for three minutes, to make a creamy, slightly grainy batter. Cover and leave to rest and thicken for at least an hour. (Alternatively, put the mixture in the fridge for up to a week – it will ferment slowly and develop a slightly sour flavour similar to that of a dosa.)

Put a 20cm-wide, nonstick frying pan with a lid on a medium-high heat. Give the batter a stir, then ladle 50g into the centre of the pan and swirl it around until it’s 15-16cm in diameter. Break an egg into the centre of the pancake, cover the pan and cook for a minute to a minute and a half, until the egg white is set and the edges of the pancake come away easily from the pan. With a spatula, slide the pancake on to a plate egg side up, then repeat with more batter and the remaining three eggs.

With the remaining batter, make four plain pancakes, cooking each one for 45 seconds, just until it has visibly cooked through, then flip and cook for 20 seconds on the other side.

To serve, divide the four egg pancakes between four plates, drizzle over some chilli oil, honey and a squeeze of lime, scatter some coriander on top, and serve. Spread the plain pancakes with butter and honey, and stack them on a plate, ready to follow your eggs.

Grilled pancakes with harissa cabbage and taleggio

On days when lemon and sugar simply won’t do, I’d rather devote my attention to fun fillings than to flipping – melty, gooey cheese and a spicy paste from a jar, say. Good-quality, shop-bought pancakes make the whole process so much easier, but I find that they can be a bit brittle, so heat them slightly, and gently, before filling, which will keep them pliable and stop them from cracking.

Prep 10 min
Cook 30 min
Serves 2

100g unsalted butter
½ white cabbage
, cut into 3mm-wide strips (400g net)
250g chestnut mushrooms, finely sliced
200g baby leaf spinach

3 rosemary sprigs
, leaves picked and finely chopped, to get 2 tbsp
Fine sea salt and black pepper
2 tsp rose harissa paste
, plus ½ tsp oil from the jar, for serving
4 shop-bought plain or sweet pancakes
150g taleggio
, or camembert or brie, cut into 4 slices

Put the first five ingredients in a large frying pan, add a teaspoon of salt, and cook on a high heat, stirring often, for about 20 minutes, until the vegetables have softened but not taken on any colour. Add the harissa paste and a good grind of pepper, cook for another minute, then turn down the heat to medium-low.

Meanwhile, turn on the grill to its highest setting. Lay one pancake on top of the cabbage mixture and leave it there for 30 seconds, to soften. Transfer the pancake to a 20cm x 30cm baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, spoon a quarter of the cabbage mixture over one half of the pancake and fold over the other half to cover the filling. Move the filled pancake to the edge of the tray, then repeat with the remaining three pancakes, softening them first on top of the cabbage mix before filling and nestling them together on the tray. Top each pancake with a slice of taleggio, then grill for a minute or two, until the cheese melts and starts to brown.

Remove from the oven, drizzle the harissa oil all over the top of the pancakes, add a good grind of pepper and serve straight from the tray.

Crempogau with persimmon compote and creme fraiche

Crempogau are Welsh pancakes that have a wonderfully distinctive texture that’s somewhere between a crumpet and an American buttermilk pancake. Persimmons are a winter fruit in the UK: they need to be ripe and soft to the touch so, if yours are underripe, be patient and wait for them to ripen. Alternatively, make a compote with pears or frozen berries, buy a jar of ready-made, or just serve the crempogau with good honey and salted butter.

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Rest 40 min
Makes 4-6, to serves 2

200ml whole milk, warmed
1½ tbsp caster sugar
½ tsp fast-action dried yeast
200g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Fine sea salt
2 eggs
, beaten
1 tbsp cider vinegar, or white-wine vinegar
50g unsalted butter, 25g melted, the rest at room temperature
150g creme fraiche, to serve

For the persimmon compote
2 persimmons, peeled and chopped into 1cm dice (300g)
75g caster sugar
⅛ tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp lemon juice

Whisk the warm milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl, then set aside for 10 minutes, until foamy.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, bicarb and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Whisk in the milk mixture, eggs, vinegar and melted butter, to make a smooth batter then leave to rest for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the compote. Put the persimmons, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan, add three tablespoons of cold water and bring up to a simmer on a medium-high heat. Turn down the heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, until the fruit is soft and almost all the water has evaporated (if it needs a bit longer, add a splash more water). Take off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and put to one side.

To make the pancakes, put a large nonstick frying pan (or two, if need be) on a medium-high heat. Swirl half a teaspoon of butter all around the pan to melt, then pour in two separate ladlefuls of batter to make two 10cm-wide pancakes. Leave to cook for 90 seconds, until nicely golden brown on the bottom and still slightly loose on top, then flip and cook for another 30-45 seconds on the other side. Transfer to a plate and and repeat with the remaining batter.

Stack the pancakes on to plates, spoon over some of the compote and serve with a large dollop of creme fraiche.


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