Pancake Day

I know a lot of people who give up something for Lent, but I never have. It's just not me. Deprivation is not something I'm suited to. But just because I don't give something up doesn't mean I can't enjoy Pancake Day. So what if I'm rewarding myself for something I didn't do? That's just the way I roll.

This is just a quick one, so I can share a great pancake recipe with you. It comes, yes, from Gwyneth Paltrow's book Notes from My Kitchen Table. I think this book is called My Father's Daughter in the States, which is actually pretty appropriate, as it's filled with stories about her dad and eating and cooking with him. I have to admit, the sop in me found it all rather touching, especially as I am a daddy's girl at heart. These pancakes are actually her dad's recipe and are named 'Bruce Paltrow's world-famous pancakes'. Awww. It's kind of weird that the title had to be changed for the British market - I guess sentimentality doesn't sell over here. 

Never mind the extra bits, Notes from My Kitchen Table is actually a really good cookbook. I have to admit that I didn't expect much, but it totally proved me wrong! There are lots of really solid recipes in there, and there is a good balance between the healthy stuff you would expect from Gwyneth, and some really nice indulgent food. It's a beautifully produced book as well, although there are rather a lot of loving shots of Ms. Paltrow smiling at her food.

Anyway, these are not typical Pancake Day pancakes in that they are fluffy American pancakes, rather than the thin crêpe ones that are called pancakes in Britain. These are proper, proper American pancakes, as far as I can tell. They're made with buttermilk, the whole nine yards. The recipe recommends an overnight 'relaxation' for the batter, but I was in a rush and hungry, so I just let it sit for 15 minutes; next time, I'll do it properly.

Buttermilk Pancakes
Adapted from Notes from My Kitchen Table by Gwyneth Paltrow
Makes about 35 pancakes

350g plain flour
75g caster sugar
3 and a half teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons fine salt
750ml buttermilk
75g unsalted butter, melted and cooled - plus some extra for cooking
6 large eggs
Up to 250ml milk, as much as needed to thin the batter

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, butter and eggs together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking to combine. Don't overwhisk! Small lumps are fine in the batter.

Let the batter sit overnight, covered.

The next morning, preheat your oven to 140 degrees C - this is just to keep your pancakes warm once you cook them. If you have open mouths waiting to be fed, you can skip this and serve up straight away.

Prepare your batter. Slowly pour the milk into the batter while whisking. Add enough to thin the batter to the right pouring consistency. The thicker the batter, the heavier your pancakes will be and the thinner the batter, the lighter they'll be - it's up to you how you want them. You could always add less milk and make a tester pancake, and then add more milk if you like. 

Heat up a nonstick frying pan or griddle pan over a medium heat and wipe it with a little butter.

Ladle your batter onto the pan, and flip the pancake once small bubbles appear on its top surface. It should take 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove to a heatproof plate and place in the oven if you want.

Serve a pile of pancakes with warmed Maple syrup and grilled bacon, or whatever you like!