It’s Pancake Day!
Way back in June I was eating pancakes all the time because I had plenty of flour and no bread. You could just skip this post and go back to Operatic pancakes or Almost blinis if you prefer. But I thought I would make something a little different, something for a cold evening, something which does not require any finesse:
- For the batter: 1 small carton of plain yoghurt, 250ml milk, 150g plain flour, 2 eggs. Butter for the pan. Salt and pepper.
- For the cheese sauce: One tablespoonful of butter and the same of plain flour. 20-30ml milk, 50-100g cheese (parmesan/strong cheddar/gruyère), 1 tsp mustard powder, black pepper and salt. More milk.
- For the filling: Half a small Savoy cabbage, shredded. One onion, one stick of celery or fennel, one mild chilli, all thinly sliced. 80g ultra thin slices of bresaola. A little olive oil.
First make the batter: crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and stir them up. Add the flour and the yoghurt, then slowly incorporate the milk, stirring all the time until you have a batter the consistency of single cream. If too thick add a little water. Leave for 30 minutes, then stir again. Make the cheese sauce by first creating a roux with the butter, flour, and mustard powder, then adding the milk. Heat over a low flame until the sauce thickens. Take off the heat and add in the cheese, either grated or diced. Stir to start the melting process, but then stop while it still resembles lumpy porridge.
Stir fry the cabbage, onions, chilli and celery in a little oil in a wok. Half way through add a little water, partly cover and turn down so that the leaves gently steam their way towards softness. When this has happened, sprinkle over the diced bresaola and stir it into the pan. Steam for another few minutes.
Make thin pancakes using a 20cm/8in non stick pan, greased with smidgeon of butter. Remember to toss them – It’s Pancake Day after all. There is enough batter for about 8 pancakes but I only made four. Pour a tablespoonful of jus from the vegetables into a heavy baking dish. Then take each pancake in turn, spreading a spoonful of cheese sauce, then a bigger spoonful of cabbage mix, rolling up, placing in the dish. When they are all in, sprinkle over any remaining cooked vegetables and/or scraps of cheese, bresaola and chilli. Stir more milk into the remaining cheese sauce while heating a little so that it becomes smoother and thinner. Be careful to remove from the heat long before the cheese starts its journey to becoming string. Pour the sauce over the pancakes, bake at 180°C until bubbly and golden, then grill for a further minute if you wish. Let them cool a little before eating.
Crêpes with blackberry and apple
Use any left over batter from the recipe above: Add a spoonful of sugar and another of melted butter. Make one or two very thin pancakes. Fill with baked blackberry and pear compôte, made with frozen berries, sliced pear or apple and a measure of crême de cassis, which have been baked together in the oven until the fruit is cooked. Spoon the fruit onto the cooked pancake, fold and serve with natural yoghurt and a spoonful of the hot liqueur. Mmmm