There are a few dates in the British calendar that dictate the types of food that we like to eat. With Easter around the corner, here in the UK we will be looking forward to eating not only hot cross buns, a sweet bread made with dried fruit and spices, but also pancakes.
Pancake day or Shrove Tuesday is a tradition here in the UK and marks the beginning of the Christian festival of Lent. It is about using up forbidden foods such as butter and eggs, but also about confessing sins and asking God for absolution.
During Lent Christians reflect on Jesus’s time in the desert. It was thought that by giving up indulgent foods allows Christians to understand Christ’s time in the desert and some of the suffering he endured. Today, many people give up other indulgence like chocolate.
I will always remember my first gluten free Pancake Day. I had only been diagnosed a couple of weeks before and I was still getting used to my new diet. It was unfortunate for me that this day fell so soon.
As a kid I loved pancakes. The excitement and anticipation of being able to fill your soft, golden disc shaped delight with what ever we wanted was a real treat. My sister and I used to gobble our dinner down and wait in the kitchen for the creamy batter to be dropped delicately into the frying pan.
My first attempt at making traditional pancakes eight years ago using plain gluten free flour was OK, but my happy childhood memories of this day were being clung onto. The gluten free version tasted different. I found that the batter was heavier and this resulted in a denser and rubbery pancake. But over the years I have experimented with different flours and have mixed plain gluten free flour and corn flour together, which gives the pancake a lighter texture and consistency. Making the batter slightly looser has also make the end result more palatable.
Over the past two years I have moved away from using a traditional pancake batter and have adapted an American pancake mix to suit. These pancakes are lighter and fluffier in texture and they taste really good. They do require a little more preparation, but it’s worth the extra effort.
This recipe makes 21 medium sized pancakes. If you can’t eat them all, cook them and pop them into the freezer for a rainy day. Just make sure that you defrost them before re-heating in either the microwave or a frying pan.
Ingredients for the batter:
225g gluten free plain flour
60g corn flour
2 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoon of caster sugar
600ml of buttermilk
4 tablespoons of melted butter
Ingredients for the chocolate sauce:
50g plain gluten free chocolate
50g milk gluten free chocolate
3 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons of cold water
200g fresh raspberries
Vanilla ice cream
1. In a bowl add all the dry ingredients – flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar. Then add the eggs, melted butter and butter milk and whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth batter. This will be quite a thick batter.
2. Heat a frying pan and add a little oil – use a flavour less oil such a vegetable or sunflower. Using a ladle, spoon in a little of the batter into the frying pan. Don’t use a whole ladle full as the batter will spread. It should be about third full. Alternatively use a tablespoon as this will make the perfect size pancake.
3. As the pancakes cook, bubbles will start to appear. When most of the pancake is covered in bubbles you will know that your pancake is ready to turn. Flip over and cook on the other side for approximately 1 minute. Put your pancakes in a warm oven to keep warm while you make the rest of the pancakes and the chocolate sauce.
4. To make the chocolate sauce – break up the chocolate into a small saucepan and add the golden syrup, sugar and water. On a low heat melt the chocolate and other ingredients. Keep an eye on it and stir as the chocolate begins to melt. If the sauce is too thick add an extra teaspoon of water and stir into it. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug.
5. Remove the pancakes from the oven and stack three of them into a plate. Now pour over some of the chocolate sauce and sprinkle over the raspberries and top with some vanilla ice cream.
Alternative topping ideas:
Homemade blueberry sauce – heat a 200g of blueberries in a sauce pan with two tablespoons of water over a low heat and wait for the blueberries to soften. Pour over a stack of pancakes and top with a scoop, of vanilla ice cream.
Whether you are Christian or not, have a great gluten free Shrove Tuesday.