Make Richard Bainbridge’s best ever pancakes
- Credit: Katja Bainbridge
Richard Bainbridge of Benedicts reveals why he loves Pancake Day and gives us his secret recipe.
Everyone Loves Pancake Day. I always think it's that first little bit of excitement after Christmas. You have the cold, bleak winter, then the snowdrops start coming up, then Shrove Tuesday happens, and then spring starts.
I always think they're a great tea. Nothing gets me more super excited. But everyone haws a horror story about Pancake Day. Either you got the mix wrong, or you used the wrong pan.
I remember when me and my sister thought we'd surprise my mum coming home from work by making pancakes on Pancake Day. My sister is six year's older, so was clearly leading the onslaught of eggs, flour and hot pans, which ended up with the oven completely covered in pancake mix. We got properly told off and from that day I got put off making pancakes.
Another disaster was last year. I was amazingly asked to go on Mustard TV to cook pancakes. I was a bit nervous. I'd just opened the restaurant. I had to turn the heat off on my hob because it was too noisy, and the whole thing stuck. It went completely pear-shaped. It was one of the most embarrassing moments of my life. Not great.
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The tradition of pancakes goes all over the world – crepes in France with sugar, in America the big squishy ones with maple syrup and bacon, and in England this more lethargic version of a crepe. When I grew up we had them with sugar or golden syrup and lemon juice. It was almost a challenge to see how much lemon juice you can get in your mouth. In the 80s we didn't really know about pancakes with bacon and syrup or chocolate sauce.
They're a blank canvas and it's a great chance to experiment at home and get creative. Everyone can put on what they want.
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Every year I have a new favourite. For me, this year it's poached rhubarb, which is just in season. I cook it with a bit of stock syrup, which is equal quantities of sugar and water. You put in pieces of rhubarb and just let them cook and float to the top so they keep a little bit of bite and all that flavour. I put in a bit of grenadine and I like to serve them with whipped cream, the zest of a blood orange over the top, a little honey and half a blood orange on the side to squeeze over.
My pancake recipe is a hybrid of the French crepe and the American pancake. It's kind of like a normal pancake with flour, a tiny bit of sugar, salt and egg, but all I do is add extra sugar and a sprinkling of baking powder and give it a whisk. I still do it in a crepe pan and it soufflés up a little bit.
This recipe is my way of getting perfect pancakes that soak up all those flavours. They have that 'sponge' factor.
In the mix I put half the zest of a lemon and a grating of nutmeg, which helps the actual pancake itself taste of something more than egg.
As for toppings? My little girl Holly, when she was small, the one thing she would go crazy for is blueberry pancakes. She'd wolf them down.
I love Nutella and blueberries, or strawberries and a little bit of lemon balm from my garden. And I do like bacon, maple syrup and a good crack of white pepper.
But my ultimate is just lemon and a bit of golden syrup. You can't beat it!
Richard's perfect pancakes
1 large egg
125g plain flour
2tbsps caster sugar
2tsps baking powder
Zest of ½ lemon
1/3 spoon of grated nutmeg
Place everything in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Rest the mixture for 10 minutes before using. Meanwhile place a crepe pan or any non-stick pan on a high heat. Lightly brush the hot pan with oil, then pour in some of your pancake mixture. Move the mixture around by moving the pan until completely covered. When ready to turn, flip the pancake over and cook until golden.
Serve with whatever garnish you fancy. We used poached rhubarb and cream. Of course there are hundreds of option so let your imagination run wild. Go flipping crazy!
See Richard in action on Pancake Day
On Shrove Tuesday, February 28, Richard Bainbridge will be battling against Richard Hughes in a pancake race down Gentlemen's Walk in Norwich from 9.30am to 11.30am, supporting local charities. Go down and cheer them on.
Richard is a Great British Menu winner and owns and runs Benedicts Restaurant in Norwich with his wife Katja.