The thing about pancakes…

Scottish pancakes with maple syrup
Until quite recently I was useless at making pancakes. Admittedly, I obstinately refused to follow a recipe. Surely I could knock-out a simple griddle cake without the need for instructions? How hard could it be? Apparently you can’t just whisk-up eggs, flour and milk and pour the resulting batter into a hot pan. Well you can, but the results won’t necessarily resembled a pancake. Obviously there’s a right and a wrong way to make a pancake. My way was most certainly the wrong way.

The wrong way of cooking anything always results in my kitchen looking like the aftermath of a chimps tea party. Dirty Pans, dishes and assorted cooking instruments everywhere. And how did that batter end up half way up the wall? Making pancakes, for me at least, was not simple.

pancakes gone wrong
The wrong way to make a pancake!

Simple and easy are not the same thing. A batter made from eggs, flour and milk is certainly simple. However making a really good pancake is not easy. It’s like boiling an egg. Anyone can cook an egg in boiling water, but producing the perfect soft boiled egg requires a bit of know-how. What I needed was some pancake know-how.

Pancake batterPancake making
The right way to make a pancake.

When it comes to know-how there are two cookery writers I trust above all others; Delia Smith and Prue Leith. These ladies have never let me down. Delia’s books taught me to cook and Prue’s showed me how to do it better. So when the pancake hits the fan, its to these grand dames of cooking that I turn. And sure enough, there within the pages of ‘Leith’s Cookery Bible’ I found what I was looking for. The solution to my pancake troubles. A recipe that made deliciously light, fluffy, golden brown pancakes every time. Just so long as I remember to follow the recipe!

Prue Leith’s Recipe for Scotch Pancakes:
Taken from ‘Leith’s Cookery Bible’.

225 g (8 oz) Self-raising flour
1/2 Tsp of Salt
290 ml (1/2 pint) Milk
2 Eggs, separated
1 Tbsp of unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1/2 Tsp of Salt

1. Sift the flour with the salt into a large bowl.
2. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the egg yolks and a quarter of the milk.
3. Mix with a wooden spoon and gradually draw in the flour from both sides of the bowl making a smooth batter. Add the remaining milk gradually until the batter is the consistency of thick cream.
4. Fold in the cooled melted butter.
5. Whisk the egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into the batter.
6. Meanwhile, lightly grease a heavy frying pan or griddle iron and heat it. When really hot, drop 2 spoonfuls of batter on to the surface, keeping them well separated.
7. Cook for 2-3 minutes. When the undersides of the pancake, bubbles rise to the surface. Lift the pancakes with a fish slice, turn over and brown the other side.
8. Keep warm, covered with a clean tea-towel.

Leith’s Cookery Bible on



  1. MMMMM! Your pancakes look so delectable & tasty too!

  2. I always trust Jane Grigson, but I inevitably read more than I cook.

    • Never read any of Ms Grigson’s books, time to remedy that oversight. I find myself getting impatient when reading recipe books, itching to get back in the kitchen and try it myself. 🙂

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