The secret to mixing pancake batter that they don’t want you to know.





Send comments to


All magicians know that there are a couple of magic tricks that give the impression of great skill but are in fact ridiculously easy to do.  In cooking there are hundreds of recipes that do exactly the same thing.


Pancake is one of them.  Flour, milk and egg – that’s it!  If you are too stupid to remember three things then buy pancake mix at the supermarket.  (Now that I think of it even the recipe for pancake mix is three things:, egg, flour mix and water but at least then it will be written for you on the box.  You can read?)  You throw 4oz. of flour, ½ cup of milk, a pinch of salt and an egg into a bowl and then put it into a pan and voila crêpes.


Ok there are a few things you should know so as not to make white mud pies but it’s not rocket science.  (If you want to learn about rocket science read my upcoming book ‘Dangerous Hobbies to Share with Your Children.’)  Now, if you just throw these three ingredients together in a bowl, you will end up with a lumpy mess that won’t impress anybody.  Here’s the lump-free tip.  Put the flour in a big mixing bowl (you’ve got one of them right?  See chapter on kitchen equipment.)  Tilt it at an angle and then crack the egg into it.  (By the way, the secret to cracking an egg so as not to get egg shells in the mix, is to crack with courage.  I’ve always found that a weedy tap of an egg on the edge of a bowl produces shell bits, but a proper strong strike doesn’t.  Be brave.)  Then with a whisk (fork if you must) beat the egg separate from the flour (see illustration) add a little milk to the egg and then gradually mix little bits of the flour into the liquid by tilting the bowl straighter.  Continue to gradually adding milk, mixing it little by little with the flour until it is a lump-less mix.


Another secret to pancakes is to have a dedicated pancake pan.  Telel makes a great non-stick pan that has this red dot in the middle that disappears when the pan is hot.  (So you don’t have to check with your finger?)  I think they call it the Village Idiot Range.  Make sure the pan is proper hot (or the red dot is gone – bozo) before you pour in the batter.  (Batter is what you call the mix - we are not talking cricket all of the sudden.)  Melt some butter in the pan or spray with a bit of aerosol oil.  Don’t put in too much batter in - we are making thin pancakes.  (If you want to make fat American style pancakes then buy a mix called Bisquick at the supermarket – that’s what the Americans do.)  I almost always find my first pancake is a loser.  You will have to experiment with a batch before you get the knack.  Remember pancakes are not a leave-and-come-back type food, you have to pay attention to them.  (Something you probably should have done to your wife.)  Flip with a spatula - or if people are watching – in the air.  Flip too early and they are a globby mess - flip too late and one side is hard and overdone.  If you are going to flip in the air – two tips.  First, make sure the pancake is sliding on the pan before you start and most importantly -flip with courage and conviction.  If you chicken out at the last second and under-flip the pancake folds and you’ve blown it.  Overthrows are easier to correct in the air.


Serve with honey and lemon juice (easy on the lemon), maple syrup, Nutella or whatever.  Use your imagination – I know you don’t think you have imagination but try.


Now that you’ve got pancake batter down you are 90% on your way to being able to make Yorkshire puddings and Toad-in-the-Hole.  How cool is that?