“How hard can that be?” That was the fool hardy thing that I said upon hearing my technical challenge this week and fatally forgot to touch any wood to prevent fate from rearing its ugly head.
Turns out… very.
What should have been the easier challenge turned out to be one of the most challenging.
And here was me hoping that I would be making Yorkshire Puddings this week.
Now I knew this wouldn’t be as simple as it looked. The actual making of the pancakes isn’t too much of a challenge. It’s a basic pancake recipe (with a few special instructions from Paul) that you then have to make into a masterpiece. And as it turned out, my artistic consistency didn’t go very well.
There isn’t a collective photo this week. Strangely enough as soon as the pancakes were turned out onto a plate, it wasn’t long before they had been gobbled up. What they lacked in style, they made up for in taste. Although if I had somehow managed to muck up making a simple pancake batter, then I would be a black mark on the baking community. Thankfully, I did not and am not (I hope).
WEEK 4: LACY PANCAKES
Here is the “diverse” range of pancake designs that I came up with this week.
In Mary’s words, they are “informal” and Paul would be simply giving me a very blank, but soul-destroying stare, with us both knowing that they were far from identical to one another.
What was annoying was the fact that my Mum’s attempts were far superior to my own, even on her first try. And yes, I did just admit that.
To be fair, my skill at wielding the sauce bottle that held my pancake batter improved dramatically from attempt 1 to attempt whatever I ended up with. My designs did not stay the same. I was trying to find a design that worked well and didn’t break apart when you tried to flip/turn them. I even resorted to using a heart shaped cookie cutter as a template to then fill with the pancake batter so it retained its form. It may not have been lacy, but it was definetly a heart.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Whatever design you choose, make sure that it is thick enough and there are no loose ends. Otherwise they are likely to break off/snap off when you try flipping/turning them
I even tried to be super clever (dangerous of me to do so) and put a smiley face into one of my pancakes. I thought that if I drew the face out first, then let it cook for a few moments before filling in the rest of the heart, the two “layers” would cook at different levels and therefore colour. But to quote TopGear (not the new one) I was being “ambitious but rubbish.” The face came out a little, but wasn’t very distinct. I knew it was supposed to be there, so it could just be my imagination. See if you can spot the face in the gallery.
Lacy pancakes, clearly not my thing.
Turns out it was a lot more fun to try other designs rather than restricting myself to hearts. For example, writing out your name. For one, they looked a lot better, at least until you tried to flip them. You know how I said about having a thick design so that it doesn’t fall apart. Well writing your name turns out to be pretty thin work and they can very easily break apart. Most of them did. Except for when I wrote out “Bake Off”. Somehow they stayed together. It must be a sign.
There’s not a lot more I can say about this weeks’ challenge. Practicing extensively before piping out your design seems to be key and you need far more than the one practice round that the contestants were granted last week. The batter can feel thin when pouring it into the pan and the end result can be quite messy but those with a steady hand will probably get far better results than I have. Key is don’t be afraid of it. Take your time rather than rush. When it comes out of the bottle it can feel like its out of control.
WORDS OF ADVICE
Experiment with the heat. If you opt for a higher heat, even if your batter is quite runny, as soon as it hits the pan it will start to cook and solidify. It just means you’ve got to be quick on the mark when it comes to your design
Oh god, I’m being pretentious about pancakes.
It may not have been an elegant endgame this week, but it was fun to do and nice to do pancakes again. It’s an easy thing to try with any basic pancake mix and makes your food a little bit different.
Here’s to hoping I can make back some Bake Off Points with next week’s Bakewell Tart, because that one is going to be far from easy.
Even though you can find a good, basic pancake recipe almost anyway (sorry Paul), for the official Bake Off one, click here.