Pancakes aren’t just pancakes anymore. They can be wafer-thin, large and golden or thick, small and stackable. They can be made from all sorts of flours (buckwheat, chickpea, rye, gluten-free) or flavoured with various herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. They can even be made vegan (get the recipe here). That’s why we invited Tom Brown, head chef at Nathan Outlaw’s London restaurant Outlaw’s at The Capital, to come along and teach a class of food bloggers and journalists all about them at Le Cordon Bleu – just in time for Pancake Day.
While it’s the thin, crêpe-like pancakes we normally associate with Shrove Tuesday, Tom opted for Scotch pancakes; the kind you see in the US served as a stack and drizzled with various delicious sweet toppings. They tend to have a lighter, more satisfying texture than the more traditional variety, and being able to stack them up means a more substantial meal. Instead of lemon and sugar (or bacon and maple syrup for Scotch pancakes), Tom went for something more seasonal: rhubarb compote finished off with Cornish clotted cream (he is from Cornwall, after all) and a few toasted flaked almonds scattered on top.
The compote was simple enough – beautiful Yorkshire forced rhubarb is stewed with apple (for body) and a little sugar, with a glug of ginger beer thrown in as well. But it was Tom’s tips on cooking the pancakes themselves that really made the difference to the finished dish.