When I were a lass, my home economics teacher at school dubbed me the "Queen of Pancakes". Oh the joy! I remember how I blushed when she declared it to my fellow peers after a particularly successful flip. I enjoyed a short period as her cookery class pet, but I eventually fell from grace and she was nice to me no more.
I have no idea what caused her change of mind about me - a slap-dash upside down pudding maybe? Rock buns that were rockier than the Rockies? I don't know, but I put it down to her being something of psychopathic little Hitler in the end, though I never let myself lose that accolade of being a pancake queen.
And here I am, very many years later, with my very own vegan pancake recipe. And really, honestly, I've never been so impressed with myself at how easily - and tastily - pancakes can be created without any need whatsoever for eggs. Of course, you still need something to bind, and in this case, I used mashed banana.
I tend to eat sweet pancakes for Shrove Tuesday/Pancake Day anyway - with lemon juice and sugar, as is customary. And though Pancake Day this year is next week on 12th February (believe me though, I only partake in it for the love of pancakes and because of tradition, I do not have any desire to 'give up' anything for lent, nor do I have any religious leanings), I have already made two batches of my recipe beacause I just HAD to keep testing!
Also, the pictures didn't turn out so great from my first go, because I was taking them at night and didn't have natural light. It really does make such a difference, as you can see from this photo below, which although Seymour adds a touch of gorgeousness (it seems he quite likes pancakes!), the colour just doesn't look all that, even with some messing around in my image-editing programme.
Anyhow - from my experience here, I have decided that I am still going to retain my title of 'Queen of Pancakes'. Oh yes, just watch me. I can flip a pancake very well indeed, while I watch the pancakes of others fall to an untidy splat on the kitchen floor. And this recipe is just a pancake winner! Really. I'm not sure there's much difference between these and the egg/dairy versions, except mine comes without exploitation and tastes better.
If you're new to flipping pancakes, the trick is to edge the pancake over the pan before you attempt the flip (of course, your pan needs to be well-oiled as well, so the pancake isn't sticking, and ensure the underside has been completely freed).
And what to serve them with? Well in the UK we generally like to have them plain and simple, with lemon juice and sugar. But I also like bananas, cinnamon and maple syrup, or peanut butter and jam! Also, they would be delicious with coconut cream and berries.
So vegan or not - go ahead and try these pancakes out. I promise you won't be disappointed! (And another bonus of making them vegan is they are cholesterol-free and budget-friendly!).
Oh - and you don't have to eat them JUST on Shrove Tuesday of course - they make a perfect breakfast food too.
Shrove Tuesday Sweet Pancakes
Makes about 6-7 large pancakes
1½ cups / 225g plain flour
2½ cups / 750ml non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened soya)
¼ cup mashed banana (about 1 small banana)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (add another ¼ tsp for a stronger cinnamon flavour)
Vegetable oil for frying
1. Sift the flour, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl, stir in the caster sugar, then make a well in the centre of the flour.
2. Into the well, add the mashed banana and about one third of the non-dairy milk. Use a hand whisk to stir the milk and banana into the flour, gradually adding more milk and stirring in (stirring the milk in gradually avoids lumps forming).
3. Continue stirring in the milk until the batter is the thickness you desire, adding more milk if needed – the batter needs to be fairly thin. Then stir in the vanilla extract.
4. Heat oil a non-stick, heavy-bottomed, flat frying pan until it has just started to smoke. Pour out the excess oil from the pan into a heat-proof container (a teacup, for example), so there is just a thin layer of oil coating the pan, then tilt the frying pan and ladle in some batter. Ladle enough to almost fill the bottom of the pan, while tilting it around so it spreads.
5. Cook the pancake on one side, until the visible side starts to change colour and blister, and the underside is lightly browned. Then use a rounded knife or spatula around the sides of the pancake to unstick it from the pan, and a large spatula to unstick the underside. You can flip it if you're feeling brave, or use the spatula to turn.
6. Cook until the turned side is browned. Serve hot with lemon and sugar, bananas and maple syrup, or whatever you like!