Alexis Thompson, founder of the Gloucestershire based cookery school, shares her Mum's recipe for pancakes.

Alexis Thompson runs Dancing Trousers Cookery School, based in Gloucestershire, where cooking is fun. Whether you're a total beginner or a budding chef, there is a course to suit you. Alexis writes:-

This is my Mum's recipe for pancake batter and I still have her very beaten up French pan, which was only ever used for omelettes and pancakes and never washed up just scrubbed gently with salt on a dry cloth. Those were the days before non-stick anything and Mum always used to say the first pancake was to 'season' the pan and couldn't be tossed properly, from pancake 2 onwards we were hurling them round the kitchen to the alarm of the cats.

You can't beat a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and sprinkling of caster sugar but give savoury pancakes a whirl. For instance make a creamy sauce with bacon and chicken, fill your pancakes, roll them up like big cannelloni and sprinkle with grated cheddar.

Pancake Batter - makes 8-10 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

115g plain flour
1 large free-range egg
1 large free-range yolk
280ml milk (you can use 200ml milk and 80ml water for a lighter version)
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pinch of salt

METHOD

1. Sift the flour and salt together twice. Make a well in the centre. Lightly beat the egg and yolk together and add to the well.

2. Start adding the milk and with a fork start drawing the flour in from the edges gradually.

3. When you've added around half the milk, get a balloon whisk in and give it a good whisking.

4. Add the butter.

5. Whisk in the remainder of the milk and the final batter should be the consistency of single cream.

6. Cover and keep cool for 30 minutes. This resting is important, it helps the starch absorb the liquid and gives the pancakes a better texture.

7. I cook my pancakes with sunflower or corn oil, not butter because it burns too easily and we've already got a little in our batter to add flavour and richness. Heat a 20cm non stick frying pan with a thin coating of oil. Let the pan get really hot - then add around two/three teaspoons of oil, roll it around to cover the whole surface then pour all the excess into a jug to leave a fine layer. The oil should be really hot, almost smoking.

8. I pour my batter from a jug but using a ladle is fine too. Pour a couple of generous tablespoons of batter into the pan, (it should sizzle like a good 'un if your pan is hot enough) and immediately roll it around the pan to coat the whole base evenly.

9. Keep over a high heat until its brown on the base (you can peek using a thin metal spatula or palette knife). Loosen around the edge and underneath with your palette knife and turn it over or go for the tossing method! It'll need around 30 seconds on the other side.

Remember the first one is 'seasoning' the pan and it's chef's perks to eat it! Refresh your oil from the jug, pour out the excess again and repeat.

Pancakes don't really keep but if you do need to, I find layering them between clean tea towels on a flat plate over a pan of hot water works.

March 2014