Last Updated on January 23, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Easy Pancake Recipe for One or Two.Jump Straight to my recipe for Pancakes for One or Two People
I love pancakes, so whether or not it happens to be Shrove Tuesday, it doesn’t take much to get me battering up and making pancakes just for myself. So, when a supermarket approached me and asked me to explain how to make pancakes from scratch, I jumped at the chance. Pancake batter is a useful thing to get to grips with if you are cooking for one or two. Cooked to order in a matter of minutes, the batter keeps very well in the fridge for a few days. Savoury pancakes are delicious too and use exactly the same batter as a base so if you are just cooking for one, then you could have savoury pancakes one day and sweet the next! Both the method and basic recipe are very easy so if you haven’t tried making your own, then now is a good opportunity. One of the dishes I survived on through University, pancakes are very frugal and you can make the batter up with just three ingredients you probably already have in the store cupboard and fridge, then add whatever filling you happen to have to hand. Don’t be put off if you are making pancakes for one or two – it really is easy. One medium-sized egg and a small amount of milk and flour will make four pancakes to fill with something savoury or dessert for 2 people topped with something sweet!
The recipe for pancake batter is something of a classic – and I’m using the proportions that my mum taught me adjusted to make the right amount for pancakes for one or two. I’ve been looking online and you’ll find a few variations around. Delia Smith, for example, uses a higher ratio of flour to liquid and adds water to semi-skimmed milk. Jamie Oliver uses more eggs. Common sense suggests that more eggs and/or flour to milk will make for a thicker batter and I like my light, almost lacy pancakes which are closer to crêpes. If you prefer a thicker pancake then, by all means, add a little more flour. And for something richer and fluffier (a hybrid between an English pancake and an American one) add an extra egg.
The basic method to make your own pancakes remains the same though.
- Start the batter by first sifting plain flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt
- Add the egg by making a well in the centre of the flour and then gradually pulling in the flour and mixing with a wire whisk or fork
- Add the milk gradually, whisking carefully till you have a mixture the same consistency as single cream. Don’t worry too much about lumps – they will dissolve when you rest the batter
- Cover the mixture and pop in the fridge for at least an hour and up to 3 days.
- When you are ready to cook your pancakes, melt a little butter in a largish light frying pan. Anything from 20-30cm diameter will work. Once the butter is sizzling, take about an American cup (or a ladle) of batter and swirl it into the pan, tilting to spread the batter out as thinly and evenly as possible.
- The first side is ready when the pancake will slide around in the pan. You can flip it if you are brave, but I use a combination of palette knife and fish slice(!) The second side will take seconds to brown, be careful not to overcook it!
You can batch cook as many pancakes as you need and pop them into a warm oven with silicone or greaseproof paper in between each pancake.
Serve with lemon and sugar for a classic Shrove Tuesday pancake. More indulgent fillings include: melted chocolate, nuts and whipped cream, orange marmalade and Grand Marnier for a cheat version of Crêpes Suzette or honey, banana and vanilla ice-cream for a kind of Bananas Foster meets English Pancakes.
You may have thought it wasn’t worth making pancakes for one or two people, but with my scaled-down and very easy recipe, you won’t ever miss Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) again. The name ‘Shrove Tuesday’ comes from an old Roman Catholic practice of confessing or being ‘Shriven’ before Lent started. Along with that, all edible temptations needed to be eaten up before Lent started. Collop Monday was the day for eating meat such as bacon, while the next day, Shrove Tuesday, was used to finish up eggs, butter and fat by turning them into pancakes. Then, for 40 days and 40 nights, leading up to Easter, good Christian households would observe a period of frugal eating, remembering Christ’s time in the Wilderness.
Today in the UK we are more likely to give up chocolate or wine than meat and eggs but, it’s the same principle. The other name for Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras or ‘Fat Tuesday’ gives more of a clue what else might be going on around the world on the Tuesday before Lent. In Sweden, they have Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) and eat a special bun called a Fettisdag Buller. Round, with the centre of the bun scooped out and filled with marzipan, then topped with whipped cream and icing sugar it sounds totally indulgent. In South America and some of the Southern States of the USA, Mardi Gras is celebrated with a baked cake called a King Cake. The same kind of cake is eaten just a little earlier in the year across Europe to celebrate Epiphany. Meanwhile, in parts of Spain, while we are practising making pancake batter, they are getting ready to dress in mourning clothes and follow a coffined sardine. On Shrove Tuesday the poor fish is eventually cremated on a large funeral pyre and there’s a great celebration and ummm…feast of sardines. In some parts of Spain, the ashes of the cremated sardine are scattered into the sea, in others, it is buried. But wherever the Entierro de la Sardine is celebrated, there is a party marking the start of Lent. It makes pancake races seem quite mundane, doesn’t it! But it does make sense in the context of Mardi Gras (fat day) and the other great carnivals held around the world. All of which originated from different ways to use up all the fat in the house before the start of Lent.
If the thought of cremated sardines doesn’t appeal and you just want to get started here’s my own classic recipe for pancakes. This makes four or five – enough for two people (or to make a LOT of pancakes for one). If you want to make a larger batch, just double or triple the ingredients. Everything you need is easily available in your supermarket – I got my ingredients from Aldi – and just in case I want to make pancakes and don’t have that essential lemon to hand, I bought some lemon juice in a bottle too. Oh, and some honey for a sticky and wicked variation! If you really don’t want to make your own pancakes from scratch, they even have pre-made pancakes available! Check the Aldi website to find your nearest store. And the best thing about buying your ingredients from Aldi is that everything is reasonably priced, with a kilo of flour (that’s enough for 20 batches of pancakes) just 45p, 2 pints of milk for 79p and 6 eggs for 90p. So a basic pancake batter for two will cost you just under 30p. Then it’s up to you just how indulgent you get with your toppings – check the Aldi website for some more ideas!
An easy pancake recipe from scratch to make enough batter for two servings of two pancakes each
- 50 g Plain Flour
- 1 Medium Egg
- 150 ml Semi Skimmed Milk more if necessary - if you have full-fat milk use 1/3 water to 2/3 milk
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1/2 Lemon
- 2 teaspoons Caster Sugar
- 50 g Butter
Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl
Make a well in the centre of the flour and add the egg
Use a fork to pull the flour into the egg mixture and make a sticky paste
Gradually add in milk till you have a batter about the thickness of single cream. If you don't need all of it, don't worry.
Cover the mixture and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes. If you need to wait for longer before using it, put it in the fridge
Melt a little butter in a non-stick pan till it is sizzling but not burnt
Heat on medium heat then as quickly as possible pour a ladle of batter into the centre of the pan. Tilt the pan around in a circle so that you get a nice round shape, as thin as possible
Cook on medium heat until the pancake slides easily around the pan and is nicely golden if you lift one corner.
If you are feeling brave, toss the pancake. If not (and I've never managed) put a fish-slice under the pancake and turn it.
Cook briefly until the bottom is golden.
Remove the pancake from the pan and place on a flat dish. Cover with greaseproof or silicone paper and place in a warm over to keep hot.
Continue to make pancakes until all the batter has been used up, placing each cooked pancake in between layers of paper and keeping warm in the oven.
Serve with lemon and sugar. You can sprinkle sugar and lemon over each pancake and roll up, finishing with a layer of sugar or sprinkle with sugar and lemon before folding the pancakes into quarters
What are you waiting for? It’s pancake day on Tuesday 16th February 2021 – make sure you’ve made up your batter and are ready to feast!
Disclosure: This post has been written in conjunction with Aldi Supermarket.
If you happen to be looking for a low-calorie option, why not try my 3 ingredient banana pancakes. With no flour, they are an ultra-healthy option for pancake day.
Thinking of making these pancakes yourself? Why not pin this post for later