The Basic Batter

Pancakes, crêpes, hot-cakes, galettes, griddle cakes, drop scones, even very passable blini can all be made from a simple batter mixture.


  • 125 g (4 oz) plain flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • a large free-range egg
  • 300 mls (½ pint) semi-skimmed milk
  • a little butter to lightly grease a well-seasoned, heavy-based frying pan, about 20 cm (8 inch) diameter for preference


Grease and heat the pan while you beat all the ingredients together for a smooth, lump-free batter. When the pan is really hot, pour in just enough batter to coat the base of the pan, tilting it to spread the batter evenly. Cook the pancake until golden on the underside, and matt on the top, about a minute, then turn it over and cook the other side. Slide onto a plate set over a pan of hot water to kep it warm while you cook the rest of the pancakes in the same way.

Thicker hot-cakes, blini and drop scones can be made by adding a teaspoon or so of baking powder to a batter using equal quantities of liquid and flour. For a Breton galette, wheat flour can be mixed with buckwheat. Cornmeal, and even corn kernels, can be added to the thick version to make cornmeal griddle cakes. Even a little cocoa can be added for chocolate pancakes – a novel twist for Shrove Tuesday, unless you want to serve them plain in the classic way, a dab of butter, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sugar.