Thursday, 11 February 2010

Batter Fail

I am not a fan at all of Pancakes/ crepes etc. Not sure why but for as long as I can remember I've not liked them, yet alone made them. We always go to my boyfriends mum's on pancake day, where I will find something else to eat with everyone tucking in with glee to mountains of pancakes! I think its maybe a textural thing with batters as I didn't really enjoy toad-in-the-hole until recently and even still its not my favourite thing to eat. I do like drop scones though...

The one exception where I ate crepes, and enjoyed them was on holiday in Greece about 6 years ago; there was a lovely little cafe that overlooked the sea which we visited for lunch several times, and had savoury baked crepes. They were either filled with ham and cheese, or chicken and mushroom, then covered in cheese sauce, and baked. Now these were lovely and so finally I decided to have a go at them yesterday, I'm relatively confident in the kitchen and can usually spot a bad recipe, but with batter recipes being quite alien to me I put my faith in Ed Baines and his book 'Entertain'. Fail. Fail. Fail.

I read the recipe over the phone to my mum this morning and she said it sounded wrong, so I thought would put it to the blogosphere and see if its me or the recipe that failed? I made two batches, one by hand and one with electric whisk, the 'electric' batch consistency was awful, lumpy, the one by hand like milky water with bits in! I even added an extra egg in vain attempt to recover but no, still very wrong.

Recipe from book:

2 eggs
225g plain flour
1 tbsp olive oil
pinch salt
60g melted butter
600ml milk
2 tsp dried oregano

Mix together the eggs, flour oil and salt, whisk well making sure there are no lumps. - Both times this did not work, my mixture was very thick and lumpy?-
Add the melted butter, slowly add milk until a smooth pancake batter. -Nope-
Heat oil in pan and make thin pancakes, swirling to coat. I only tried this part with the batter that was semi-smooth, it did not swirl and took forever to brown, on turning it shredded the moment I lifted from the pan!

All went in the bin. Not sure if am annoyed more by the waste of ingredients or that a recipe didn't work for me?!

Prior to attempting the crepes, I had already made a rather delicious filling consisting of ricotta, cooked spinach and chard, chorizo, a little quark to bulk out, fresh basil and sundried tomatoes, so when the crepes went from bad to worse, I made a panic call to the boyfriend and he managed to get me some tortilla wraps on the way home from work, (them being nearest thing to crepes!)...luckily it worked! I filled and rolled the wraps, snuggled into a baking tray an covered with a light cheese sauce made with cornflour, milk and vegetable stock (I was trying to be healthy!) a little grated cheese on top then baked until golden. Not quite the dish I intended but pretty tasty all the same and have been asked to make it again. Unfortunately didn't get a picture of finished result, but glad managed to save at least part of dinner!


  1. I'll ask my mother - she's a home ec teacher so will probably know. At least the filling was salvaged. Im not good at making pancakes- but I'm going to attempt american style ones next tuesday - much easier than the thin crepe ones I think

  2. I wouldn't say I'm any sort of expert, but my guess is the oil on the flour caused the initial lumps in the batter. If you particularly want to try that recipe again, add the eggs to the flour with a little of the milk first, and beat that to a smooth paste before adding the oil, melted butter and the rest of the milk.

    If your pancake fell apart when cooked then possibly the batter was too thin, or you were trying to make the pancake too thin - as you say it took a long time to brown, I'm guessing the batter was too thin. Try a little less milk next time, and possibly a little more batter in the pan.

    I use yorkshire pudding batter for pancakes to, but I don't try to make them as lacy thin as French Crepes.

    NB - the first pancake always sticks, sometimes even in a non-stick frying pan.

  3. Haha, nothing like a good fail! I remember when I did those icecream cupcakes from Jules blog, what a disaster they were! Melted cupcake batter everywhere!

    Katie xox

  4. I have a whole book of pancake recipes and I know there is one I have tried and tested. I'll try and look it out for you.

  5. These are my tips! Whisking in the liquid by making a well in the middle and gradually incorporating the flour. First with the eggs, then with the milk. Each time you whisk around you scrape in a bit more flour. This brings it in evenly, no lumps and helps guard against over beating. Once you have done it a few times it is very quick and easy.
    Falling apart is probably due to the egg:milk ratio. Maybe use bigger eggs or add one more. I use two eggs for 1 cup of flour, then add milk to get the right consistency.

  6. What a shame! I don't put olive oil in mine and wonder if that was the problem. I use Delia's recipe and have to say that it's pretty good (for me!)
    Maybe it's your pan, what kind did you use? I use an old heavy cast iron pan and that's great - maybe you could try one that is specially made for pancakes? Sometimes resting the batter helps too.

  7. Hi Anne! Never mind, better luck next time! I also use Delia´s recipe which has always worked for me although I had a couple of probs with them sticking the first few times I made pancakes! I guess, the old saying practice makes perfect is right!!I´ve never heard of putting olive oil in the batter before either!

  8. Beth - the filling was lovely fortunately so not a complete waste! Lucky you with home ec teacher for a mum :)

    Suelle - thanks for the advice, will definately not be trying that particular recipe again!

    Katie - that sounds like a right mess! Don't think would even attempt them so good on you for trying!

    Janice, thanks but think am a bit scared of pancakes now :)

    Joy - many thanks too for the advice, am a complete novice with this area of cookery!

    Nic - I used my hard-anodized large saute pan, think need something shallower tbh..If I dare to make again will give Delia's recipe a go!

    Tracey - I didn't see many with olive oil either, maybe its a misprint in the book..

  9. Putting olive oil in the batter mix is not something I have every come across before.
    I too use Delia's recipe and it works for me. Mostly, it's just the first pancake that can sometimes play up.

  10. cute:) crepes are still love and hate for me!!
    try out this pancake recipe - truly perfect ones.

  11. I am a big fan of crepe, sorry to hear your batter did not work very well. My hubby is dutch so he made it most of the time. this morning I made waffle for first time, I did not use the electric mixer but with wooden spoon. Both batters for crepes and waffle are similar, may be next time, you mix the dry ingredients first and sieve to mixing bowl then add the wet ingredients bit by bit with egg first followed by, milk and than melted butter /oil. The sieving step may minimise the lumps, and using a whisker and whisk until you do not see the lumps. Hope it helps.


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