These pancakes are one of my favourite memories of childhood. My mum made them every year for Shrove Tuesday - or as you may know it Pancake Day! She used an old Be-Ro recipe book for the recipe that was handed down from my grandmother. I've modernised the recipe by changing it from ounces to grams and I've also added some sugar to create these delicious Traditional English Pancakes. These days I make them for my family!
Be-Ro (originally called Bells-Royal) is one of the first popular brands of self-raising flour in the North of England. Plain flour was most commonly used, until the 1920s when Be-Ro used these recipe books to market the product and show how useful self-raising flour was. The recipe books helped the brand to become famous and are still being produced now, with the 41st edition published August 2011.
The edition I used is their 19th edition and was published in 1956. The entire book is in black and white, including all the photos. Nothing like the recipe books today! The book is full of some brilliantly old school tips and phrases, such as "The woman who can cook well and bake well has every reason and every right to be proud of her cooking" - something which is definitely still true today! And for men too!
For the full recipe with measurements, head to the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to make Traditional English Pancakes
To make the batter, weigh out the flour and sugar in a bowl, stir them together, then whisk in the eggs. Then add the milk slowly and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Heat up a frying pan and before cooking each pancake, put a spritz of oil in the pan or a small knob of butter. Measure the batter out using a ladle, add to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until bubbles form on the surface.
Then flip the pancake over and cook for a few more minutes on the other side.
Can the pancakes be made with plain or all purpose flour?
Self raising flour, which is very commonly used in the UK where I am based, already contains a raising agent and a little salt too. Therefore if you want to swap it for plain or all purpose flour, you will need to add some additional baking powder and also a little salt if you like. Some people like to add salt to recipes and some don't, so I'll leave that up to you as it won't affect the pancakes. The general advice is to add 2 teaspoons baking powder (a measuring teaspoon, not the kind you stir your coffee with) per every 200g plain or all purpose flour. So for this recipe you'd need to add 2 + ¾ teaspoons baking powder. Please note, I have not tested this recipe using plain or all purpose flour.
Can these pancakes be made gluten free?
Yes! For gluten free you can replace the self raising flour with a gluten free self raising flour blend. If you only have a gluten free plain flour blend, you will need to add baking powder. The general advice is to add 2 tsp baking powder per 200g flour, so for this recipe you'd need to add 2 + ¾ teaspoons baking powder. You may also like to add ¼ tsp Xanthan Gum for better texture.
Can these pancakes be made dairy free?
Yes, all you need to do is use a dairy free milk and the pancakes will be dairy free. Please do check the labels of everything you use in case of cross contamination.
What can you serve the pancakes with?
- Lemon juice and sugar
- Blueberries and maply syrup
- Strawberries and whipped cream
- Nutella, Biscoff, or any other sweet spread
- Ice cream
- Jam and peanut butter
- OR omit the sugar from the batter and serve them savoury with cheese, eggs, spinach, baked beans... it's up to you!
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Traditional English Pancakes
For the pancakes
- 285 g Self raising flour
- 2 Eggs large
- 570 ml Milk cow's or plant milk will both work
- 50 g Caster sugar
For the toppings
- Caster sugar
- Put a frying pan on the hob to heat up at a low-medium heat
- In a mixing bowl stir the flour and sugar together
- Add the eggs and whisk in
- Then add the milk bit by bit, whisking between each addition until you have a smooth batter
- Spritz a little oil or add a knob of butter to the frying pan, then add a ladle full of batter
- Cook the pancake for about 4 minutes, then flip it over and cook for a further 3 minutes
- Serve immediately with a good squeeze of lemon juice, a generous sprinkling or sugar and fresh fruit like blueberries too if you like!