I’m making these rainbow pancakes because it’s Shrove Tuesday on the 25th and for most of us that means it’s Pancake Day! When I was a kid it meant a huge mess in mum’s kitchen and a pile of either totally burnt disks of rock-hard batter or soggy, undercooked rubbery raw egg. My brother and I would have pancake tossing competitions to see who could flip their pancake higher which would often result in pancake on both ceiling and floor. However our pancakes came out, we always tipped half a tonne of sugar all over them with a squeeze of Jif Lemon and we were happy. I feel sorry for mum who had to spend the rest of the night scraping pancake batter that had set like concrete off every surface of the kitchen.
I think the challenge has always been that here in the UK we don’t really have a pancake culture. The Pancake Day tradition came about in order for us to use up the butter, sugar and flour prior to the abstinence of Lent – yes, believe it or not we’ve been doing a version of ‘Dry January’ since time began in one way or another. This was just once a year though, we don’t really eat pancakes like our friends in Europe or the US. In France they regularly eat crepes, which are a gloriously thin pancake, usually with something sticky and sweet rolled up inside it and of course in the US they make fluffy thick pancakes that are often eaten for breakfast. I think the American style pancke is my favourite style of pancake but you don’t actually toss it, you gently flip with a spatula. So this Pancake Day, don’t be a tosser and try my pancakes!
It also happens to be LGBTQ+ History Month which is an important way for us to celebrate our rich heritage and diversity in the world. So I thought I’d play with the recipe to add a little colour to the mix and I’m quite pleased with the outcome.
For the recipe I’m sharing with you today I’m going for American style thick pancakes but I’m also getting my creative juices flowing by adding some different colours. I want to keep it natural so I’m using colours derived from fruits, vegetables and spices. They’re all easy to get hold of and none of them effect the taste. They do make the whole process slightly trickier but it’s still all quite basic; eggs, flour and milk. You just need a little patience and a steady hand!
for the pancakes
Makes roughly 6 fluffy pancakes – 2 red, 2 green and 2 yellow
- 270g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 tablespoon caster sugar
- 260ml oz milk
- 2 large free-range eggs, lightly beaten
- 4 tablespoon melted butter (allowed to cool slightly) or olive oil, plus extra for cooking
- 1 teaspoon beetroot powder – for the red pancakes
- 1 teaspoon matcha powder – for the green pancakes
- 1 teaspoon turmeric – for the yellow pancakes
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl or jug, lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and, using a fork, beat until you have a smooth batter. Any lumps will soon disappear with a little mixing.
Divide the batter evenly between three bowls, then stir the beetroot powder into one, the matcha powder into another and the turmeric into the third. Stir well until all the powder has dissolved.
Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a ladle of batter (or two if your frying pan is big enough to cook two pancakes at the same time). It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to form small bubbles, then flip it over with a spatula and cook until both sides are coloured but not too dark to discolour the brightness of the powders.
Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.
Serve with lashings of real maple syrup or runny honey and extra butter.
Eat and of course, enjoy!