Celebrate pancake day with Heston Blumenthal’s Lemon Pancakes recipe.
Ah, the life of a blog. The pictures you’ll see below were all taken last year (on my crappy iPhone camera, sorry for the low quality). But none of you want to read about pancakes after pancake day, so we’ve had to wait until now to tell you about them. Plus, photoshopping, my shambolic writing process and general laziness meant it took a year to get this written.
Originally we were just gonna talk about Heston’s Lemon Pancake Recipe with Lemon Curd (first published to promote Finish dishwasher tablets). But that came out a few years ago, and we’ve read a few more Heston books since then, so we reckon there’s a few more ways you could try to make your Heston Blumenthal Pancakes recipe fresher and more unique.
So, let’s look at Heston’s original recipe first, then look at Heston-esque ways you could try something new.
Special Equipment: None
Special Ingredients: Powdered Gelatine
Time: 2 – 3 days.
Cost: £5 approx
Difficulty: Fairly Easy
Step 1: Dried Lemon Zest
Heston seems to be quite into this, drying out the zest of a citrus fruit touse as a garnish. We first encountered this in his recipe for Cointreau butter to go alongside his infamous Waitrose Hidden Orange Christmas Pudding.
It’s easy enough to do, provided you get started before you juice your lemons (that way they aren’t all squishy and so you’ll be able to run them across the grater with ease).
Leave them out for 4 hours (or overnight in our case) and some time before serving –this recipe took us 3 days so you have plenty time to pick from- mix with a little sugar and a tiny pinch of salt.
Step 2: Lemon Curd
This is quite an involving step so we started this 3 days before serving. We used only a quarter of the recipe’s measurements since we didn’t quite need the KILO of lemon curd Heston’s recipe makes.
From start to finish this is quite a dry recipe, so good luck mixing all that sugar with the scant few egg yolks Heston specifies. The results will be quite grainy.
Once mixed with lemon juice and a bay leaf (we used a dried one) and then placed over a pan of boiling water your bowl of lemon curd will start to look more like you expect. It can take a while and a lot of stirring to get to the mixture to 90°, though.
Then just whisk in your butter and your (hopefully) hydrated gelatine. You can sterilise a jar by filling it with boiling water and then popping both it, and the lid, into a hot oven for 5 minutes until it’s dry. Stick the buttery, eggy, sugary, lemony mixture into that jar and hey presto! You’ve got some pretty luxurious lemon curd. Just remember to remove the bay leaf first.
Your lemon curd needs to be set before you can start to make the pancake batter. As we were doing this in the evening we left our curd to set overnight.
Step 2: Pancake Batter
Again, quite a dry mixture. There’s barely more milk than flour here, and only a single egg.
Sift all the dry ingredients together, then mix with the milk and your lemon curd.
The result, as you can see, is a pretty thick and stodgy mix.
The batter now needs a good 4 hours in the fridge to set, according to Heston’s recipe. Again we did this step after we got home from work, so since we didn’t fancy eating our pancakes at 11.45pm we gave the batter overnight to rest in the fridge.
Step 4: Cooking the Pancakes
Each of Heston’s pancakes recommends you use a full ladle of batter. All the pics we’ve seen illustrating the recipe show a handsomely thick pancake, so the hefty amount of batter our big soup & gravy ladle delivered to the pan didn’t alarm us too much.
Congratulations! You’ve just made Heston Blumenthal’s Lemon Curd Pancake recipe.
These pancakes were a little stodgier than we’d have liked. In all the photos we’ve seen of this recipe the pancakes looked quite thick, using that full-to-the-brim ladle of batter. So they’ve got quite a long cooking time.
Plus, that really is a very gloopy batter you start off with, curd or no curd, and you end up with quite a chewy mouthful. And after all that effort to make the lemon curd the promised hint of flavour isn’t really detectable. Worse, the dried lemon zest just gives a gritty mouthfeel.
To get a proper hit of zingy lemon flavour we had to smear half of our jar of lemon curd onto the pancakes. The results were tolerable, but nothing we’d care to repeat. Sorry Heston. And sorry too, Finish dishwasher tablets.
We prefer a thinner, crepe-style pancake. That’d require an altogether thinner batter, which might be what you’d get from Heston’s Yorkshire pudding batter recipe.
Now, I’m honestly only basing this on the fact that packets of pre-made batter mix in the supermarket are labelled for pancakes and Yorkshire puddings. But let’s just suppose that they really do work the same way.
Heston’s Yorkshire Pudding Batter recipe
- 75g groundnut oil
- 250g whole eggs
- 150g plain flour
- 260g whole milk
- 1.5g salt
- Mix the flour and eggs until well combined
- Whisk in the milk and salt until the batter is smooth (optional: sieve the batter)
- Rest in the fridge for 2 – 4 hours, then cook
Note: for all these recipe ideas it is essential to use whole milk, as it contains more fat. Fat is an excellent carrier of flavour, so the more fat in your milk the more flavour you’ll get from the recipe. Using double cream might be a step too far though.
Earl Grey Pancakes
Heston seems to be a big fan of the subtle bergamot flavour of Earl Grey tea. Sometimes you get a powerful burst of Earl Grey flavour, like with Heston’s Earl Grey Panna Cotta recipe. Other times you’d barely know the tea flavour was present, as seen with his Christmas Stollen.
For a punchy Earl Grey flavour try simmering two tea bags into about 350g of milk. Bring the milk and teabags close to the boil, then allow to cool completely in the pan.
Once your milk is cold measure out 260g of it to make up Heston’s Yorkshire pudding batter recipe. Note: the tea bags will soak up some of your milk, which is why you need to use more than the recipe calls for. Give the tea bags a good squeeze if, like me, Andy or Mark, you want a stronger Earl Grey flavour.
Now cook your pancakes as normal.
Golden Syrup Pancakes
Simply make the basic Yorkshire Pudding Batter recipe but only use 230g of milk and add 30g of Golden Syrup.
Similar to the Earl Grey Pancakes. Toast 50g of caraway seeds and then simmer them in 360g of whole milk. Allow this milk to cool then measure out 260g to make your pancake batter recipe with.
Banana and Bacon Pancakes
I absolutely detest bananas, but we’re basing this on a cookie recipe from Heston at Home.
Roast 50g of bacon in the oven, or fry it in a pan until it’s crispy. As with Earl Grey and Caraway recipes infuse this bacon along with 60g of dried bananas into 360g of milk by simmering it then allowing the milk to cool.
Measure out 260g of flavoured milk and then cook as normal.
Tate & Lyle- Just about the coolest stuff we’ve seen done with pancakes. The famous sugar makers got Bompas & Parr to devise some innovative uses for Golden Syrup to give your pancake recipes an exciting twist. Golden Golden Syrup anyone?
Are pancakes worth taking 3 days to make? And do you have a pancake recipe that you swear by? How about some sugestions on how to make pancakes a bit more interesting and novel?We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below…