Today is Shrove Tuesday. As a practicing Pastafarian, I’m not entirely sure what that means, but as a Brit it means pancakes! (Is that also the case for South Africans??) And what better way to make a pancake than by getting rid of the milk and replacing it with beer! It’s a perfect way for lactose-intolerant types to enjoy crepes for breakfast. I’m not lactose intolerant – I just like cooking with beer and will use any excuse I can to have beer for breakfast…(N.B. – these are crepe-style pancakes, not American-style)
125g cake flour
2 eggs, beaten
300ml beer – I used Van Hunks Pumpkin Ale, as I was hoping some of the cinnamon/nutmeg notes might come through in the batter. They didn’t, though I did get a touch of malt on the aftertaste. Some people recommend a strong, dark beer like a Belgian dubbel for the best chance of getting the beer flavour into the pancake, while anything too hoppy isn’t advisable as it can make the pancakes extremely bitter. Experiment and let us know what works!
1 tbsp castor sugar
Pinch of salt
75g butter (melted) or 1 tbsp oil
Sieve the flour into a bowl and add the sugar and salt. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and gradually add them to the flour mixture, beating constantly. Start adding the beer a little at a time, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add the oil or butter and whisk until the batter is smooth and lump-free. It should be about the consistency of single cream. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes before making the pancakes.
I prefer to cook my pancakes in a bit of butter, but you can also use vegetable/sunflower oil. The pan needs to be pretty hot and the oil/butter should be minimal. Remember that while the first side will look beautifully bronzed, the other side tends to be a bit pasty and blotchy – like an Englishman on Camps Bay Beach. And the first pancake always ends up in the bin. I always struggle to get the batter thin enough and somewhat even. Invariably, my pancakes end up looking like effigies of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (see right), and that’s OK as long as they taste alright.
Serve with whatever you like – ideally something that compliments the beer you chose. I went with the traditional lemon juice and cinnamon sugar.
Enjoy – and if you’re giving up beer for lent, may the next 40 days pass as quickly as weekends seem to in comparison to Mondays.