The Decanter team joined Great British Chefs and up-and-coming Chef Tom Brown - head chef at Nathan Outlaw’s at The Capital - in a masterclass on the quest to create a perfect pancake. Drinks matching was provided by Decanter.com contributor Matthieu Longuère, Master Sommelier and tutor at Le Cordon Bleu London.
With today being Shrove Tuesday it seemed only natural that the Decanter team: Harry Fawkes, Jessica Charlton, and Annabelle Sing, attend an exclusive crêpe demonstration evening with Chef Tom Brown at the world-famous cookery school Le Corden Bleu in London.
In anticipation of Pancake Day, Tom chose a simple recipe for us to follow: mini crêpes with a seasonal topping of rhubarb, almonds and clotted cream.
Suitable for us Decanter novices to recreate easily at home but hopefully with a resulting dish that would look both impressive and elegant.
Cooking with forced rhubarb (rhubarb that is grown in the dark under candlelight which makes the stems shoot upwards to grow faster and for a arguably more succulent taste) and fresh Cornish clotted cream added to the sophistication of this dish.
But Tom also revealed a few interesting tricks and tips on how to make picture-perfect fluffy pancakes in any kitchen. We’ve added these in bold below:
Pancakes with rhubarb, apple, almonds and clotted cream
Chef: Tom Brown
Preparation time – 30 minutes
- 200g plain flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 large egg
- 300ml milk
- 500g forced rhubarb, washed and trimmed
- 1 large Braeburn apple, peeled and cored
- 50ml ginger beer
- 50g butter
- 50g caster sugar
- Toasted almond flakes
- Clotted cream
- To make the pancake batter, sieve the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl – Sieving the flour airs the batter which helps to create light and fluffy pancakes
- In a separate bowl or jug, beat together the milk and eggs then whisk into the dry mix – Whisking sideways will help create bubbles which, in turn, will air the batter
- Once smooth, cover and leave to rest in the fridge for an hour prior to use – Pancake batter needs to rest to stretch it out. However, it is not necessary to leave it to rest too long; overnight is the absolute maximum time recommended
- To make the rhubarb compote, roughly chop the rhubarb and apple into 2cm chunks – For this dish, red apples are better to use than green apples. Red apples are naturally sweeter than green apples so go better with rhubarb which is already quite sour
- Melt the butter in a pan and add the rhubarb, apple, ginger beer and sugar. Gently cook down until thick and stick – The desired consistency of the compote should be gooey. To know when it’s ready just taste it – if it tastes good, it’s probably done! Note that the compote gets naturally sweeter the longer it cooks
- Make pancakes using the batter – Rapeseed oil or sunflower oil is best to use here as they have a higher burning point
- To serve, stack the pancakes on top of each other and top with a generous spoonful of the compote, some clotted cream and a handful of toasted almond flakes – Dip the spoon in hot water before scooping into the clotted cream – this will help achieve the perfect quenelle shape
Did they taste as good as they looked? We thought so! The end result is so much more than just a classic pancake.
Note – these crêpes work just as well as a savoury dish. Mushrooms, crème fraiche, and mackerel are just a few ingredients that you could use
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