Pancakes – gluten-free, egg-free or dairy-free

Yes, it's that time of the year again and one of my personal favourites - Pancake Day! I had my perfect job when I was 15, working in a pancake van at festivals, and I was allowed to eat as many as I liked (which definitely made up for the low wages).

The beauty of pancakes - and here I mean a thin, crepe-style pancake rather than an American thick one - is how adaptable they are. Your batter should be the consistency of single cream and you need a smear of oil/butter to get that pretty

Want your pancakes EGG FREE?
So easy - just mix wheat flour and milk together until you have batter of the right thickness. This might come as a surprise because it's always felt that eggs are needed as a binding agent. While this is true in some recipes (see my gluten-free pancakes, below), it's not true when you have wheat flour because the gluten in it acts like a brilliant binder with no extra help needed.

Want your pancakes DAIRY FREE?
This is even easier! The milk in pancake recipes could just as easily be replaced with a non-acidic alternative, eg. soya milk, rice milk, almond milk etc - even water! 

Want your pancakes GLUTEN FREE?
As mentioned in my bit about eggs, it's the gluten in pancakes that allows you to get them super-thin. However, there is a way to replicate this effect without needing to use additives like xanthan gum. Here's my recipe, from my book Gloriously Gluten Free. They take a little longer to fry than regular pancakes, so make them in the biggest frying pan you have.

Gluten-free thin pancakes (crepes) -  picture above and below

Makes about 8

35g brown rice flour
250ml milk or milk alternative
250ml water
55g potato flour (potato starch)
pinch of salt
2 beaten eggs
sunflower oil/butter for frying

Gently heat the brown rice flour and milk in a pan, whisking constantly, until you have a thick mixture. Remove from the heat. Slowly whisk in the water, followed by the potato flour and salt. Whisk in the eggs. Pour the batter into a jug.
Lightly grease your frying pan before use (I use a scrumpled-up piece of paper kitchen towel dipped in butter or oil). Pour on a dollop of batter and swirl the pan so your batter forms a thin layer across the base of the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until golden underneath, then flip over and do the other side.
Place finished pancakes on a plate under a clean tea towel while you fry the others. Serve warm.




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