28 February 2017

Bacon, blueberry, Cheshire cheese & maple syrup American style blueberry pancakes

Yes, it's a bit of a mouthful of a name, but I couldn't bear to leave anything out.  Our favourite pancakes for today's pancake day and hubby even requested them for his birthday last year, which demonstrates how good they are!  The pancakes themselves are really light and fluffy and as the melted butter is included in the batter mix, this means you can use the lightest smear of oil (or even a low calorie oil spray, which I used) in the pan to cook them - and the butter makes them taste fab.

Hubby's birthday pancakes!
With harmonious flavours throughout, the white, crumbly Cheshire cheese lends that slightly sour, tangy but also creamy note that works so well with both the bacon and the blueberries and of course, maple syrup goes with everything.

So why spend time debating whether to serve savoury or sweet pancakes? Serve these babies and you've combined main course and dessert in one fell swoop. Plus, your family will thank you - and no messy clearing up from lemon & sugar or jam!

My Cook's Tips are as follows :

Make sure to put your bacon in the oven before you start cooking the pancakes, so that it is rendered lovely and crispy in time to be broken up over the finished pancakes. You don't want to be waiting, with pancakes ready, for the bacon to finish cooking.

Also, make sure to crumble up the cheese before you start cooking the pancakes. It's so much quicker to just grab a handful of cheesy bits and sprinkle, rather than taking time with crumbling. More to the point, your pancakes will stay hotter and fluffier!

The recipe is incredibly simple and will make six pancakes of approximately six inches each. I use a pan that is the perfect size for each pancake. It takes slightly longer doing them one at a time, but it's easier to measure out the batter and ensures one isn't burning while your attention is on another. Right then, to the recipe!


Ingredients :

250g streaky bacon
200g Cheshire cheese (or any white crumbly cheese)
300g self-raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 small eggs (discard half the white of the second egg if using medium or large eggs)
450ml milk
10-15g melted butter
200g blueberries
light vegetable oil or a low calorie cooking spray
maple syrup to taste.

Method :

Begin by lining the inside of a large baking tray and the outside (or reverse) of a slightly smaller baking tray, with silver foil. Lay each rasher of streaky bacon onto the large baking tray until the tray is covered or the bacon runs out! Place the foil covered side of the smaller baking tray on top, to sandwich the bacon between the trays. Place into a 180degF/350degC/Gas 4 oven for 20-25 minutes.

Crumble the cheese into a bowl, making sure to have both larger chunks and smaller pieces.

Next, for the pancakes, place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and stir together.

In another bowl, add the egg(s) to the milk and beat until combined.

Melt the butter in the pancake pan.

Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in half the egg/milk mixture. Stir with a hand whisk until combined, then add the remains of the egg/milk mixture. Again, stir in until combined and the batter is lump free.

Add the melted butter to the pancake batter and whisk it in until well combined.

Stir in 150g of the blueberries.

Heat the pancake pan (which should still be buttery) over a moderate heat and add a ladleful of the pancake batter, making sure to catch a good helping of the blueberries.

Wait - without poking, stirring or otherwise bothering your pancake - until bubbles have formed on the surface and you can see the edges have pulled away from the pan slightly. Insert a fish slice under the pancake and quickly flip it over. The pancake will rise as it cooks and you can slip the slice underneath and lift it slightly to check the colour. Make sure that the pan doesn't become too hot - you may need to turn it down slightly from time to time - or the pancake will colour on the outside but still be wet on the inside.

Each pancake will only take a couple of minutes on each side, depending on how hot the pan is.

Place each pancake onto a warmed plate and cover with a sheet of kitchen paper, adding the next one on top and repeat until all the pancake batter is used up.

When all the pancakes are cooked, serve two to each plate and sprinkle with Cheshire cheese, then bacon pieces, then extra blueberries from the remaining 50g.

For the final flourish, tip a good swishing of maple syrup over the lot and get stuck in!

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