Dates in the national diary that focus unashamedly on food are brilliant, so every February we throw ourselves with great gusto into Pancake Day, the age-old Shrove Tuesday tradition of using up rich ingredients like milk, eggs, and sugar before fasting for Lent.
For us, toppings are what make pancakes really exciting. A good fluffy pancake is a great blank canvas, whether you’re keeping it simple with a drizzle of syrup, a rasher or two of bacon, or good old sugar and lemon, or are after something a bit more interesting.
With this in mind, we’ve come up with four simple but incredibly delicious toppings, which are exquisite enough to make this the best Pancake Day you’ve ever had.
Frozen yoghurt, maple syrup & pecans
This has to be up there with the ultimate in sweet pancakes because, like the Italian affogato, the ingredients are minimal but all incredibly distinctive. Maple syrup, for one, is perhaps the ultimate sweet flavouring because, unlike sugar or golden syrup, the flavour it packs is formidable. The same is true of pecans, which bring unique texture and strong flavour to the mix – so after all that, the frozen yoghurt provides the perfect level of subtly sweet creaminess to balance it out beautifully.
Smoked salmon, smashed avocado & crème fraîche
This idea was lifted straight from the savoury side of the breakfast family. Simple but sophisticated smoked salmon, with its delicate taste of the sea, compliments delightfully the natural buttery goodness of avocado (simply halve and de-stone a ripe one before smashing it with a fork) and the richness of the crème fraîche. Although this combination is usually served on toast, when combined with a soft, fluffy pancake, the mix of flavours is a total joy. Top with a grating of lemon zest, a squeeze of the juice, a good pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkling of finely chopped fresh chives.
Mango, papaya, passion fruit & Greek yoghurt
The explosion of colour on this plate is incredible, and that boldness is truly matched by its flavours. The natural sweetness of the fruit is cut through by the lime zest, which provides a sharp, powerful punch alongside the cool, creamy texture of Greek yoghurt. Simply peel, destone and chop the mango and papaya, before mixing up with a few blueberries and the beautiful seedy centres of passion fruit. Spoon over the pancake with a dollop of yoghurt and a grating of lime zest.
Spinach, caramelised onion & Gruyère
This ultra-savoury beauty is full of rich flavours and the heavenly textures of soft, warm vegetables and just-melting cheese. Simply gently fry some peeled and finely sliced onion in a drizzle of oil until lightly golden and caramelised, while wilting a few handfuls of fresh spinach leaves. Spoon over your pancake, top with grated Gruyère cheese, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and some finely chopped fresh red chilli for a wonderful kick at the end of each mouthful.
So, there you have it – four tasty topping ideas to take your pancakes to the next level. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try delving into pancakes made with different flours, like this wonderfully nutty buckwheat crepe. Feel free to experiment with your own combos, too – and share your favourites by sending us a photo on Twitter this Pancake Day!
For more great ideas, check out our other Pancake Day recipes, or have a look at our Pinterest collection below!