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Weekdays 10am-12:30pm ITV

How to whip up the perfect pancake

It's Shrove Tuesday - so how could we let it pass us by without getting out the frying pan and showing you how to whip up the perfect pancake. Former Great British Bake Off contestant and 'normal mum' Holly Bell is here with her top tips to make your Shrove Tuesday extra sweet for you and your family!

Never fail plain pancake batter

Makes about 7 large pancakes 22cm in diameter

Recipe100g plain flour2 large eggs200mls whole or semi skimmed milk80mls cold water15g melted butterRapeseed or other vegetable oil (but not olive oil)

Method1. Measure the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle.

  • Crack the eggs into the well and add about a quarter of the milk.

  • Whisk well with a handheld whisk until the batter is smooth and thick.

  • Add the rest of the milk in thirds, whisking well after each addition.

  • Add the water and melted butter, whisk well, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. (This stage is important as it makes the pancakes more tender).

  • Heat ½ tsp of oil in a non-stick frying pan (approx. 28cm wide) on a very high heat. Don’t be tempted to add more oil as it deep fries the edges making them thicker and rubbery.

  • Hold the hot frying pan away from the heat then take a ladle (or use a jug) to pour just enough pancake batter into the frying pan to thinly cover the base. Tilt the pan to help the batter run over the base of the frying pan. The first one will always be a bit thicker than the rest – it’s a learning process to see just how much batter you need to spoon in.

  • Place the frying pan back on the heat and wait until the edges start to curl and the centre shows large bubbles – this takes about 40 – 60 seconds. Then shake the pan a little to see if the pancake comes loose. If it doesn’t use a slice or palate knife to loosen the edges.

  • You can either use the slice/palate knife to flip the pancake over or you can have a go at tossing the pancake in the air to turn it. To toss it make sure all small children and animals are out of the way (!) and hold the frying pan away from your body, pointing downwards at about 45 degrees. With a quick hand movement push the frying pan forwards and upwards which will push the pancake off the edge of the pan furthest away from you. Try and catch the pancake!

  • Don’t worry if it falls on the floor or flips over folded. Pancake tossing takes a bit of practice!

  • Fry the other side of the pancake back on the high heat for about 30 seconds, then slip the pancake onto a plate.

  • Add another ½ tsp of oil to the pan and repeat until all the pancake batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm by separating them with non-stick baking parchment and placing them in a low oven whilst you fry the rest.

Spinach & ricotta pancake fillingFills 2 pancakes generously

Recipe200g frozen chopped spinach20g butter1 clove of garlic, crushed250g ricotta cheese½ tsp salt½ tsp black pepper½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg20g parmesan or other hard cheese, grated

Method1. Place the spinach in a microwave proof bowl and cover. Defrost in the microwave according to instructions.2. Carefully squeeze any excess water from the spinach using your hands or by pushing it against a sieve with the back of a spoon.3. Melt the butter in a frying pan on a low heat. Add the garlic clove and fry for 1 minute. Do not allow it to go brown.4. Add the spinach and stir. Then add the ricotta cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Turn the heat up and stir well whilst it warms through.5. When it is gently bubbling remove from the heat and fill pancakes with the filling. Fold the pancakes over like an omelette and sprinkle with parmesan.

NB: You can use fresh spinach instead of frozen. Simply place freshly washed spinach in a frying pan over a low heat with a drizzle of olive oil until it wilts, then set aside to cool. Be sure to squeeze any excess water from it after it cools. You may need to do it in batches as fresh spinach starts off looking like a lot of leaves, but cooks down to almost nothing.

Chocolate pancakesMakes about 7 large pancakes 22cm in diameter

Recipe100g plain flour20g cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate)2 tbsp castor sugar2 large eggs315mls whole or semi skimmed milk20g melted butter1 tsp vanilla extractRapeseed or other vegetable oil (but not olive oil)

Method1. Measure the flour, cocoa and sugar into a bowl, stir well and make a well in the middle.

  • Crack the eggs into the well and add about a quarter of the milk.

  • Whisk well with a handheld whisk until the batter is smooth and thick.

  • Add the rest of the milk in thirds, whisking well after each addition.

  • Add the melted butter and vanilla extract, whisk well, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. (This stage is important as it makes the pancakes more tender).

  • Heat ½ tsp of oil in a non-stick frying pan (approx. 28cm wide) on a very high heat. Don’t be tempted to add more oil as it deep fries the edges making them thicker and rubbery.

  • Hold the hot frying pan away from the heat then take a ladle (or use a jug) to pour just enough pancake batter into the frying pan to thinly cover the base. Tilt the pan to help the batter run over the base of the frying pan. The first one will always be a bit thicker than the rest – it’s a learning process to see just how much batter you need to spoon in.

  • Place the frying pan back on the heat and wait until the edges start to curl and the centre shows large bubbles – this takes about 40 – 60 seconds. Then shake the pan a little to see if the pancake comes loose. If it doesn’t use a slice or palate knife to loosen the edges. (Chocolate pancakes don’t loosen as easily as plain ones).

  • You can either use the slice/palate knife to flip the pancake over or you can have a go at tossing the pancake in the air to turn it. To toss it make sure all small children and animals are out of the way (!) and hold the frying pan away from your body, pointing downwards at about 45 degrees. With a quick hand movement push the frying pan forwards and upwards which will push the pancake off the edge of the pan furthest away from you. Try and catch the pancake!

  • Don’t worry if it falls on the floor or flips over folded. Pancake tossing takes a bit of practice! (NB: Chocolate pancakes are harder to toss than plain ones! They stick to the pan more due to the sugar content).

  • Fry the other side of the pancake back on the high heat for about 30 seconds, then slip the pancake onto a plate.

  • Add another ½ tsp of oil to the pan and repeat until all the pancake batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm by separating them with non-stick baking parchment and placing them in a low oven whilst you fry the rest.

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Weekdays 10am-12:30pm ITV