In the UK we have the tradition of Pancake Day. That is a particular day, Shrove Tuesday, when we traditionally eat a thin crepe-like pancake which is most usually served with some sugar and lemon juice. They can be rolled up or folded into triangles for eating, and they are delicious. As we approach Shrove Tuesday I have decided to make some of those pancakes, but also two other things that could also be served on that day, as an alternative.
The first is Staffordshire Oatcakes(I will also do Scotch Pancakes/Drop Scones as another alternative), which are usally served as a savoury item. They originate, as the name suggests, in Staffordshire. Particularly, I think, from the area around Stoke-on-Trent and we eaten in the mornings, served with cheese and bacon, or cheese and sausage, and wrapped up. They are still sold in Staffordshire, and a smaller version is sold in Derbyshire. I believe that workers who had finished a night shift would buy them from hole-in-the-wall shops on their way home. Others would buy them on their way to work, so these were primarily a morning thing.
I think that they will make a great alternative to our traditional pancake and can be served as a savoury or a sweet dish. Savoury as already mentioned, or with any number of other fillings, eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. It is traditional to put the filling on the oatcake and then wrap the filling inside, but really they can be served in any way you wish.
They are actually very simple to make, even though you have to allow the batter to ferment for a couple of hours before cooking the oatcakes in a frying pan or on a griddle.
The recipe I used to make mine was one I found on Joyofeatingtheworld and it worked very well indeed.
I love these oatcakes and have served them for myself with egg and bacon, and also with some strawberries and a little syrup and they tastes great both ways.
If you cannot find fine oat flour in the shops you can simply use porridge oats and blitz them to a fine grain in a food processor.
These are also ideal for freezing if you make a large batch.
Another recipe that is ideal for serving with eggs etc is English Muffins.
- 150(1 1/2cups+1 tbsp) Oat Flour
- 150g(1 cup, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup) plain flour
- 300ml(1 1/4 cups) warm milk
- 350(1 1/2 cups minus 2 tsp) warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3g(1 tsp) instant yeast
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- oil for greasing the pan
- Mix the flour, oats, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the yeast and mix again.
- Add the milk and 200ml of the water into the flour and stir with a whisk until the batter is nice and smooth.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment in a warm place for two hours.
- Stir the now bubbly batter with the whisk to knock it back a little.
- Mix a little of the remaining water into the baking soda and stir to dissolve.
- That the mixture to the batter and stir it in.
- Add the remaining water, or as much as you need to make a smooth, quite thin, batter.
- Heat the fyring pan or griddle until it is hot and turn the heat down to medium.
- Very lightly grease a frying pan or a griddle, using kitchen paper dipped in a little oil.
- Use a ladle to pour batter onto the surface of the pan, turning the pan from side to side to spread the batter thinly and evenly.
- The batter will form holes all over it which will burst.
- When the top is covered in hole and looks dry and dull(a couple of minutes only) flip it over and cook for about another minute.
- Remove from the pan and place on a damp tea towel and fold the towel over onto the oatcake.
- Repeat the process with all the remaining batter, greasing the pan lightly each time.
- These oatcakes can be frozen for use later too.