Mix a pancake,
Stir a pancake,
Pop it in the pan,
Fry the pancake,
Toss the pancake,
Catch it if you can.
Christina Rossetti, 1830-1894
First, a confession. My favourite pancake is the traditional one: lemon and sugar. However, there are times when this isn’t fancy enough to cut it and this pancake ‘gateau’ or pancake stack is a fantastic showstopper for a dessert for a Shrove Tuesday dinner party (is there such a thing?), or frankly anytime you want something which looks elaborate and painstaking, but is actually deceptively simple.
Pancakes (makes around 20)
440g plain flour
tsp caster sugar
4 eggs, 2 egg yolks
4 tbsp melted butter (unsalted or salted, whichever is to hand)
1/2 tsp maldon salt
2 pints milk (1.1 litres)
Salted Caramel sauce
75g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
75g golden syrup
125ml double cream
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp salt
500g Marscapone (2 x 250g pots)
To serve: Unsweetened apple compote or mixed berries
Serves: anywhere between 12 and 20 people, slice-size dependent (it is very rich)
First make your pancakes. There are many methods and recipes out there by people far more knowledgeable than me, so if you’d like more information on how to, perhaps check out Mary Berry ’s words of wisdom here. You certainly don’t need to use my pancake recipe - you simply need 20 or so pancakes. Whichever recipe you use however, bear in mind that the first one will always be a dud.
Pancakes made, leave to cool while you make the salted caramel sauce.
Add the butter, sugar, golden syrup and vanilla bean paste to a saucepan, and over a medium-high heat melt them together for 3-5 minutes until golden. At this point add the cream, turn down to a medium heat and stir continuously for a couple of minutes until caramel-coloured and syrupy. Take it off the heat and stir through the salt. Leave to cool for 10 minutes or so before moving on to the next step. (Note, if your caramel sauce ever turns out too thick/hard, just reheat and stir through some additional cream which will sort out the texture.)
Add three-quarters (just measure by eye, it’ll be fine) of the salted caramel sauce into your marscapone. Mix until well combined.
Components made, you are ready for assembly. Place the first pancake onto a serving plate. Smear a thin layer of caramelled-marscapone over the pancake - around a tablespoon per layer. Don’t worry if it covers it unevenly - it’ll all work out over the course of twenty or so pancakes. It’ll be a very thin layer, again this is perfect. Keep layering until the mixture and/or pancakes are all used up.
Just before serving, pour the remaining salted caramel sauce over your pancake stack.
Serve slices of the ‘gateau’ with unsweetened apple compote or some fresh berries - this will help counteract the rich sweetness of the pancakes.
Other options - you could use whipped double cream to stir your caramel through if you don’t fancy marscapone. You could also just use the sauce without the cream, although you may then want some on the side.
Of course, you could buy your pancakes, buy your caramel sauce, and this really wouldn’t take very long to make at all … but where’s the fun in that?