Darina's quick and easy pancakes - a sweet or savoury tea with ingredients you already have to hand

Whisk up a few hearty pancakes from scratch, and flip the script on a sweet, simple favourite with a handful of hazelnuts
Darina's quick and easy pancakes - a sweet or savoury tea with ingredients you already have to hand

Buckwheat Pancakes with Chocolate Spread and Toasted Hazelnuts: a new take on an old favourite

Pancake batter is magical, it’s definitely one of my ‘great convertibles’.

One can make a million variations by just changing the proportion of egg and flour to liquid. White flour can be substituted by buckwheat, chickpea, tapioca, spelt, rice flour — or a mixture.

The liquid too can be varied coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk, buttermilk, even oat milk. Sparkling water or soda water gives an even crisper batter. One can create dairy free, gluten free and vegan versions. 

Half milk and half water result in a lacier crepe. Use less liquid to make a thicker pancake — buttermilk will produce a stack of fluffier American style pancakes for breakfast or brunch.

Super-quick to make and such a brilliant standby, whisked together in minutes with ingredients that pretty much everyone has to hand: eggs, milk, flour, butter. 

The possibilities for fillings are endless!

Dutch Pancakes 

I love this version of the famous Dutch baby which I enjoyed at Reynard restaurant in the Wyeth Hotel in Brooklyn.

Makes 4 



  • 3 free range eggs 
  • 175ml (6fl ozs) 
  • milk 75oz (3oz) 
  • all-purpose flour 
  • Salt to taste 
  • ¾ tbsp clarified butter 




  • 4 slices cooked ham or 8 slices of crispy bacon 
  • 75-110g (3-4ozs) Gruyére cheese, grated 
  • Maple syrup (optional) 
  • 2 tsp thyme leaves 
  • Freshly ground pepper 




  • We use a 25.5cm (10 inch) cast iron pan for ours 


Preheat an oven to 230/450F/Gas Mark 8.

Whisk all the ingredients together for the batter. Melt a scant tablespoon of clarified butter in each of the cast iron pans over a high heat, pour 1/4 of the batter into the hot pan.

Transfer into the preheated oven, they will bubble up. Reduce temperature to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Add a slice of cooked ham or slices crispy bacon and a good sprinkle of grated Gruyére cheese.

Cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the cheese melts. Slide onto a warm plate.

Drizzle with maple syrup (optional), sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves and a grind of freshly cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.

Buckwheat Pancake with Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnuts (pictured above)

Serves 6 

To make the Buckwheat Batter: 


  • 1 oz (25g) butter 
  • 2½ ozs (65g) buckwheat flour 
  • 2 ozs (50g) plain white flour 
  • 1 large free range egg 
  • 6 fl ozs (175ml) milk 
  • 4 fl ozs (110ml) cold water 
  • A pinch of salt 
  • 2 tbsp sugar 


To serve: 


  • Best quality organic chocolate and hazelnut spread 
  • Toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped 
  • Maldon sea salt (optional) 



First make the batter.

Melt the butter on a low heat — cool. 

Sieve both flours and a pinch of salt into a bowl.

Make a well in the centre, add an egg, gradually whisk in the milk and water drawing in the flour from the outside. 

Finally whisk in the melted butter. Cover and allow to rest for 15- 30 minutes.

Heat a non-stick pan on a high heat. Pour in a small ladle-full of batter just enough to cover the base of the pan. 

Cook for about a minute, flip over and cook for a further 30-45 seconds. Slide onto a hot plate.

Spoon a couple of generous tablespoons of chocolate spread onto the centre. Fold in the four edges, once, twice to form a square with chocolate in the centre. Sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts and a few flakes of Maldon sea salt.

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