Enjoy our foolproof pancake recipe - and six enticing ways to make them better than ever.

It’s Shrove Tuesday, and that can only mean one thing: pancakes.

The numbers are staggering. 52 million eggs are used across Britain on this day – some 20 million more than any other day of the year. And while lemon and sugar is still the go-to standard, other toppings are increasingly popular: Clarks sell 130,000 bottles of maple syrup on this day alone, for example.

Our simple recipe is below – if you want something even easier, our colleagues at Good To Know also have a video pancake recipe – as well as six more adventurous suggestions for pancake connoisseurs.

The basic method

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • oil for frying

Sift the flour into a large bowl. Making a well in the centre of the flour, add the beaten egg and slowly whisk in the milk until the mixture becomes a smooth batter. Cover and leave to rest for half an hour.

Gently heat a heavy based frying pan and when hot, brush with oil. A good trick is dipping a sheet of kitchen towel into the oil and wiping the base of the frying pan.

Pour a small ladleful of batter into the centre of the pan and tilt to spread mixture evenly to the edges. Cook for a couple of minutes and using a spatula begin to ease the pancake from the surface of the pan.

The pancake should come away fairly easily and lightly golden brown. Flip and cook the other side. The first pancake is usually a little trickier than the rest – in between pancakes, lightly re-oil the pan using the same piece of kitchen towel.

For the chocolate lover

This Recipe from Adventures with Chocolate by Paul A. Young (Kyle Books, £14.99) should hit the spot…

  • 25g Venezuelan 100% dark chocolate, grated
  • 200g buckwheat flour, or spelt
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 45g light muscovado sugar
  • 350ml milk
  • 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25g unsalted butter, for frying

Place all the pancake ingredients (except the butter) in a blender or food processor and whizz until a smooth, thick batter is formed. Leave to rest while you make

Top the pancakes with chocolate syrup made by dissolving a pinch of sea salt in 50ml water, adding 250g of maple syrup and then, once it’s simmering, pour the lot onto 100g of dark chocolate, whisking the whole lot together.

Top toppings

Raspberry and maple syrup

Maple syrup maestros Clarks recommend this simple but delicious combination: smother your pancakes with maple syrupy, raspberries, greek yoghurt and flax seeds.

Toffee apple

This one comes from Waitrose: Cut four apples into wedges, and fry in 40g of butter until soft, then add three tablespoons of honey and three tablespoons of light brown soft sugar until sticky and glazed.

Pop on top of the pancakes, and serve with vanilla ice cream and chopped, toasted hazelnuts – pouring over any remaining sauce from the pan.

Seafood pancakes with poached egg

If you happen to be in London and looking for pancakes, Fortnum & Mason have a pop-up pancake restaurant serving (among other things) poached seafood pancakes with champagne and chive sauce. This sounds like the kind of thing that could go horribly wrong if you try it at home; but if you do, please feel free to share how it went via our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Home-made blueberry sauce

This recipe from SeasonalBerries.co.uk looks great: Place 125g of blueberries in a medium pan then cover with 50ml water, 5ml of honey and a few drops of vanilla extract.

Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a low boil and simmer until the blueberries start to break apart. Dissolve a 15ml spoon of cornflour in 30ml of water, and add to the blueberry mixture. Bring to a boil, adding more water if too thick, then cook for 3–4 minutes until the sauce turns thick and glossy.

Whisky maple syrup and pulled pork, or pina colada

The Book Club in Shoreditch has an all-day pancake special on Shrove Tuesday, but their glorious-sounding recipe looks like something you could pull off at home. Drench your stack of pancakes in whisky maple syrup and crispy pulled pork.

If you don’t fancy that, among their other recipes is a pina colada pancake topped with caramelised pineapple rings, coconut cream, a caramel rum sauce and finished off with a cocktail umbrella.