Welsh Pancakes for St David’s Day
Occasionally, CT likes to explore his Welsh heritage. When we woke up this morning, he announced, “it’s the 1st of March, St David’s Day. Why don’t we have leeks?”. Well why not indeed. With Shrove Tuesday fast approaching, pancakes were on my mind and I’d been planning to make some for breakfast, so why not make them savoury. In fact, why not go one step further and make Welsh pancakes.
Crempog, as it is known in Welsh is a small thick pancake resembling a Scotch pancake. It is less sweet and fatty than its better known American cousin, but is normally served with sugar or golden syrup. Traditionally, Welsh pancakes or Crempogau are cooked on a bakestone, rather like Welsh cakes. Sadly, we don’t have one of those, so a frying pan had to suffice. CT reckons that the French crèpes and the English crumpet might be derived from the same word as crempog. As it happens, they are often served on St David’s Day as well as on Shrove Tuesday, otherwise known as Pancake Day. Pancakes used to be made with yeast, but when bicarbonate of soda became widely available in the late 19th century, people switched over as this was more convenient to use.
So rather than sprinkling our crempog with sugar, I made a leek and mushroom chocolate sauce instead. I had a brand new frying pan and spatula to use for the occasion provided by Sainsbury’s, so was looking forward to seeing how all this turned out.
The frying pan worked really well, virtually no butter was required and nothing stuck – result! Although I made the crempogau rather larger than I’d intended, we were both very impressed with them. They rose well and were light and tasty. They were also quite thick. We cut some of them in half and spread with my blood orange curd, which was a very enjoyable way to eat them indeed. The leek, mushroom chocolate sauce was delicious too and also went very well with the pancakes. This made for a filling and fortifying brunch to set us up for our journey to Cotehele for Graft, Sow and Grow which is on today and tomorrow. Perhaps not the best way to celebrate a Saint who was no doubt into abstinence, but I defy St David himself not to have indulged if presented with a plateful of these crempogau.
- 125g wholemeal spelt
- 125g white spelt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- 2 medium eggs.
- 200ml sour milk (can substitute buttermilk or kefir)
- a slither of butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 leek - finely sliced
- 20g butter,
- 2 cloves garlic - finely chopped
- 6 chestnut mushrooms - chopped
- 50 ml double cream
- 50ml milk
- 50g cheddar cheese - grated
- a grating of nutmeg
- 10g of 100% chocolate + a little extra for grating
- a few chives - snipped chives
- Sift the flours into a bowl together with the bicarbonate of soda.
- Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs.
- Stir from the centre out, gradually adding the sour milk until all is well mixed.
- Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to stand for an hour.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan to a medium level, add a slither of butter and drop in heaped spoonfuls of batter.
- Allow to cook for a 3-4 minutes, then turn to cook the other side also for a 3-4 minutes.
- Place on a warm plate and put in a low oven to keep warm until all the pancakes are cooked.
- Sauté the leek in olive oil until soft.
- Add the butter, garlic and chestnut mushrooms.
- Continue cooking for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms look done.
- Add the double cream, milk and cheddar and stir until the cheese has melted.
- Grate in a good bit of nutmeg and the chocolate and stir until melted.
- Spoon the sauce over the pancakes and scatter on some snipped chives and a little grated 100% chocolate.
I am excited to be entering these Welsh pancakes into Karen’s Cooking with Herbs over at Lavender and Lovage. It’s not often I get to combine herbs and chocolate. The specific theme is rosemary this month, but any herb is accepted so these chives will have to do.