Every year I look forward to pancake day and every year I ask myself (probably like quite a lot of other people) "why don't I eat pancakes more often?". They're so versatile: they can be savoury or sweet, flavoured or plain, stuffed or layered. Whatever form they are always yummy.
[Whenever I'm in Amsterdam I ALWAYS make a bee-line for The Pancake Bakery where you can get full-on pancakes ~18" in diameter and have an entire pancake-based meal: AMAZING!]
This year I knew I wouldn't be able to indulge in a pancake-fest on Tuesday so I decided to make Sunday lunch the focus of my annual pancakey desires and made a tomato and pancake bake (essentially a pancake lasagne without the ragu layer).
I seasoned the cheese filling with a touch (too much) cayenne which invigorated the whole thing. It was pretty good but I reckon you could put some of the tomato sauce in between the pancake layers, although that may take away from some of the cheesy pancake wonderfulness. You could also flavour the pancakes maybe with herbs.
Cheese and tomato baked pancakes (taken from Rachel Allen's recipe)
For the pancake batter
5oz plain flour
4fl oz milk
4 fl oz water
½oz butter, melted
For the tomato sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3tbsp torn fresh basil leaves
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
For the filling:
300g mozzarella, grated
1oz parmesan cheese, plus a bit extra, for sprinkling
1. For the pancakes, place the flour and salt in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, whisking all the time, until the batter is smooth and free of lumps. Add the melted butter and set aside.
2. For the tomato sauce, place the olive oil in a wide saucepan, add the onion and garlic, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover and cook on a low heat until the onions are completely soft.
3. Add the tomatoes and half the basil, leave uncovered and cook for about 20 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and the sauce has thickened. Add the remaining basil and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper and the sugar.
4. While the tomato sauce is cooking, make the pancakes. You will need a total of eight pancakes.
5. For the filling, mix the cheeses together in a bowl, to make a spreadable paste.
6. To assemble, place a pancake on the bottom of a 25cm/10 inch square ovenproof dish, spread with a thin layer of the cheese mixture, top with another pancake and continue assembling, alternating seven layers of pancake and filling. Finish with a top layer of pancake.
TIP: You can cut the pancakes to cover the dish better (if it's not round!).
7. Pour the tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining grated parmesan.
8. Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until the sauce is bubbling around the edges and the centre feels hot when a skewer is inserted.