Each year, I try to include pancakes in every dish that I make on Pancake Day. I haven’t managed it so far but this year, inspired by a TV program I watched online, I decided to make these. So versatile and delicate, the nests can be filled with anything you want. The original recipe used courgettes, aubergines and more peppers instead of mushrooms, but I changed it because it had to suit my extremely fussy flatmates!
I decided to lay my fillings out in thirds – peppers on the left, mushrooms in the middle and the three cheeses on the right. That way when rolled and sliced each person can choose their favourite combination of flavours!
For the pancake batter
- 200g plain flour
- 250ml milk
- 1 egg
For the filling
- 250g tub ricotta
- Handful of basil leaves, chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 6 slices prosciutto (approx. 85g)
- 125g buffalo mozzarella torn into pieces
- ½ a red pepper diced
- 5 small mushrooms diced
- A handful of cheddar
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 30g parmesan cheese
For the tomato sauce (optional)
- Splash of olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely diced
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- ½ chicken stock cube
- ½ tbsp tomato purée
For the Pancakes
1. Put the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the egg into the well and stir in the milk until you get a mostly lump-less mixture the consistency of single cream.
2. Place a frying pan on a high heat ready to make the pancakes. I have a special pan specifically used for pancakes so I like to get that out. A good pan is the secret to making great pancakes. Grease with a little bit of oil being careful not to burn yourself and pour a ladleful of batter into the pan. Quickly spread the mix to the edges of the pan by tilting the pan from side to side.
3. Leave the pan on the heat for a couple of minutes until the pancake is set, then flip over and cook on the other side until cooked through. Continue with the rest of the mix until you get at least 6. Any left overs can be eaten with lemon and sugar as you cook!
4. Lay three pancakes in a line on a clean tea towel overlapping them slightly and brushing the edges with butter to help them stick together, then make a second layer below the first in the same way so that you have a rough rectangle shape – don’t leave any gaps.
Prepare the Roll
2. Next lay the prosciutto over the top followed by shreds of mozzarella. Try to keep the layers quite flat as it will make it easier to roll.
3. Fry your peppers and mushrooms separately in a little olive oil until lightly browned and sprinkle over the prosciutto and mozzarella. As mentioned above I did mine in thirds to suit everyone.
4. With the long side facing you, use the tea towel gently but firmly to roll the pancake, trying to keep it as tight as you can. Try and roll it onto a chopping board and then use a large knife to cut into 1 inch thick discs. Place each disc flat in an ovenproof dish, scatter over the remaining parmesan and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.
To Make the Tomato Sauce
1. While the nests are baking, place a saucepan on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil, the diced onion and garlic. Leave to cook for a few minutes until softened but not browned. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock cube, tomato purée, a pinch of cayenne pepper and the capers. Season to taste then stir and continue to cook until piping hot.
2. Serve the nests with a good spoon of tomato sauce and a few baby basil leaves.
About Our Expert Contributor
Meg Davies has been an enthusiastic home baker from a very young age. Now at university in Birmingham, she has been studying Food & Consumer Management for two years. She loves to come up with fun & interesting recipes that are easy for everyone to make at home and is in the process of making her own website charting her baking adventures.