While those around us might try their hardest to ensure our birthdays are memorable occasions, thanks to Uncle Buck, they always remain slightly inferior.
In the John Candy classic, Buck creates a stack of dizzying giant pancakes for his nephew's birthday. To help us make every future birthday just as delicious, Dave Watts, head chef at The Cotswold House Hotel, has given us his ultimate guide to making monstrous pancakes in your very own non-movie home.
Makes 3 giant pancakes will probably feed 10 people
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8-10 minutes per pancake
50cm non stick paella pan
2 x fish slices
300g plain flour
15g or 2 x level dessert spoons baking powder
1 large pinch of salt
200g caster sugar
9 Medium free range eggs
100g melted unsalted butter (if you’re using salted butter remove the pinch of salt)
15g vegetable oil for cooking the pancakes
To finish/ garnish
1kg English strawberries
300g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Good grind of black pepper
200g clotted cream or real vanilla ice cream
Sieve all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl, combine the milk and eggs and whisk into the dry ingredients gradually ensuring not to get any lumps. Once you have a smooth batter whisk the melted butter into the batter. Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile remove the tops from the strawberries and cut in half lengthways. Add the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and black pepper mix gently to incorporate and leave to sit until required.
To cook the giant pancakes
Pre heat your pan; place a little oil into the centre and using a piece of kitchen towel wipe the oil around the base of the pan. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the centre of the pan and swirl evenly to the edges, allowing it to settle and set. Cook on a medium heat for approximately 8 minutes. You might need to move the pan around on the hot spots of your stove to ensure you cook the underside evenly without it burning in the centre, aiming to get a nice golden brown colour just like Uncle Buck's. When you are happy with the colour you will need to get your two fish slices and gently position them as far as you can under the pancake. Be ready for disaster and flip… continue to cook for a further minute or two on this side.
I prefer to serve my giant pancakes in quarters so to finish I place a few large spoons of the strawberries onto one quarter and then fold in half, then another few large spoons of the strawberries onto the same quarter of the pancake and fold that in half so that you get a kind of triangular parcel. repeat this process with the other two pancakes stacking them all on top of each other, finish with any leftover strawberries, as much clotted cream or ice cream as you can manage and lashings of maple syrup. And your face should light up just as much as Macaulay Culkin’s.
Dave Watts is head chef at the Cotswold House Hotel. Rooms start from just £120 per person, with main courses at The Cotswold Grill ranging from £9.50 to £23.00. The Dining Room (fine dining restaurant) reopened in May. For further information, hotel and restaurant reservations, visit www.cotswoldhouse.com or call 01386 840330.