Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Food that looks like wildlife: Hedgehog pancakes

I have a special fondness for Shrove Tuesday. Mr Garlic is particularly adept at flipping pancakes and let's face it, there's little better as a treat in this world than crepes. 

The British Hedgehog Preservation Society sent out a twitter challenge to see who could come up with hedgehog-themed pancakes and I couldn't resist taking part. My savoury entry was definitely better than my pudding entry, but they were both fun to make. The savoury hedgehog pancake was, admittedly, the most time-consuming pancake thing I've ever made. The recipes are below:

Goat's cheese and caramelised onion hedgehog pancake with chive spines

Pancake ingredients
250g plain flour
2 eggs
600ml milk

Filling
Round of firm, strong goat's cheese
Two red onions
Salted butter
Balsamic vinegar

Decoration
Handful of firm chives (as our garden still looks like gardengeddon, we had to buy them)
Peppercorns for the eyes and nose

1. Slice the onions. Melt a generous knob of butter (at least 100g) in a frying pan, preferably cast iron. Over the lowest heat possible, add the sliced onions. 
2. Cook onions for 40 minutes on a low heat, checking and stirring every ten minutes. A sticky residue will start to develop at the bottom of the pan. Every time you check on the onions, stir this back into the mixture. Adjust the heat as you go. You want the onions to cook at a steady pace but you must avoid scorching them. Turn the oven on to gas mark 7 / 220 electricity / 200 fan.
3. Whisk, or preferably blend, all of the pancake ingredients together and set aside. 
4. Place the rounds of goat's cheese (one per person) on baking paper covered baking trays and pop into the oven for ten minutes. 
5. Start to make the pancakes, using butter in the frying pan and about a ladle-full of batter each time. 
6. At 50 minutes (back to the onions), use two tablespoons of thick balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan with the onions still in there. Mix everything together, making sure that the onions are coated in the sticky goo from the bottom of the pan. Season to taste and set aside in the pan.
7. Stack the pancakes on a warm plate as you cook them, covering them in foil
8. To make the hedgehogs, place a round of goat's cheese in the upper half of a pancake. Top generously with caramelised onions and fold the pancake half without any filling into a triangular point. You can then fold the top of the pancake over the cheese and onions. Place another plate on top of the hedgehog and quickly flip both plates together. Remove the now top plate and your hedgehog will be the correct way up with the wrapping parts of the pancake hidden underneath. 
9. Make small holes in the end of the nose and where the eyes should go. Use a peppercorn for each eye and a few for the nose.
10. Use toothpicks to make holes in the back of the hedgehog and slide in chives (cut to about 1.5 inches long)
11. Enjoy your pancake hedgehog!

Ice-cream and chocolate sprinkle pudding hedgehog pancake recipe

Decoration ingredients:
1 blueberry per hedgehog for the nose
Chocolate sprinkles
Silver balls / piping icing in a bag or tube for the eyes
Ice cream (flavour of your choice) straight from the freezer so it's really hard

1. Make the pancakes as per the above
2. Spread a pancake on a plate and put three balls of ice cream in a triangle (pointing towards you) in the top half of the pancake. 
3. As par the above, fold the pancake half closest to you into a triangle pointing at you for the nose and then tuck the rest of the pancake up over the ice cream
4. Place another plate on top of the hedgehog and flip both together. The original bottom plate is now on the top and can be removed
5. Use a toothpick to make holes for the eyes and nose
6. Pipe icing in long lines (reminiscent of spines) along the back of the hedgehog and cover in chocolate sprinkles. 
7. Consume with glee

Happy pancake day!

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