This is just a little recipe which is one of my favourites to cook on Pancake Day, or to be honest any day I’m feeling blue. Then I thought to myself, surely it would be a triumph if I had a nice bottle of wine to go with it. Now obviously you can drink wine whenever you want, I’m not here to judge, but it’s perhaps best kept to the evening. So I added a savoury twist: bacon. Or rather specifically candied bacon to go with some fluffy pancakes and a lovely blueberry compote.
The easiest method I know is the one-cup method. All you need to do is add these ingredients to a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth:
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1 cup semi-skimmed milk
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 large egg
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- Half a lemon
Add a knob of butter to your frying pan on a medium heat and when it’s melted ladle in the mixture to your preference. Cook the pancakes for a few minutes on each side until golden.
Heat the pan with a little olive oil on a medium to high heat for a few minutes and then add the bacon. Smoked, streaky bacon works best. As the bacon is sizzling away, add in a few teaspoons of brown sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. This will caramelise and give a delightful sweetness to the bacon, complementing the savouriness. Cook to your preference, but it’s best crispy. The trick is not to let the sugar burn, so add it with the cinnamon a few minutes before the bacon cooks to your taste.
The Blueberry Compote
This is so simple: add to a small pan a few handfuls of blueberries, or any kind of berry it really doesn’t matter, and add a splash of boiling water on a low heat to get it going. Add in a pinch or two of sugar and a twist of lemon juice for an acidity kick. Let the berries reduce down until the juice is bursting out of them. Ideally you want a few left intact, purely for texture.
Stack the pancakes American style, add the bacon either on the side or right on top and then do the opposite with the compote, you don’t want to make the bacon soggy. Finish with a flourish with either a drizzle of honey, maple syrup or, and let’s be honest if you’re cooking this you don’t really care about the waistline, whipped cream on the side. I suppose you could you use yogurt if you wish.
Let’s think about what flavours we have so far. We have sweetness from the pancakes, the bacon and the berries yet we also have savoury from the bacon as well. Believe it or not the key ingredient is actually the lemon juice in the compote. This creates acidity and gives a whole new dimension of flavour. So we have three primary tastes: sweet, savoury and acidity. The options for wine pairings then are plentiful.
Sauternes: Sauternes is a French dessert wine from the sub-region of Graves in Bordeaux and is a blend of the Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes. What this gives you is a rich, sweet wine with notes of honey and apricots and a light acidity running through it which marries with the sweetness of the pancakes and the acidity from the compote.
You won’t find a much cheaper bottle of Sauternes than this winner from Berry Bros. & Rudd. It has the perfect flavours to match this dish.
Tokaji: The Tokaji wines from Hungary are a great, cheaper alternative to Sauternes as the grapes used, predominantly Furmint, are harvested in the same way. Tokaji can be dry, so look out for the word Aszú on the label as this will indicate a sweet wine. The sweetness of the wine is measured by the number of Puttonyos on the label, with 1 being the driest and 6 being the sweetest. Go for mid-range as you don’t want the sweetness of the wine to overpower the savouriness of the bacon or the acid in the compote.
Well priced, not overly sweet with a good level of acidity. This Royal Tokaji from Wine Direct ticks all the boxes.
Sparkling Rose: Sparkling Rose with a touch of sweetness from France is perhaps the ideal choice here as it offers less sweetness than the dessert wines and is more fruit driven, which complements the compote extremely well. Its acidity also helps to cut through sweetness from the bacon and the pancakes. It is also slightly softer on the palate, so for those who are not too accustomed to dessert wines this is perhaps a good starting point.
This one from Laithwaite’s Wines really fits the bill.
White Zinfandel: This is a slightly sweet rose grape from California that is just beautiful when paired with fruits such as strawberries. It’s another great alternative to a dessert wine.
Again Laithwaite’s come up trumps with this well-priced and delicious white Zinfandel; trust me try this wine with some sweet foods.