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one egg
1 scant cup plain flour
whole milk
½ stick (2 oz; 50g) butter

One egg makes enough batter for two (or one hungry teenager). Scale the quantities to suit the crowd, but remember that if you invite too many, the cook won't have time to eat.

You will need a mixing bowl, whisk, frypan and ladle. I warm the oven if I'm going to stack the pancakes, but they're often eaten as fast as they leave the pan. Mix egg and flour, gradually add milk, beating all the while, to make a thick smooth batter. (Better to keep it on the thick side at this point.) Melt the butter in your frypan, and heat until it just stops sizzling and starts to brown (beurre noisette). Add the molten butter to your batter in a slow stream, beating it in as you go. You can leave the batter to rest at this point—some say you should. Cook a trial pancake. Adjust the consistency of the batter—too thick and your pankakes will be thick and tough; too thin and they won't hang together at all.

Success depends on the temperature of the pan and consistency of the batter. Your pan should be hot so that a drop of batter dripped in will sizzle and cook immediately, but the butter should not burn. Adjust your burner as you go to keep your pan at this happy temperature. Your batter should pour like thick cream so it will flow to cover the base of the pan before it cooks. If you use too much batter you will get a thick pancake instead of a lacy crêpe. Start small until you have the measure of your ladle. When you turn the pancake it should be golden brown; if not, increase the temperature slightly.

With the pan at just the right temperature, pour in a measure of batter from your ladle. With a turn of the wrist, swirl the batter to just cover the base of the pan. As soon as it is set, turn or toss the pancake. Cook the other side then stack or serve. If everything goes right you should be able to cook about one per minute.

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