Fraise or froise (sometimes with a ‘z’ not an ‘s’) are pancake recipes that have been appearing in British cookery books for hundreds of years. They go right back to the late 1600s and Hannah Wolley who is thought to be Britain’s original domestic goddess; or, at least, the first woman to make a living from writing about food and the home. Hannah’s first work, The Ladies Directory, was published in 1661 with medical remedies (her real interest) and cookery recipes. It came out shortly after Hannah was newly widowed with four children to support. In her forties she forged a new path for herself as a writer.
Bacon froise feature in her third book – The Queen-Like Closet of 1670. Dices or pieces of bacon are fried and then cooked with batter into individual pancakes which get folded-over like omelettes. Quite a few of the old recipes suggest adding in spice – nutmeg, ginger, or as Sarah Harrison wrote in 1760, “…put what spices you think proper, for in the taste is to everyone what they like”. I add to mine a little cinnamon and nutmeg.
For 3 bacon pancakes:
3 rashers of bacon
60g plain flour
good pinch of salt
half tsp ground cinnamon
a few good gratings of nutmeg
1 large eggs
30g unsalted butter
1. Make the batter first: Sift the flour, salt, cinnamon & nutmeg into a large bowl. Make a dip in the centre of the flour and break the egg into it. Whisk it all up and add in the milk gradually. Carry on whisking until smooth.
2. Scissor the bacon into inch long pieces and fry them in a little butter in a small frying pan (7 inches) until just cooked .
3. Remove the bacon. Melt more of the butter in the pan and when it is fully melted pour the butter out into a bowl. You just want the lightest covering of butter on the base of the pan.
4. Return a third of the bacon to the pan and pour over a third of the pancake batter. Cook until browned on the underside and then turn over – these are not really flippable. Let the other side brown and then remove from the pan. You can either keep the finished pancake warm in the oven until the others are ready, or eat straight away and carry on.