Quick and easy Scotch Pancakes (also known as Drop Scones) are light, small and fluffy for teatime or breakfast. Ready in just 30 minutes. With a little rustic chestnut flour and orange for a Corsican twist, these Scottish treats are Ec-corsais!
What’s the Difference between Scotch Pancakes and American Pancakes?
Scotch pancakes, also known as drop scones or griddle cakes in the UK, are not like the usual fluffy stacks of large American pancakes dribbled with maple syrup. Instead, these are much smaller and normally spread with butter and/or jam or curd.
They’re also known as Drop Scones, as the batter is particularly thick (not runny like American pancakes).
American pancakes don’t really have an equivalent in France, as our French pancakes, or sweet crêpes, are much thinner and don’t use any rising agent like baking powder or soda.
Why is it Called a Scotch Pancake?
Said to have originated in my homeland of Scotland, Scotch pancakes are what my family always called them. According to my Collins Scots Dictionary (1995), in Scotland:
“A Pancake is a round flat cake cooked on a griddle, smaller and thicker than an English pancake and usually eaten cold with jam, butter, etc. In England it is known as a drop scone or a Scotch pancake.”
The name of drop scones is due to the thicker batter, which just drops from a spoon on to the hot griddle or pancake pan.
This recipe is Scottish and what my Gran seemed to live on, as they’re so easy and quick to rustle up. Every time we visited her in Edinburgh, the girdle (yes, that’s what they also call it in Scotland) sat pride of place on the kitchen stove. Likewise, on the table, there was a tea towel – filled with Scotch pancakes. I often wondered if she ever got fed up with them, but no. She normally just served them with lashings of butter. Only sometimes we’d see a spoon or two of jam or honey.
Are they the Same as Scones, Pikelets and Crumpets?
Drop scones are not the same as scones that we also make in Scotland – see my recipe for fluffy cheese scones.
They are also not the same as pikelets in the UK, as they are thin crumpets with holes.
However, I see that Scotch pancakes (drop scones) as we know in the UK are the equivalent of what are called pikelets in Australia and New Zealand.
Adding Chestnut Flour to Pancakes
To keep Corsican hubby happy, I came up with an Auld Alliance version, merging Scotland and Corsica in a simple Scotch pancake. The addition of just a little chestnut flour is a typical rustic flour used in Corsican cuisine and easily found in health food stores or the healthy section in supermarkets.
Chestnut flour adds a nutty, rich texture and goes beautifully when paired with orange. If you can’t find it, no worries. Just complete with plain flour – or use a little wholemeal flour.
For more recipes using chestnut flour, check out the new chestnut page from our local French market.
How Do You Eat Scotch Pancakes?
Serve Scotch pancakes (or drop scones) slightly warm, if possible immediately freshly made with a scraping of butter. They also go well with honey, jam or lemon curd.
For a French touch we like spreading on some sweetened chestnut and vanilla spread too – and a clementine or two, just to add some fruit for the day. Also enjoy with the following jams and curd:
- Apricot and Lavender Jam;
- Corsican Fig jam (reduced sugar with orange);
- Spiced Plum Jam;
- Rhubarb and Rose Jam;
- Confiture de Lait with Vanilla (Dulce de leche);
- Camilla’s Granny’s Lemon Curd, FabFood4All;
- Orange curd.
How to Make Scotch Pancakes (Drop Scones)
This recipe is so easy and quick; the batter doesn’t need to rest so they are even quicker to make than regular French pancakes or crêpes.
Made with just simple, basic ingredients of flour, sugar, an egg, milk and a pinch of salt, it’s up to you to add the optional orange and chestnut flour. They don’t contain any alcohol.
- 125 g (4.5oz/ 1 cup) plain/all-purpose flour (or self-raising flour)
- 2 tsp baking powder (omit if using self-raising flour)
- 25 g (1oz/ 3 tbsp) chestnut flour sifted * (see notes)
- good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
- 25 g (2 tbsp) caster sugar
- 1 large egg organic
- 150 ml (4oz/ 2/3 cup) whole milk
- 1/2 tsp grated orange zest organic (unwaxed)
- Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder & salt in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre. Whisk in the egg, orange zest and gradually add in the milk until thick and smooth.
- Lightly grease a griddle/pancake pan or heavy frying pan over moderate to high heat.
- Cook in batches. Drop the equivalent of 4 spoonfuls of the mixture spaced apart for 3 minutes until bubbles rise to the surface.
- Turn the pancakes over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
This recipe was originally published 2 March 2011 but has now been completely updated.