Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Baked pancake roll with pear and brandy sauce

Lockdown Recipe of the Day: Baked pancake roll with pear and brandy sauce
Gordon Wright’s baked pancake roll. (Photo: Sean Calitz)

Now that NDZ has taken a bit of a chill pill and we can get a little booze into the cabinet, I thought it would be a good idea to break out this old favourite from my first cookbook, Veld to Fork (Struik Lifestyle).

When I still had my restaurant in Graaff-Reinet, I used to explain this decadent desert to my patrons along these lines of, “This is the sort of pancake you are highly unlikely to find at a church bazaar.” It is quite complicated to make but, once you get it right, you will see that it’s actually brilliant and not as tricky as it seems.

You can also store the pancake roll in the freezer and take out and cut off thick slices as you need to and dependent on how many people you have around.

There are three parts to this recipe and all need to be prepared individually before combining them. The bonus here is that you can do the prep work well in advance and just put everything together quickly at the last minute for a really showy dessert.

Makes enough for 4-6 people. (Just double up on the recipe if you need more.)

Part 1: Pear sauce


2 hard pears – nicely sliced, not too thin. (About the thickness of a fingernail)

½ cup sugar

¾ cup good brandy


Caramelise the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan until nice and golden brown. Add the pear slices and stir gently to ensure the slices don’t break. Once mixed together, add the brandy and simmer for 5-8 minutes until the sauce becomes nice and syrupy. Set aside.

Part 2: Pancakes


200 ml cream

300 g cake flour

650 ml milk

65 ml brandy

6 eggs

120g sugar

Pinch of salt


Sift the cake flour, salt and sugar together. Whisk eggs well and add ¼ a cup of milk with the eggs. Add the brandy.

Slowly add cake flour and then add the rest of the milk and cream.

Whisk together until the batter is the consistency of thickish cream.

Once the batter is ready, make batches of nice thin pancakes in a suitable pan and set aside to cool.

Part 3: Pancake filling


300 ml milk

85 g cake flour

135 g sugar

Pinch of salt

10 g butter

2 whisked eggs


Gently heat the milk (don’t let it boil!). Meanwhile, mix all the dry ingredients together and grate the butter into the mixture and mix together. Slowly add the warm milk. Heat the mixture gently in a double boiler, stirring continuously until it has a creamy, thick custardy texture. Set aside to cool and set.

Right, now comes the fun part.

On a large sheet of cling film (about 30cm by 40cm) place your first cooled pancake, spread a thin layer of the cooled pancake filling on top, then another pancake on top and the next layer of filling and so on and so on until you have a nice pile of pancakes about 10cm high. Carefully roll into a tight long roll – sort of like a Swiss roll – cut the ends off to give a nice uniform end, wrap tightly in the cling wrap and set aside. Continue doing this until you have used all the pancakes and the filling and have a couple of rolls. Place those you want to use in the fridge, to set, and freeze the spares for another day.

Okay, here comes the putting together part.

Once your rolls have set, remove from the fridge and unwrap the cling film. Cross-slice the required amount of portions you need (I like to cut thickish, thumb sized portions), lay them flat on a greased baking tray and give them a little sprinkling of castor sugar. Place in a preheated oven at 180℃ for about 15 minutes, until the edges go all brown and crispy and the top is caramelised.

While the pancakes are baking, gently warm up your pear and brandy sauce and place a dollop on a flat desert plate. When the pancakes are done, remove from the oven, place one on each dollop of sauce, top off with a scoop of good quality ice cream (I like to use cinnamon flavour but you can use whatever you fancy) and serve immediately, with a look on your face that says, “I do this every day, people!”

Splendiferous! DM

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