Queen Elizabeth II has always been known for her elegant sense of style and her sophisticated palate. But it turns out that the British monarch also has a tasty secret up her sleeve- her very own pancake recipe– aka drop scones! The recipe, which was released to mark the monarch's 91st birthday, has been shared thousands of times on social media and hailed as “the best pancake recipe ever.” If you're looking to make a batch of royal pancakes for yourself, here's what you need to know.
What Are Drop Scones?
These Drop Scones are another name for the pancake recipe Queen Elizabeth II used when hosting at her castle in Balmoral, Scotland over the years. She is particularly known for sharing the recipe with others, as it was a favorite of hers. It's said that she served these Drop Scones at tea time. She is also known for serving them to then president Eisenhower and his wife in 1960. She later sent them the recipe, which is now in the National Archives. You can view it online here.
If you're not familiar with the customary English Tea Times, there are several. Tea may be served in the morning, around 11 am, with a light snack such as a scone or muffin. Afternoon tea is traditionally served at around 3-4pm. More of a variety of foods are served. You might enjoy small sandwiches, macrons, biscuits or other treats, and of course hot tea. These customs originated in the 1800's, and of course vary much today.
Queen Elizabeth's Pancake Recipe:
The first thing I noticed when reading this popular recipe is the presence of cream of tartar on the ingredents list. This is sure to give it a signature texture, I thought! Usually we don't see cream of tartar in traditional pancake recipes here in the US. It's often used to create a silky smooth texture in certain desserts. Some sugar cookie recipes call for cream of tartar, as well as egg-based or egg-white based confections and frostings.
The other ingredients are straightforward- eggs, milk, melted butter, and “bi-carbonate of soda”. Bicarbonate of soda is known in the US as baking soda. You will also need Caster Sugar.
Caster Sugar is type of finely ground granulated sugar. You may be able to locate it in larger grocers in the US, and may be labeled Superfine Sugar. If you cannot find Caster Sugar, you can substitute with granulated sugar, 1:1. There are several tricks you can use to help your granulated sugar act more like the finer Caster Sugar in your recipe:
- Blend/beat in the caster sugar with your egg whites, using a hand mixer. This allows the sugar to dissolve. This is common way of adding sugar to meringue, so it allows your egg whites to “fluff” up a bit.
- In a separate bowl, mix just the butter and egg. You will need to make sure the butter is room temperature for this method, rather than melted. Blend the granulated sugar into the butter with a hand mixer until the sugar is disolved. The butter will be “creamed” or light and fluffy in consistency. You can then fold the butter and sugar into the rest of the ingredients.
*Please keep in mind these substitutions may change the final product! Definitely look for Caster Sugar if you want to make this recipe true to the original!
How To Make Drop Scones:
This recipe serves 16 people, so keep in mind the spoonfulls of batter for these pancakes should be very small. Typical pancakes require 2-4 Tablespoons of batter, but for these we would start with a 1-2 Tablespoon of batter to ensure they are not oversized. And, since the recipe calls for teacups of flour, this needs to be converted. In general, a teacup is equal to 6 ounces (per customary system).
Since ounces are a weight or liquid measurement, converting to 3/4 cup of flour isn't exact. You can weigh your flour, to be specific, or just use the common rough assumption that 1 dry cup measure equals 8 ounces. So you should be able to use 3/4 cup of non-packed flour for this recipe. Conversions are listed in the printable recipe below. You can also read substitution instructions for using granulated sugar instead of caster sugar. Enjoy!
Images Via Canva
- 4 teacups All purpose flour (about 3 8-oz cups of flour)
- 4 tablespoons Caster sugar (Substitute Granulated sugar 1:1 if needed). See note in post.
- 2 teacups milk (1.5 cups)
- 2 Eggs
- 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
- 3 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
- 2 tablespoons Salted Butter, melted
"Beat eggs, sugar*, and about half the milk together.
Add flour, and mix well together, adding remainder of milk as required.
Also [baking soda] and cream of tartar.
Fold in the melted butter."
*If substituting with granulated sugar for the Caster sugar, we recommend separating the egg white into a small bowl, and beat granulated sugar into the egg white with a hand mixer until sugar is desolved. Add to the other ingredients before adding the baking soda and cream of tartar.
Additoinal note- For best results, beat ingredients together until all are a smooth consistency, and do not allow batter to sit before adding spoonfuls to a hot skillet. Turn and cook on the opposite side as soon as you see bubbles in the batter. Remove and serve with powdered sugar, or maple syrup.
Amount Per Serving Calories 164Total Fat 3gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 30mgSodium 193mgCarbohydrates 29gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 5g