Pink pancakes

by Bee Wilson

Bee Wilson turns an 18th century recipe into a colourful 21st century treat

This recipe was inspired by my Forgotten kitchen article on the 18th and 19th century penchant for food colourings. I have slightly adjusted an Anna Jones recipe, adding some grated beetroot and an extra egg and changing the flour a little. Because I was thinking about colour, I changed her hazelnuts to pistachios, to accentuate the green. But in all honesty, her hazelnuts are better.


250g beetroot, either boiled or—better!—roasted
2 eggs
100g white or spelt flour
100g buckwheat or wholemeal flour
250ml milk
1 tsp baking powder
Oil or butter to fry
Greens such as rocket or watercress
Olive oil
125g goat’s cheese
50g pistachio nuts


Blitz 100g of the beetroot with the eggs, flour, milk, baking powder and salt. Grate in 50g more beetroot. Heat up a cast iron griddle and cook the pancakes in batches of three. They puff up like American pancakes and because of the pink, the heat marks give them an other-worldly look.

When all the pancakes are cooked, serve them, three per person, with the greens, dressed with oil and lemon juice, the crumbled goat’s cheese, the pistachio nuts, the lemon zest and the remaining beetroot, diced.

Marvel at the pinkness. And then eat.

Recipe and images: Bee Wilson