A quire of paper

Puddings and cakes

  • Serves: 6
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 10 minutes
A quire of paper - a pile of wafer-thin pancakes © National Trust

A quire of paper - a pile of wafer-thin pancakes


  • 115g (4oz) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 25g (1oz) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Unsalted butter for frying
  • 300ml (1⁄2 pint) single cream or
  • half cream and milk
  • 2 tablespoons medium sherry or Madeira
  • Caster sugar, for sprinkling

Serves: 6


Much admired by 17th- and 18th-century cooks, a quire of paper consisted of a pile of wafer-thin pancakes.

The batter, rich with eggs and cream, was run as thinly as possible over the bottom of a heavy pan and cooked on one side only. The completed pancakes were dredged with caster sugar and laid evenly one upon another until the pile contained twenty. A wine sauce and melted butter were served with the pancakes, which were cut into wedges like a cake.

  1. Sieve flour and salt together into a basin.
  2. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Make a well in the centre of the flour.
  4. Put eggs and egg yolks into the well and gradually mix eggs and flour together.
  5. Add cream (or cream and milk) gradually, beating well until a smooth batter is formed.
  6. Stir in the sherry or Madeira to make a thin cream.
  7. Heat a heavy-based pancake or omelet pan, brush with melted butter and add 1 tablespoon of batter.
  8. Twist the pan until the bottom is evenly coated with batter and cook until pancake is golden brown on the bottom.
  9. Remove from pan or turn over and cook the other side. Keep warm in a clean tea towel.
  10. Make a stack of pancakes, filling them with jam and whipped cream or whatever you choose.
  11. Sprinkle liberally with caster sugar.
  12. Serve hot, cut into wedges, with Eliza Acton's Madeira sauce