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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pancakes - Our weekly indulgence

Every weekend we have pancakes. Usually on Sundays, but sometimes both Saturday and Sunday. Or sometimes we'll have crêpes on Saturday and then pancakes on Sunday. Hm, that reminds me to talk about crêpes next week, I have all sorts of stories about those!

Back to pancakes though. I had never really had a proper fluffy pancake unless I was in a restaurant. I could never get my pancakes that I tried to be fluffy enough. I wanted big, thick pancakes, not tiny, hard little nubbin pancakes. Eventually I gave up.

When I bought Jamie Oliver's Happy Days though, I saw his recipe for USA pancakes. They were fluffy he said. The picture looked fluffy. I started to hope. At the time I only had a handmixer though and there was no way that I was going to stand at the counter and whip egg whites just so I could have fluffy pancakes. (That's right I said it again. Fluffy pancakes. If this was a drinking game you'd be drunk by now.)

When I bought my stand mixer though, I thought, what the heck, I'll give them a try. And a weekend tradition was born. What's great about these is that you can make all sorts of variations and they inevitably turn out well. I think it's the egg whites. Make sure they're nice and stiff.

You'll need:

3 large eggs
1 scant cup of flour (white or wholewheat, doesn't matter)
1 heaping teaspoon of baking powder
a bit of salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of milk/water/soy drink (vanilla flavoured soy stuff is delicious)

Separate your eggs, putting the white in your mixing bowl and tossing the yolk into a separate bowl. Start whipping your whites. It'll take a while.

Add the rest of the ingredients to your yolks. Pay more attention to the consistency than to the measurements. It should be thick and sticky, but not doughy. Add more milk/flour if need be.

Your egg whites should be nice and stiff, but not yet shiny. It'll come from your mixing bowl all in one clump.

FOLD into your batter. The whole point is to have FLUFFY pancakes, so be gentle.

I use an electric skillet set to between 300 and 350 degrees. Splat in some margarine for the first batch if you want, though it's not necessary. Grill until bubbles form, the edges are dry and the bottom is golden brown. Flip, cook until golden brown and then move to a warm plate.

Mr. Oliver suggests all sorts of things on pancakes like corn, blueberries etc. My husband insisted on the corn pancakes at harvest time in September and voted them thumbs-up, so you can give it a try if you want! Just shuck fresh corn and then skim the kernels into your batter. Mr. Man also just tried pancakes with cheese last time. He was okay with it, though I had made the batter quite vanilla-y and he would prefer a savoury pancake with the cheese. Who knew? I'll see what I can come up with next time.

I usually go for the peanut butter, then topped with banana and maple syrup, but that's just me. Maybe I'm old-fashioned. Or maybe, I just love my fluffy pancakes.

As an aside, you can make a double batch and then freeze the ones you don't eat. Just pop them in the toaster oven or the toaster. Almost as good as fresh! I usually put them in between wax paper and then use a Ziploc freezer bag for storage. Needs to be Ziploc, I've found, or they get really dry.

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