Pancakes – A Beginner’s Guide
I’ve been avoiding attempting a Scotch/American pancake recipe for awhile because most pictures always present it as a huge portion that could probably feed a family of 6, and I tend to avoid not only promoting but also eating big portions especially for breakfast, but seeing as pancake day is just around the corner I figured I’d come up with and share my own pancake recipe, albeit with a more reasonable portion size. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE pancakes, I just don’t like how you have to make so many at once!
So I normally only cook one portion at a time for myself unless it’s something that has to be done in a large batch like meat dishes or soups, and most single-serve pancake recipes typically call for 1/4 cup unsifted flour… this isn’t enough; if you put an egg in there with the milk it’ll be way too watery and more like crêpe batter than pancake batter. So my recipe uses 1/2 cup unsifted flour which should make about 4 decent sized pancakes and that will serve two people. Unlike crêpe batter, if you store pancake batter in the refrigerator for more than a day the baking powder will most likely lose its strength resulting in very flat pancakes, so honestly it’s best to just cook all of it at once and store leftover pancakes in the freezer to be toasted when needed.
So it’s a good breakfast if you’re on your feet all day, or if you’re just in the mood to enjoy a delicious breakfast from the good ol’ states, or Scotland, although in Scotland they’re smaller and served during teatime instead of breakfast. Otherwise, you could just have it as a weekend brunch and serve it with some yogurt mixed with fruit and nuts, but please use plain yogurt and stir some fresh fruits into the yogurt yourself…
And keep in mind; this is not a diet-friendly recipe. Pancakes are best served drizzled GENEROUSLY with maple syrup, and if you skimp out on the sugar you won’t enjoy them as much. No wonder Americans are so fucking fat…
Ingredients for 2 servings (makes 4 pancakes)
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
90ml (1/3 cup + 1 tbsp) milk
1 tbsp melted butter
butter, coconut oil, clarified butter (ghee) or peanut oil for cooking**
fresh fruit (strawberries, sliced bananas, etc)
1. Start by sifting together your dry ingredients; add flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar to a mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and shake it so all the ingredients are combined. Do not skip the sifting, it’s kind of important.
2. Have your whisk ready at this point. To the mixing bowl add in your egg, melted butter and milk, then whisk it all together immediately just until it all comes together. You want to whisk immediately because if the milk is cold it could solidify your butter.
3. Get a pan*** nice and hot on medium-high heat and lightly grease it with your fat of choice****.
4. Add in about 1/4 cup of your pancake batter onto the pan using either a large spoon or even a dry 1/4 cup measuring cup per pancake, and if you’re using a big pan (which you should, especially if you’re using butter for cooking since the butter will burn if you do your pancakes in batches and leave the pan on the heat for too long) try to plop the batter near the edges of the pan so you can do as many pancakes as possible at the same time.
5. If you want to add any additional ingredients into the batter (blueberries, chocolate chips, etc) do so now. Plop your fresh blueberries or chocolate chips onto the top of the pancakes as they cook and press them in just ever so slightly.*****
6. When the pancakes start bubbling around the outside, lift up the pancakes with a spatula to check the bottom, and if they’re getting nice and brown flip them and cook the other side for about a minute.
7. Lift up the pancakes off the pan and slide them onto a plate. Top with a slice of cold butter and/or fresh fruit and serve drizzled generously with maple syrup.
Serve with yogurt mixed with fruit and nuts for a complete brunch!
*If you’re making several servings, you won’t need to multiply the amount of eggs. 1 egg should be good for up to 4 servings.
**There’s actually quite the debate over which fat to use when cooking pancakes. In my opinion, ghee > butter > coconut oil > vegetable (in my case peanut) oil. Ghee, or clarified butter retains that buttery flavour which is unmatched when it comes to pancakes while remaining more stable at high temperatures than butter itself, but the problem is that it’s expensive, and clarifying it yourself may not be ideal for most people. Butter is second best because of its flavour, but it starts to burn if you’re cooking for too long. Coconut oil is a good choice if you don’t mind your pancakes to have a coco-nutty flavour, which may even compliment the sweetness of any additional ingredients you use, and neutral vegetable oils are basically if you have no interest in adding flavour to your pancakes and just want to take the easy way out, which with this batter is actually perfectly acceptable because it already includes melted butter!
***For the cooking, use a flat griddle if you have one (pancakes are sometimes called griddlecakes because they’re usually cooked on griddles in large batches), just make sure you use a fairly flat cooking pan, and cast-iron is the best choice for material. Since I don’t have a cast iron pan, I use a nonstick pan and it gets the job done, although I’m really not a fan of using nonstick pans above medium heat. I have done pancakes with a stainless-steel skillet before and it works fine, but some pancake bits may stick to the pan and ruin your picture unless you grease the pan pretty generously. So I guess unless you have a food blog, cast iron > stainless steel > nonstick.
****A thin layer, please. Remember we already have some melted butter in the batter. Just take a knob of butter and rub it onto the hot pan and it should sizzle, or do the same thing with a small spoonful of coconut oil or ghee. If you’re using a neutral oil, put a drop in the pan and give it a good wipe with a paper towel so the entire pan is nicely greased.
*****It’s best to do this now instead of putting the ingredients directly into the batter before cooking them so you have more control over placement, and you won’t have to worry about uneven distribution. It’s also good because the blueberries / chocolate chips will caramelize slightly when they make direct contact with the hot pan after you flip the pancakes.
Also, when freezing leftover pancakes, it’s a good idea to freeze them while they’re flat, otherwise getting them into the toaster may be difficult… And if you added in any fruit filling, those won’t really defrost well in the toaster, so give it a blast in the microwave for 15-20 seconds after toasting and they should be good.