Saturday, 10 August 2013

American Pancakes

My brother Christophe lives in Alberta, Canada and whenever we go and visit they have that lovely weekend ritual of big family breakfasts with pancakes, bacon, maple syrup, blueberries, bananas, strawberries, whipped cream, fresh juice and hot delicious coffee.  We love it so much we try and do it as often as we can, and since we now have our own little family it's a lovely occasion for us, and an extra opportunity to invite people round.

I've got a recipe written in my binder and I'm not sure where I got it, but it's pretty similar to the BBC Food version, and as that's the first one that comes up on Google search I imagine that's where it's from.  But I tend to do it from memory and they turn out well, so that's what I'm going to do here.

This serves 2 adults and one very cheeky little monkey; about 9 pancakes.  We normally double up if we've got guests.

- 50g butter - cooled & melted (I normally melt this first whilst sorting the rest out so it has time to cool and doesn't cook the egg)
- 1 egg
- 130g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (I like to use golden caster sugar)
- 135ml milk
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- extra butter for greasing pan

1.  Whilst the butter is cooling, whisk the egg and the milk together.  I melt the butter in the pan that I'm going to use to make the pancakes so that for the first batch I don't need to re-grease as it'll have some butter residue on it.

2.  In a separate bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.  I think technically you should sieve the flour but I never bother and it's always fine!  But I suppose I should say sieve the flour, in case your flour is particularly clumpy.

3.  Pour the butter into the milk/egg and mix together.

4.  Pour the milk/egg/butter mixture into the flour etc, gently stirring constantly until mixed together.  It's the right consistency if you take a spoonful of the mixture and from about 6 inches up drizzle it back into the bowl.  If it sits on top of the rest of the batter and very slowly eases back into the mix then it should be fine.  If it's too runny add some more flour.  If it's too thick add some more milk.

5.  I like to let the batter sit for a few minutes before using it.  I think there's a technical reason for this but I'm not sure what it is.  Something to do with air bubbles?!

6.  If you have one, turn the extractor fan on.  Hot buttery pans can be a bit smokey and doing it now avoids that stable-door-bolting-horse type scenario.

7.  Get your frying pan (hopefully one for pancakes or one with low sides).  Make sure it's greased with butter for each round of pancakes.  Place on a medium heat - allow the pan to warm up.  My pan allows me to cook 3 pancakes at once.

8.  Using a large serving spoon to drop the batter into the pan will give you a good sized pancake.  Just dump it in one spot; avoid the temptation to drizzle it around.  If it's a good consistency it should spread itself slightly - aim for about 10cm in diameter.  Cook for a couple of minutes - when one or two little bubble holes appear through the batter it usually means it's time to flip them.  You can also tell how much they've cooked through by looking at the side of the pancake.  Turn over with a spatula.

9.  Cook on the other side for a minute or so.

10.  Remove from the pan.  Repeat until all the batter is used up.  You should be able to make 9 or 10 pancakes.

Serve with anything you fancy!  Maple syrup and bacon is my fave.  Be sure to invest in some proper maple syrup and don't be fooled by the cheaper maple flavoured syrup.  You can also plop a handful of blueberries into the mixture before frying your pancakes for a burst of fruity deliciousness; they are lovely on their own or with syrup and fruit.  All very yum!