Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Queen of pancakes

This is not strictly a baking post, but I haven't made sourdough for a while, so I thought I'd amuse you with some pancake stories.
Pancake challenge (nothing to do with the ridiculous ice bucket challenge doing the rounds at the moment) is a challenge I set for myself - to make the fluffiest and also the easiest pancakes ever known to man kind. I want them fluffy - think American style rather than French crepes, and I want them easy - Ms Rantlet aged nearly three and Rant-a-Baby at 11 month don't leave much time or effort for elaborate pancake-making.

We recently went to a wedding in Kent - Buxted Park hotel is highly recommended if you are after a bit of luxury by the way. Post wedding breakfast included made to order pancakes, and thats what Ms Rantlet went for - honestly, she would eat pancakes for breakfast lunch and dinner if I let her. When they arrived, it was a heaven on a plate - a stack of super fluffy golden-brown pancakes drizzled with maple syrup and topped with strawberries. Simply put they were plain awesome! I managed to sneak one bite from Ms Rantlet plate, but that we enough, plus, she wouldn't let me have any more - she gobbled up the whole lot (I won't bore you with stories of what a plate of maple syrup does for a nearly-3 year old). With all that in mind I knew I had to try my best to re-create them.

Also there is another pancake from my past that haunts my dreams - Lemon Ricotta pancakes from Five Points in NYC - the place was recommended to us by a friend on our last visit to the Big Apple, and it was a revelation! Mr Ranty ordered huevos rancheros (and he still scouts every even vaguely American/Mexican place for a version of that breakfast), and I had lemon ricotta pancakes that I can still smell and taste, four years later.
I spent last four years trying to replicate Five Point recipe - kicking myself now for not buying their book, and I spent last couple of weeks trying to make the fluffy American version - as I mentioned, I have no shortage of people wanting to clean up the results of my pancake attempts, no we HAVE been eating rather a few pancakes for breakfast.

I also make Russian mini-pancakes now and then, if we have a canapé party, but they are a bit of fuss, so I have taken to buying packs of them instead. I'd also love to learn how to make Turkish and Indian pancakes stuffed with cheese and vegetables, but that requires a lot of testing and new cooking equipment that I am just ready to invest it just yet. So I shall just stick to sweet pancakes - easy to make and always well received.

Fluffy American Pancakes
150 ml milk
2 eggs, separated
30 g sugar
30 g butter, melted
130 g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar, add milk and melted butter, until everything is well combined. Sift in flour, add salt and baking powder - mix everything together until you have a rather thick, well combined batter. In a separate bowl whist egg whites to stiff peaks, add to the pancake batter and gently fold in - white lumps of egg white are okay.

Fry pancakes on medium-high heat on a non-stick frying pan (or crepe pan if you have one). Add a little bit of butter to the pan if the pancakes begin to stick. Fry on both sides, flip with a spatula - be careful, they get quite hot

I normally make them medium sized - about 15-20 cm in diameter, and they turn up light and fluffy.

The recipe makes 6-7 pancakes, enough for 3 people for breakfast.
Serve with maple syrup, jam or lemon juice and sugar.

Tip: mix the mixture the night before and store it in the fridge overnight - helps if you have little people running around in the morning demanding pancakes NOW.
I store the mixture in a clean milk bottle, so in the morning I just shake the mixture, pop off the lid and just pour the mixture out of the milk bottle and into a pan - easy as!!

This is what they should look like

And this is my youngest stuffing her face with a pancake :)


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
(adopted from Nigella's pancakes)
2 eggs, separated
30 g sugar
120ml milk
250g ricotta or cottage cheese
zest and juice of one lemon
100g self-raisig flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Whisk together egg yolks and sugar, add milk, lemon juice, zest and ricotta/cottage cheese, until everything is well combined. Sift in flour, add salt and baking powder - mix everything together until you have a rather thick, well combined batter. In a separate bowl whist egg whites to stiff peaks, add to the pancake batter and gently fold in - white lumps of egg white are okay.

Fry pancakes on medium heat on a non-stick frying pan (or crepe pan if you have one). Add a little bit of butter to the pan if the pancakes begin to stick. Fry on both sides, flip with a spatula - be careful, they will be quite messy and will try to fall apart

I normally make them rather small - about 10-15 cm in diameter, and they turn up light and fluffy.

The recipe makes 10-12 pancakes, enough for 4 people for breakfast.
Serve with maple syrup, jam or lemon juice and sugar.