The perfect pancake

Time to get down to business again; I have been out of the kitchen for far too long. And what better place to start than the most important meal of the day: breakfast.
 
 
Pancakes are the quintessential breakfast food. Wholesome, filling and simple. Their close relationship to actual cake certainly doesn’t hurt, either. Bill Cosby knows.
 
I have been searching for the perfect pancake recipe for a long time now. Most attempts proved too bland or dry, others required far too much baking powder. And some tried too hard, using exotic flours or spices. Pancakes, in my opinion, should not be fancy. They require pajamas, messy hair, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee, and that distinctive stream of morning sunlight through the kitchen window. That fifty dollar jar of pure premium organic cassia cinnamon has no place here.
 
Enter Alton Brown. His recipe not only sticks to my ‘simple knows best’ principles, but he gives the measurements for the dry ingredients in bulk, thereby making future mornings just that much simpler. Thank you, my good sir, thank you.
 
These pancakes are super moist, even when slightly overcooked. (Okay, so maybe I burned one or two. Hey, it’s been a while since I made pancakes. But as my husband says “That’s not burnt, it’s just extra flavor.”) They were fluffy enough to be soft and bouncy, but dense enough to feel substantial. They were, in a word, scrumtrulescent.
 
I am not a fan of using imitation maple syrup on pancakes or waffles; it’s cloying and fake. I prefer a conservative spread of soft butter, and fresh fruit if handy. This morning, however, I used the remaining juices from a soupy rhubarb pie-gone-awry I made a few days ago. I love finding a good use for leftovers.
 

 

After pouring the batter onto the pan or skillet, feel free to drop a few blueberries or sliced strawberries on top. A sprinkling of lemon zest would be good too, if you’re feeling frisky. But on a lazy weekend morning, that’s not something with which I am familiar.
 
 
 
 
“Instant” Pancakes
courtesy Alton Brown
 
The yield for the recipe for below entirely depends on the size of your pancakes. The wet ingredients produced four 4″ pancakes, perfect for my husband and I. I used a 1/3 measuring cup to pour the batter into the pan. The dry ingredients are said to yield 36 pancakes, but I say it’s more like 12-16. Again, though, it depends on the size of your ‘cake.
 
Bulk Dry Ingredients
6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
 
Combine all ingredients and whisk to combine. Store in a tightly sealed container for up to three months.


Wet Ingredients

1 cup “instant” pancake mix

Directions
Preheat an electric griddle to 350 degrees, or a frying pan on medium-high.

Combine egg white and buttermilk in a small bowl. Whisk thoroughly.
1 egg, separated
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter

Combine egg yolk and melted butter in another small bowl. Whisk thoroughly.

Add both mixtures together and whisk to combine.

Add pancake mix to large bowl. Pour wet ingredients on top and stir gently, just enough to bring it together. The batter will be lumpy, and that’s okay.

When a few drops of water dance on the skillet or frying pan, you know you’re ready to go.

Very lightly butter or oil the pan. Ladle desired portions of the pancake batter into the pan. Now’s the time to add fruit, if desired.

When the sides of the pancake begin to set and the griddle/pan side is golden brown, gently flip. Continues to cook 2-3 more minutes.

Serve immediately or cover and place on a towed-lined baking sheet in a 200 degree oven for up 20 minutes.

Note: I have also made these without separating the eggs, just adding all the wet ingredients at once, and the pancakes still came out great. Whisking the egg whites is intended to produce a crisper crust, but honestly, I didn’t really notice a difference.

“Simplicity, of all things, is the hardest to be copied.” Sir Richard Steele


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *