I don’t eat pancakes too often. Not because I don’t enjoy them, but because I love them too much. But last weekend I decided to indulge in a few. When I do eat the breakfast classic, I want it made from scratch and not a box. I want all the trimmings, too: a good spicy sausage, genuine New England maple syrup, and preferably some French butter.
Put Fluff and Flavor on Your Pancakes
My favorite—Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Fried Apples—calls for buttermilk, ricotta, and lemon zest, which I didn’t have on hand. No matter, because I wanted to try a different recipe, so I could use my new vanilla paste. I had bought some after learning about it at a recent cooking class. It can be used at the same equivalency as vanilla extract. But the paste has a more intense taste and aroma. As a bonus, you get the bean flecks that come with scraping a vanilla bean pod.
I found a basic pancake recipe at Cafe Delites, that got rave reviews. And I had all the ingredients! Minutes later I was swirling eggs and flour, milk, sugar, butter, vanilla and leavening into a creamy batter. The recipe was entitled “Best Fluffy Pancakes” (exaggerated labels used on the Internet usually make me skeptical). But I soldiered on, mixing, pouring, turning, and finally tasting.
Wow! Really good! The edges had a delicate crustiness and a fluffy interior. (The crust came from my using oil in the skillet instead of butter, that the recipe called for.)
7 Tips for Perfect Pancakes
- Use a whisk to combine wet and dry ingredients. A few lumps are desirable.
- When spooned up, the batter should be thick enough, that it runs slowly off the spoon.
- Check the date on your baking powder to make sure it’s fresh.
- For even more fluff, separate egg yolk and white. Add yellow to bowl, but whip egg white until it stands in soft peaks. Then gently fold into batter with a spatula.
- Lightly grease a medium hot, non-stick pan or griddle with a smear of butter. Using oil will make for a crustier edge.
- Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour batter starting in middle and continuing with a circular motion so the batter spreads round and evenly.
- When bubbles begin to form on top, turn pancakes using a gentle wrist motion.