Friday, October 23, 2009

Flippin' Fat Pancakes

Fig.1. Big, light, moist and fluffy.

Our Canada magazine is having a pancake contest. If you have an old favorite or family pancake recipe send it in, there are $5000.00 worth of prizes to be won, courtesy of T-Fal. Go to for all the details. The deadline to enter is November 20th, we'll be narrowing it down to 10 recipes, which will be tested, photographed and posted online. The winner will be chosen by the Ourcanada community members-- all you need to do to become a member is visit the web-site and register.
Pancakes are one of the oldest foodstuffs in culinary history. They’ve existed in one form or another since man discovered that mixing water with various ground, whole grains, beans, or rice formed a paste that held its shape.
Today, in North America, we tend to associate pancakes as breakfast fare, but in many parts of the world they are still considered dinner: The French crepe and the Italian crespelle are rolled with such savory fillings ranging from cheese to seafood (although I’ve known the occasional Italian, myself included, who sometime like to smear their crepes with Nutella.) In The Netherlands, a pannenkoeken is a giant, egg-laden pancake that can be stuffed with basically anything the Dutch can think of. In Russia, they have the blini (a personal favorite), which are often served with a dollop of caviar. In Vietnam there’s the crispy and savory Banh xeo, which I usually order with BBQ pork and shrimp.
I could go on and on; every country in the world has their own pancake, instead, holding to the spirit of the contest (which of course I'm not allowed to enter) here’s my favorite breakfast pancake recipe, which I’ve adapted from the gang at America’s Test Kitchen.

Milk and Yogurt Pancakes

The original recipe from, America’s Test Kitchen, calls for buttermilk instead of milk—the buttermilk works equally well but gives it more tang. They also use sour cream, which I’ve replaced with unsweetened, plain yogurt. The yogurt make for a lighter pancake while at the same time imparts the tanginess lent to it by the missing buttermilk.


2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups whole milk
¼ cup+2 tablespoons plain, unsweetened yogurt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-2 teaspoons vegetable oil


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Spray wire rack set inside baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; place in oven. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, eggs, and melted butter. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients; gently stir until just combined (batter should remain lumpy with few streaks of flour). Do not over mix. (Over mixing begins the gluten process which will result in tougher pancakes) Allow batter to sit 10 minutes before cooking. Your batter should be quite thick.

2. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides of pan. (Whipping the excess oil from your pan ensures that your pancakes obtain an even, full, golden brown finish, it’s also based on the assumption that you’re not completely incompetent in the kitchen.) Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter into pan in 4 places. Cook until edges are set, first side is golden brown, and bubbles on surface are just beginning to break, 2 to 3 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes immediately, or transfer to wire rack in preheated oven. Repeat with remaining batter, using remaining oil as necessary. I also suggest you try the pancakes before you slather them with butter and maple syrup, you might be very surprised at how well they hold their own.

Fig.2. Fig and tangerine pancakes; place the fruit into the pancake after you drop it into the pan, then flip carefully. A thin flexible spatula is essential for pancakes such as these.

Fig.3. Chocolate chip pancakes, simply add some chips to your batter.

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