I’ll be very honest with you – if you think pancakes are easy to make then you should ask me this about a year ago. Believe it or not, not till recently, I was a person in her early thirties and still not able to make those fine pancakes. And yes, I know even children can make them. That is why now I so proudly add this recipe and lovely experience here, among the first of the “Easy Starts” recipes. Because after a few months’ time practice, I can say I can make them, with no problems. And they’re beautiful and taste wonderfully.
I had always felt uneasy about making them, be it crêpes – the thin French – style kind, also very commonly made in the country of my origin, Slovakia, as well as the thicker, fluffier American – style kind. Nowadays I prefer making the latter kind, simply because I don’t really bother myself with the perfect shape, and we just love the thicker texture more.
Add some Golden Syrup and fresh fruit, and you have a portion of instant heaven right there on your plate.
My biggest concern has always been not burning them, not have them stuck to the pan and the taste, after all, too. Although I could make you lovely fish curry or Thai noodles or make some nice layered chocolate cake, I was still not able to make pretty ones – and prettiness has been one of attributes I take pancakes naturally with. Then it came to fluffiness and softness.. and how they should melt in your mouth when you taste them. I could never wait till I got the first one off the pan, and most usually it was a kind of poor and raggy looking something, and the second one always but always burnt.
And so it went on for years. Always the same. I made them, on occasions, but despite me loving them, I could never come to perfecting them. But then, something happened. I came to a recipe by Jamie Oliver, a simple one – and I loved the ‘cup’ idea. It was different from my usual source – Granny or Auntie.. it was much much easier.
So I gave it a try. And if you think it was the first other than family pancake recipe, then no – I tried many others, I was just not happy with them. Jamie’s recipe is ever so simple, and truly, with my own tiny amendments, and as I mentioned earlier, after a few months’ “training”, even this desperate, now in her mid – thirties woman can proud herself with gorgeous, velvety golden darlings that she and her family can enjoy not on the mornings, as we did many times this past winter but truly, anytime you like.
One of the beauties of this recipe is also the fact that it definitely is not time consuming, and actually, it can save you some. If you make the basic batter and then leave that in a bowl, or an air tight plastic container, as I usually do – I even bought a special plastic bowl for this purpose, although it is originally meant for salads, it keeps my wet pancake mixture nicely for the next morning, or even a day after.
a cup of flour, self – rising, but I used plain as well when I ran out of the former one. And think of this measure: 1 cup = 250 ml = 8.45 fl oz. However, to be honest again, I keep using my “favourite” cup, and till this day I haven’t measured how much liquid in ml it takes – who cares?? If you like to be precise, then keep the above measures in mind though.
Mix with 1 cup milk, I use whole milk, but you can do with semi – skimmed perfectly well. Add 1 egg, I use medium size free range eggs, pinch of salt and my secret ingredient is 1 tsp of Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean Paste – and with this one I use the fine quality kind. It may cost a bit more than the usual, regular vanilla essence, but why not? – it can stay open for quite long and you notice the difference once you put the first dollop of your batter on that hot pan. Something nice will happen then in your kitchen, something that turns the gloomiest morning into the warmest friendliest space in your county. Close eyes. Breathe in. Smile.
As to the pan, keep it hot, and before you ladle your pancake batter in it, let a small knob of butter melt first. The time runs with them – be quick, you’ll see you have this breakfast ready really soon. Keep them cook on one side for a couple of minutes, and once you see them go golden on the bottom, and notice tiny bubbles of air create on top side, flip them over and let cook, but a bit shorter this time. It takes less than five minutes to fill a plate of hot pleasure. The Little Person loves them, too, and often asks for them. Some friends asked me how come I find the time to make them for his breakfast, and still be on time for school – I believe it is merely because this one recipe truly is easy and fuss free – which may sound like a terrible cliché, but give them a try and you’ll see. Especially recommended for those aspiring pancake makers, who wish to be able to make their own before they reach their thirties. Another smile.
Here is the link to wonderful Jamie Oliver’s “Breakfast Pancakes”, which inspired me, and which I amended slightly. After all those years, of ‘ oil / no oil’, ‘sugar / no sugar’, ‘this and that’ amount and kind of recipes, his is my “hero” – for its simplicity and time saving character.. And as I said, complement them with Golden Syrup, or honey, and don’t forget a handful of blueberries, or sprinkle some refreshing lemon juice and some freshly grated zest.. and there you are, just fantastic! Wink.