Sunday, 22 August 2010

Pancakes, bacon, maple syrup

The bread won't be ready for the oven until this evening, giving me the perfect excuse to make pancakes for breakfast. These pancakes are based on a recipe from Michael Ruhlman's "Ratio", a book that focuses on the fundamental ratios of cooking. The ratio for pancakes is 2 parts liquid : 1 part egg : 1/2 part butter : 2 parts flour. The great thing about working with ratios is that you can vary the recipe to suit your taste. Ruhlman suggests replacing half of the liquid with buttermilk or home-made yoghurt, or replacing part of the flour with ground cereals or grains for a different texture. I kept things simple, using milk and plain white flour. A raising agent (baking powder) makes for lighter pancakes, and I added sugar and vanilla for flavour. A medium egg weighs about 55g, which gives the following recipe:

Breakfast pancakes

  • 1 medium egg
  • 110g milk
  • 28g butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 110g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
Melt the butter and whisk together with the milk, egg, and vanilla extract. Sift in the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Heat a shallow pan over medium heat, and spoon a ladleful of the mixture into the centre (the above recipe makes 4 good-sized pancakes). Turn the pancake when bubbles start to appear on the surface and cook the other side until evenly browned. Transfer to a warm oven while you cook the rest of the batch.

I used to cook pancakes on a cast-iron griddle smeared lightly with butter or lard, but I've found I get better results cooking in a non-stick aluminium pan with no fat. There's an interesting article over at Cooking Issues comparing the conductivity of cast iron with aluminium pans, where they demonstrate that an aluminium pan heats more evenly, with fewer hot spots. The idea for cooking without fat came from O'Reilly's "Cooking for Geeks": if you have too much fat in the pan, the pools of fat will keep the pancakes from contacting the hot surface and browning evenly. With a good non-stick pan, you can get by with no fat at all - I tried it this morning and this worked a treat.

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