I’ve often talked about my friend Charlotte’s food on my blog. She is one of the best cooks I know. I’m always stealing her recipes, and she’s still talking to me. Even after making her wedding cake – now that’s a frigging miracle! She is always game for a laugh, as is her husband M, and they both came to my recent 80’s themed birthday party clad in skin-tight black leather get-ups, looking like moody members of Depeche Mode from days of yore. I couldn’t take my eyes off them, they radiated a magnetic and disturbing aura!
Now, these brunchy pancakes are a bloody godsend. Charlotte, of course, got me hooked on them when I went to stay at her house. She got her inspiration from a blog or two, tweaked the recipe a few times, and it’s damned perfection. They are nice and thick, without being stodgy, but have a pleasing bit of ballast to them. These are not namby pamby pancakes. They are even good for you, as alongside the plain flour, they contain wholegrain buckwheat flour and oats. Pretty easy to put together, they’re really pleasing to fry, as they puff up beautifully in the pan. They look like the proper stack pancakes that you dream of when you crave a U.S-style breakfast.
I’m just copying Charlotte’s method below, and you can drool at the pictures. I promise, once you’ve made these the first time, you will be hooked. You can have them with maple syrup, chopped fruit, thick Greek yoghurt – or, omit the sugar from the recipe and pair them with fried eggs, chorizo and avocado, or bacon and maple syrup. To be honest you can eat them with just about anything. A great thing to do is to make up the mixture the night before and store it in the fridge overnight. That way, if you wake up hungover or sleep-deprived, you can just get frying straight away without much mucking about. A bonus as well – kids seem to bloody love ‘em. My fussy toddler will eat about nine of these in a row (she doesn’t eat very much else) and they store beautifully in the fridge and can be eaten cold as a snack. Breakfast nirvana!
Over to Charlotte’s recipe…
Serves 2 hungry adults plus a toddler. If there are 3 or 4 adults, plus a couple of toddlers, double the recipe and you will have plenty.
You will need:
1 cup milk (I use full fat)
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white wine vinegar
3/4 cup oats – porridge or jumbo
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Generous pinch salt
1 tbsp brown sugar (I usually omit this, as the taste is still fantastic without the sweetness, especially if I want savoury accompaniments to the pancakes)
1 large egg
1 tbsp melted butter, plus more for frying
A neutral oil such as sunflower or grapeseed
In a medium bowl, combine the milk with the lemon juice or vinegar and leave for five minutes – you are making a quick, cheaty buttermilk substitute. Add the oats to the ‘buttermilk’ and soak for as long as your pancake-hungry hordes will allow – I think I left mine for about twenty minutes. (One of the recipes I found online said to soak them overnight – maybe this makes the pancakes even more delicious, or perhaps easier to digest – but twenty minutes is fine.)
Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into another bowl. Have a coffee. Beat the brown sugar, the egg and the melted butter into the oat mixture and then gently stir the wet mix into the dry ingredients – stop as soon as soon as you don’t see any more streaks of dry flour (the less you mix, the lighter your pancakes will be – for more pancake-making tips, see here).
Heat your best frying pan (non-stick or cast iron) over a medium heat. Add a drop of oil and a pat of butter, and when the butter is foaming, spoon big spoonfuls of batter into the pan. Wait until you see lots of bubbles on the surface of the pancakes, then lift up the edge of one – if they are a nice golden brown, flip them over. They will cook much more quickly on the second side. You might have to adjust the heat to get the requisite golden-brownness and crispy edges.
Serve the pancakes straight away, or keep them warm in a low oven. We have also found that they reheat really well the next day in a toaster, but take no responsibility for any long-term damage that the toasting of previously fried foods may cause to your electrical appliances.
Here in Oz, we call puffy little pancakes ‘pikelets’. They’re one of the first things you learn to cook, and they’re not so much a breakfast food as a just-home-from-school-muuuuuum-I’m-starving food.
This is a classic, basic recipe…
I think the only difference to a pancake is self-raising flour (instead of plain) and less milk. You generally put butter and golden syrup on them.
When I was a kid, there was an annual agricultural show/fair in my home town. The whole town would enter competitions- flower arranging, cooking, growing big veggies, woodcraft etc. In the kids section, one of the competitions was “plate of six pikelets”. You’d try to perfect your recipe and technique to create six, perfect matching pikelets.
You’d strive to beat the other 8 year olds’, wow the judges and win yourself a handsome $2…
I can just picture you there, Philip, with your perfect pikelets on a plate, stealing everyone’s thunder at the agricultural show! Brilliant. Pikelets – who knew? Certainly not me. xx
Too kind, Allan! Most forgetful cook you know more like… When I read your post I realised I’d been leaving out the cheaty buttermilk step and thought “ah that’s why they haven’t been quite the same lately” – then promptly forgot the bleedin egg! Ah well, they were still tasty – it’s a very forgiving recipe… Savoury version is a great idea, will give that a try.
Pip, I love the thought of your 8-year-old self determined to see off all competition in the pikelet comp.
They are sooo good heated up in the toaster, Charles! Even 5 days later! Quite difficult to fish out, though…Ax
Oh yeah, and this is actually pretty useful info:
Although I suspect that adding something acidic (lemon, yoghurt, buttermilk) would also assist with rising banana-based stuff. I think the acid counterbalances the alkaline in the bananas, and that alkaline inhibits rising agents (OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT!)
Yum, a banana pikelet sounds like something I need in my life.
PS. Another great use for pikelets is buttering ’em, and putting em in kids lunchboxes.
Oh totally, great idea. I had my pancakes the other day served cold with cheese and chilli sauce on them – frigging yum.