Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Canisha's blueberry pancakes.

When I mentioned her in my first post at this weblog on Sunday 9 November 2003, she was six, almost seven. She will turn eleven next month.

Canisha and her younger sisters visited last week. She read books to William. It seems not so long that she was as young as he, and we read books to her. She is William's niece; William's much-older-brother's eldest daughter.

During the afternoon, we cooked and ate blueberry pancakes.

Blueberry pancakes.

I do pancakes by consistency. I never measure the ingredients, but mete out milk to the point at which the batter runs like honey on a hot day. Is that exact enough? Of course not. What honey? How hot the day?

Never mind. Pancakes are rarely tripped up by the recipe; more often by the pan. They can stick. I try to pour the batter into the half-tablespoonful of oil I add to the pan, so that it pushes the oil outwards like a concentric wave and creates a barrier. This usually works but sometimes doesn't.

I once bought a non-stick pancake pan; but the pancakes didn't sizzle, they just kind of cooked silently and sulkily and the results seemed somewhat rubbery and were devoid of that fine tracery of sear that results from the pancakes sizzling on the pan.

Place a cup of plain flour in a mixing bowl. Break an egg into it. Add a cup of milk. Stir. Add more or less milk depending on how thick or thin you like your batter and, ultimately, your pancakes.

Open a can of blueberries and place them in a pot with their juice. Heat. Add a tablespoonful of butter. Stir until melted and blended and slightly reduced.

Heat your pan, add half a tablespoonful of oil and immediately pour the batter into the oil. I pour in enough batter to result in pancakes of about eight inches in diameter. (This is a complex mathematical formula involving the speed of outward advance of the batter and the heat of the pan; but since I was no good at mathematics, I originally kind of played hit and miss until I got it right - 40,000 pancakes later - and then I just kept doing what I was doing after that. Slight exaggeration on the numbers, as usual.)

Jerk the pan to free the pancake from sticking. You may need assistance with an implement until you are expert; then it becomes second nature. Later, you can even learn to assess exactly the right time to flip the pan. This is usually when sufficient little airholes have appeared at the top of the batter. Too early and it's batter splatter; too late and the first side is burnt. But it's a lot of fun learning.

Flip it over and a minute later it's done. Flip it onto a plate and it's plain sailing after that and the pancakes pile high. You do need to watch the heat under the pan, however.

Two pancakes to a plate, blueberry sauce over the top. Maple syrup on the side to pour as necessary. Scoop of ice-cream if you wish.


Anna said...

Mmmm, delish. One of the things I really DON'T like about working 7 days a week is missing out on my Sunday breakfast.

I also like to add a dash of vinegar to the cup of milk to sour it before adding to the flour and egg. I think it's amazing how many variations exist for the simple pancake recipe. And 99.9% of them are good!

kitchen hand said...

Anna, you can't go wrong with pancakes, apart from burning them. Likewise I used to add lemon juice to milk before combining it with flour when making scones.