Sunday, March 9, 2008

Pancakes


I will freely admit that I am obsessed with pancakes. I have no shame in the amount of brain power I spend thinking about pancakes, their construction, their place in the culinary traditions of countless cultures, their versatility etc. I could probably write a blog devoted solely to the noble pancake and still feel like I wasn't giving the topic my true attention.

I don't think I've ever met a pancake I didn't like. I should clarify that: I've never met a homemade pancake I didn't like. I could go on for hours about the sad state of most restaurant pancakes.

Once the moment arises, I'm sure I'll write about the various international varieties that strike my fancy. I'm particularly obsessed with Indian dosas, though I've never been able to make them well at home due to the overall crappiness of my stove.

Though I love our apartment for many reasons, I can honestly say that if given the chance, I would drop the stove off the top of a tall building. It is a well-maintained ceramic-top range, circa 1985. The burners are nearly impossible to control. Once they're hot, they remain hot for an hour, but if they're even a little shy of the mark, they won't give so much as a simmer. The burners are also perfectly flat and smooth, while 99.9% of pots and pans ARE NOT. Do the math.

Regardless, I tough it out and do the best I can with what I have. I generally use some kind of whole-wheat flour. I like whole-wheat pastry flour or white whole-wheat flour (which is a milder tasting whole-wheat). I also like to add stuff like wheat germ, flax meal etc. My little red-headed ball and chain loves it when I make rye pancakes with caraway seeds. (Yes, I know, but don't pass judgment until you try them.)

So these are my typical, every-day pancakes.

Pancakes

Dry Ingredients
1 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
2 tbsp wheat germ
2 tbsp flax meal
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder

Significantly less-dry ingredients
2 tbsp melted margarine (or vegetable oil)
3/4 c soymilk
3/4 c unsweetened flavored seltzer (I like raspberry)

1. Mix the dry ingredients very well in a big bowl.
2. Heat your pan on the stove a pretty high heat (450 F) (med-high). If it's not non-stick, grease it with some margarine or a little oil.
3. Add the not-so-dry ingredients to the dry and mix, but DON'T beat it smooth. There should be little lumps. Just mix it until everything is incorporated. You might need more liquid, depending on how dry your flour is. Whole wheat flour generally needs more liquid than white flour.
4. Drop by 1/3 cupfuls onto the pan (depending on how large you want them).
5. When the edges begin to look dry and bubbles pop on the surface, flip it over and cook the other side.
6. I like pancakes with some kind of fruit. The photo shows some fairly ineffectual canned peaches and a bit of maple syrup.

So there. Starch away.

No comments: