Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Lightest Breakfast Pancakes

My favourite breakfast is probably pancakes. I adore them, drenched, nay, swimming in maple syrup with crispy bacon, fresh fruit and a good dollop of thick Greek yogurt all on the plate at once. So many tastes, so many textures, all at once, yet it works!

I have had a problem though: my pancakes never came out as dreamily light and fluffy as I needed them to be if I was to reach breakfast nirvana. The solution came to me outside the underground station one day though, and so I pass it along: whisk the egg whites. I don't know if this is an original idea, but it has never been an element in any of the recipes I have ever seen. Admittedly, it is an extra step which may seem like a chore on a Sunday morning, but trust me, it's worth it. And it's not like you're making meringues and the consistency is crucial - we're just trying to add a little extra oomph and whoosh of air.

So, to the recipe. I give spoon measurements as I don't weigh anything out when making pancakes. This is supposed to be a nice, relaxing Sunday morning potter in the kitchen, after all. I refuse the tyranny of the scales on these occasions.

  • 2 eggs, carefully separated
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 pint milk
  • 5-6 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • vegetable oil for frying

  • Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and milk, then fold in the flour and salt. Leave to stand for 20 minutes (you can be preparing the fruit during this hiatus, or just drinking a cup of tea).

    Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Beat a tablespoon into the milk and flour mixture any old how (to lighten it slightly), then fold in the rest more carefully. The mixture needs to be thick enough that when you pour it into the frying pan it doesn't spread out to the thinness of a crepe - it should be more like custard than cream - so add the extra spoonful of flour if you think this is not the case.

    Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan. When you think it is hot enough, pour or ladle in enough batter to make a puddle about 3 millimetres thick and 10 centimetres in diameter. If the pan is at the right temperature it will sizzle and start to set immediately on contact. (Since there is no scientific way of knowing whether this point has been reached without testing it, expect to have to guzzle the first pancake yourself without letting anyone else see it is a bit soggy/scorched.) When the pancake looks like it has almost set on top, about 1 -1 1/2 minutes, lift the edge and see how well done the underside is. Once it is golden, flip the pancake over and cook for a further minute. Once cooked through, place on a kichen towel lined plate in a warm oven whilst you cook the rest.

    Serve with syrup, bacon, fresh fruit (mangoes, raspberries and strawberries are all fabulous) and Greek yogurt. Yum!


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