Perfect for Pancake Tuesday (that's Shrove Tuesday on the Christian calendar) or Sunday breakfast, this is my mother's recipe for light and fluffy pancakes, either buttermilk pancakes or sweet-milk pancakes. Especially for new cooks, the recipe includes lots of pancake tips and tricks.
"Awesome recipe! ... So nice and fluffy! " ~ Anonymous
On Mardi Gras calendars, the Tuesday before Lent is is "Fat Tuesday". On Christian calendars, that same Tuesday is "Shrove Tuesday," the day before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, the day that we plant Lenten Grass.
But on culinary calendars, that Tuesday is "Pancake Night" – the one night a year when tradition moves pancakes from the breakfast nook to the supper table.
We're agreed, right, that pancakes deserve a place at the table more often? So, you know, how about Tuesday?! Make Tuesday night your family's Pancake Night!
Pancakes are just so quick and easy to make! They're made from pantry ingredients so they're cheap too. For dinner, you might want to add a little protein like eggs or Canadian bacon (or for something indulgent, smoked salmon). But no matter, fire up the griddle, people, it’s time for supper and pancakes it is.
This recipe includes lots of tips and extra detail to help new cooks produce light and fluffy pancakes the first time and every time. Don’t worry, pancakes are as easy as pie – hey wait, pancakes are "way easier" than pie. You’ll learn how to make them in no time.
"Sweet milk" is what regular milk is called, distinguishing it from buttermilk or sour milk. If you like the flavor and lightness of buttermilk pancakes but are out of buttermilk, just add a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of sweet milk. This is called "soured milk". If you have extra buttermilk on hand and are looking to use it up, check these recipes calling for buttermilk.
I’ve made pancakes with 100% white whole wheat flour. It works fine but do add another tablespoon or two of milk and know that the color will be slightly off.
My mother always used dried milk powder to make the milk. Just mix 1/3 dried milk powder into 1 cup of water.
No pancake griddle? Use two or three skillets at once, two pancakes per skillet.
If you like, transfer the pancakes onto a serving platter to keep warm in the oven. That said, really, there’s nothing like the fluffiness of a pancake straight from the skillet so maybe on Pancake Night, people need to eat in shifts!
If the skillet’s not hot enough at first, the first one or two pancakes will look pale but taste fine.
Hot plates keep pancakes hotter! Two of my favorite cooks insist on warming plates in the oven and I’m beginning to see the light. Before making the pancake batter, put the plates in the oven on the lowest-possible temperature. Be careful – chances are, you’ll need a hot pad to remove the plates.
MOM’s PANCAKE RECIPE
Time to table: 20 minutes
Makes 9 medium pancakes
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk or 1 cup "sweet milk" (see TIPS)
- 2 tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola, coconut or another neutral oil, that means no olive oil)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 125g
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- If using buttermilk, 1 teaspoon baking soda
- If using sweet milk, 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Oil or butter for the griddle or skillet, just a touch
In a medium bowl, use a wire whisk or a fork to whisk the egg until frothy. Whisk in the buttermilk or milk and the oil. Measure the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda or baking powder onto the top of the egg mixture but don’t mix them in. Then, with a fork, mix these ingredients together, just by fluffing them around a bit, but still without incorporating into the egg mixture. Now whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture, but just until combined. Don’t worry if some bits of flour are visible, better to not overmix.
While mixing the pancake batter, heat the griddle or a large skillet on medium heat. (If using a nonstick electric griddle, set at 325F/160C.) Lightly brush with just a little oil or butter. When the fat is hot (it should sizzle when drops of water are flicked off your fingertips into the skillet), fill a quarter-cup measure and drop onto the griddle, spreading the batter a little if it doesn’t flatten out by itself. Repeat until the griddle is full, leaving space between the pancakes to allow for spreading.
Without moving the pancakes, cook until the first sides are golden brown, about 2 – 3 minutes. (How to tell if the pancake is getting brown, if you can’t move it to look? The edges will get slightly crispy. And see those bubbles that form in the batter? When they "pop", the pancake is ready to be turned. Or, okay, okay, gently lift a corner with a spatula to see for yourself, no harm, no foul.) Flip the pancakes over and cook another minute. Transfer to a serving plate, drizzle with syrup and dig in!
SO MANY PANCAKE VARIATIONS!
Blueberry Pancakes – Drop a few fresh or still-frozen blueberries onto the top of each pancake when first put into the griddle.
Poppy Seed Pancakes – Add a splash of vanilla and a tablespoon of poppy seeds to the batter.
Pancake Gashouse Eggs – Remember Gashouse Eggs? At lunch yesterday, a friend mentioned how his mother made Gashouse Egg Pancakes. She'd put the pancake batter in the skillet, clear out the center a bit and drop in an egg. Voila! Gashouse Eggs made with pancakes!
Cottage Cheese Pancakes – I love these light and rich, low-carb and protein-packed Cottage Cheese Pancakes.
Pancake Mix – My dad reminds me that in later years, Mom relied on Hungry Jack as her favorite pancake mix. It's a funny story, how she came to this, it's told here.
Pancake Family – Turns out, we're a pancake family! My sister has perfected her recipe for many years, especially developing tiny, small, medium and large batches for different sized family groups. I think you'll love her Lifetime Pancakes.
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