September 26th is ‘National Pancake Day’. I do not know of anyone who does not like Pancakes. Pancakes are an exceptional food and can be made for any meal of the day or just for dessert. Pancakes can be found in many varieties around the world and they are not just made from wheat products. Pancakes may be made from Vegetables or Fruit. If you know the basic formula for making good pancakes, you can just about make them from any of the ingredients you may have in your pantry or refrigerator.
Pancakes normally eaten for breakfast can be made with All-Purpose Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Buckwheat Flour or even Cornmeal. There are almost always Eggs in Pancakes and in fact, the more Eggs in the recipe, the lighter and thinner your pancakes will be. In addition to Eggs, there should be some liquid which is usually in the form of a Milk product.
Buttermilk is popularly used for pancakes as not only does it provide flavor but helps to make your pancakes lighter and fluffier. If you do not have Buttermilk, but do have Sour Cream, that can be used also. To make a facsimile of Buttermilk just add 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice to your measuring cup before adding your milk product. After putting in the Lemon Juice, then add the milk and let it stand for a few minutes. The Lemon Juice will add some tartness to the milk and actually make it curdle, thereby giving you the effect of Buttermilk. I have even used Cottage Cheese or Cream Cheese in my Pancakes. In the case of the last two ingredients you may have to use additional eggs or even add some water to get the consistency you will want for your pancakes.
If you have fruit that is getting too ripe to eat, you can mash it up and put that in your pancakes. Bananas or Apples are especially good for this purpose.
My over-all formula for making Pancakes from whatever I have on hand at the moment is:
Two Cups of Milk Product
2 cups Flour
½ tsp. Baking Soda*
¼ tsp. Salt
1-3 tsps. Sugar**
2 – 4 Tbsps. melted Butter or Vegetable Oil
While you are making up the Batter, begin heating your griddle over low heat. To make the Batter follow the general directions below.
Whip up the Eggs and then add your Milk Product. If you are adding fruit, this the time to add them is right after the Milk. Just stir in the fruit. Combine the Dry Ingredients and add, stirring only to combine the ingredients. Next, stir in the melted Butter or Oil.
Turn the heat up on your griddle. Your griddle will be hot enough when a drop of water will sizzle upon contact with the surface of the griddle.
Rub a thin layer of Butter on the griddle (this will be for the first batch only) or use a Vegetable Spray. Then ladle or pour your batter onto the hot griddle. For he-man size pancakes, use up to a whole cup of Batter and cook just one at a time. For smaller pancakes, use anywhere from ¼ cup to 1/3 cups of Batter. Once bubbles form on the surface and the edges begin to dry, then it will be time to turn them over and cook the other side. The second side will cook considerably faster than the first one.
If you like your pancakes thinner than the first batch turns out, add a little more milk or if you like them thicker, stir in a little more flour.
If you are feeding a crowd, turn the oven to 250 degrees and put your pancakes on a shallow baking sheet as you make and keep warm in the oven until time to serve.
Serve your pancake with melted Butter and Hot Syrup. There are many types of Syrup that can be used, however Maple seems to be the most popular in the US. Other syrups that are available are Apple Syrup or Berry Syrup. In Hawaii you can also get Pineapple or Coconut Syrup.
Caramelized Fruit is also a nice accompaniment to Pancakes. Fruit that can easily be Caramelized is Apple, Banana, Mango, Papaya. Berries can be sliced, sugared and served with Pancakes also or they can be turned into a Sauce by cooking them with a little sugar and a dash of Lemon Juice.
Whichever way you like your pancakes, do enjoy them!