I am a big fan of English pancakes. I eat them quite a lot, not for me the once-a-year treat on Shrove Tuesday. We eat them often, with lemon & sugar or eggs and cheese. I also love a drop scone. And a Yorkshire pudding. Basically, anything where you make batter. But somehow I’ve never got behind the idea of American-style fluffy pancakes, perhaps because I don’t like maple syrup.
Last weekend I decided to remedy that and made up my first batch of fluffy American pancakes. My first ever homemade short stack. They were fun to make, pretty easy and turned out to be really delicious, and so light and fluffy!
If you want to branch out across the pond for an indulgent weekend breakfast, here’s all the info you need.
I’m going to go straight into the recipe as you need to work with the ingredients in two batches:
1 – In a large mixing bowl put:
- 240ml buttermilk. You can also use normal milk, just add 1tblspn white wine vinegar & leave for 10 mins – this helps approximate buttermilk
- 1 egg
- Dash of vanilla essence
- 1 tbsp melted butter
2 – Whisk them up together. I’ve made these twice. First time, I used my hand whisk, second time I just did it quickly with a fork. Made no difference.
3 – In a separate bowl put:
- 150g plain flour
- 2 tbsp of icing sugar – approx. 20g
- 2 tsp baking powder – approx 10g (you may want to add another half tsp – you can do this later if your mixture is too runny)
- Big pinch of salt
- Sprinkle of cinnamon (to taste) (and nutmeg/cardamom if you like)
4 – Sift & fold the flour mixture gradually into the large mixing bowl – lifting the sieve up high to aerate. I recommend doing this, even though usually I never bother. The mixture is a lumpy one and this helps to minimise that, as well as adding air.
5 – Fold it gently with a metal spoon to keep the air in. It will look a bit lumpy – like porridge, that’s fine. The aim is to stir as little as possible, so fold until it is all just incorporated and don’t worry too much about the lumps – they will cook out.
6 – Leave to stand for 10 mins to thicken and bubble.
7 – Heat your pan to a medium heat and grease it. It will need re-greasing regularly, so keep some kitchen roll & butter, or spray oil handy.
8 – Add about 2 tbsp of batter to the pan, it should be fairly thick & bubbly by now, resist the urge to stir it! Just scoop some up and drop it into the pan.
9 – Bubbles will form on the top of the pancake quite quickly, once you see them, flip it with a spatula. If it feels very wobbly when you try to flip it, it may need a moment longer.
10 – When you’ve got your short stack, get eating!
They are delicious served with fresh fruit such as mangoes, cherries, blueberries. I would avoid anything too juicy as the water doesn’t work well with the texture of the pancakes. We also had a little yoghurt, some peanut butter, golden syrup, a little homemade lemon & sugar syrup and jam. All good options!
And that’s how to make American pancakes!
As a note, the first batch I made was too runny and didn’t include enough baking powder to help the pancakes rise and get really fluffy. I made a second batch and added the correct amount of baking powder. If your mixture is too thin and doesn’t easily hold a circular shape in the pan, then pop in a half a tsp more baking powder and leave for five mins. When I did, the mixture went thicker, bubbled more and the difference looked like this:
To be honest, we ate them all and the thinner ones still tasted ok. However, we did notice that the thicker pancakes were tastier (better developed flavours) as well as fluffier.
So next time you have time for a lazy weekend morning with a pot of coffee and the papers, make time for these fluffy American-style pancakes too!