Pancakes, Griddle Cakes, Flapjacks

Pancakes all began in about the same way on two sides of the Atlantic: thin cakes cooked on a hot stone or griddle that make a pleasing and amusing ‘flap’ sound when turned. How the name ‘flapjack’ came, in the UK, to be applied to the sticky, oaty golden syrup bar cookie that must be pressed messily into a pan to bake is anybody’s guess. It certainly doesn’t live up to the onomatopoeia. There’s really nothing more unflappable than English flapjacks. It is really only the combination of carbohydrates and lots and lots of sugar that may be meaningfully compared between the two. Well, perhaps also that they’re both tasty. This recipe is for the classic American pancake, which should be slathered with salted butter, doused with Maple syrup, and served with crisp, smoky bacon for the flavour counterpoint it provides.

When cooking these pancakes the batter should be poured from the tip of a spoon onto a hot, seasoned griddle – about a 1/4 C of batter will do. If no griddle is available, a skillet (but not non-stick) will do, very lightly greased with butter. The butter in the batter itself is enough to lubricate the cakes in the pan. To test if the griddle is hot enough, a drop of water should dance in the pan. If it spreads and boils, the pan is too cool. When bubbles begin to form on the surface of the pancake, take a peek underneath. If the cake is coppery in tone, then it’s time to flip (flap) it. It will take half the time to cook the other side, and it never cooks as evenly as the first side.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C plain flour

1 tsp salt

3 T sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

3 T melted unsalted butter

1 C milk

 

Method:

Mix together the dry ingredients. Beat the eggs and add them with the milk and the melted butter. Stir the batter only until the ingredients are just barely incorporated. Don’t worry about lumps. Test the griddle and bake.

 

NB: I have recently seen small plastic jugs for sale with dry mix for pancakes in a pitiful layer at the bottom. The wet ingredients are added and the whole is shaken. Please bear in mind that the dry ingredients for pancakes are flour, baking powder, salt and sugar (that’s IT!), and that shipping vast quantities of packaged air across the globe – and then paying the price for it – is quite simply idiotic.

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About timwaterman

I am a landscape architect, urbanist, writer, and lecturer based in London.

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