Dienstag, 23. August 2011

Tasty, crunchy Pancakes!

A lot of people will agree that there are few things better to start a day with than some sweet, crunchy, flagrant, fresh homemade ... pancakes!
Everyone loves pancakes, which is why my first article here will tell you my own personal recipe for them.

There's two variants of it: one for the fully-stuffed kitchen with quite some different ingredients, and a basic one I like to use when I'm spending my time at the mountain hut of a friend of mine.
Ingredient amounts are for two people, or one really hungry person.

Let's start with the proper one:

You'll need

one really large (or two medium) egg(s),
about 1/5th cup (a little less than 50 ml) of milk, preferably 3.5% fat
tab water or carbonated water
about 1/3rd cup of wheat or spelt flour
about 1/3rd cup of sugar (preferably cane sugar or a 60/40 mix of cane sugar and grape sugar)
about 1/6th cup of dark liquid honey (alternatively maple syrup)
one teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground vanilla
some vegetable oil
optionally: 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
a slim, high-walled bowl
an electric mixer
a frying pan (non-stick, aluminium)
a cooking spatula

Start with breaking the eggs into the bowl. Add the milk, then the sugar, the honey, the flour, the cinnamon and the vanilla, in that order. Mix it all together briefly with the electric mixer on a high setting, until you have a uniform mass. It'll be quite solid and sticky. Now, continue mixing at a rather low setting while carefully adding carbonated water as needed. You want your resulting batter to be somewhat liquid and easily pourable.

Now set your oven to the highest setting, put the pan on the plate and the vegetable oil in it. Wait a while until the oil is hot (if it's smoking, it's too hot! - turn down the heat a little and wait one or two minutes), then gently pour your batter into the pan. For a reasonably sized pan (diameter of around 30 centimeters/ 12 inches) it's best to fry three oval pancakes at a time.
Fry them for a very short while, and carefully turn them around once you can see the edges of the pancakes becoming a light brownish colour. If it still feels not solid at the underside, wait some more. After you turned them once, wait about the same time for the other side. Then, take them out of the pan on a grid (if you put them on a plate they will become moist and not crunchy) to cool out a little. Repeat until you've used up all batter, adding vegetable oil as needed.

Notes: You can be generous with the oil, as the batter will absorb only so much of it and the result will not be fatty in any case (as long as you don't attempt to deep-fry them).
Adding baking soda will add some kind of bubbles during the frying, leading to a more voluminous but less crunchy result. Using only milk instead of water makes the pancakes less crunchy as well, while omitting the milk will make them very crunchy but less tasty.

Experiment around a bit, until you have found the combination of ingredients that you like best!

Now, that was the fancy variant with lots of demanding ingredients and proper equipment, and quite some calories (not as unhealthy as the pre-packed mixes you'll find in your supermarket, though).
But what about the following situation: You and some friends have spent the night in your lovely and somewhat remote mountain hut, with a limited kitchen inventory and a modest array of ingredients?
That's very the puristic variant kicks in! Talking of pancakes made just of sticks and stones, almost. Yet tasty and a good remedy against that persistent hangover, especially when coupled with strong coffee :-)

For this, you'll need:

one or two egg(s)
about 1/2 cup of flour (any kind will do)
about 1/3rd cup of sugar (any kind will do)
a fork
some scratch-resistant vessel (a used, cleaned-out food can will do, or a large coffee mug for instance)
a non-stick frying pan OR any pan and lots of cooking oil

Break the egg into the can/mug. Beat it thourougly with your fork until it's a fairly uniform, yellowish mass. Add some water, then the sugar. Beat thourougly again. Add the flour and more water, until you have a rather liquid batter (more liquid than for the proper pancake recipe above). Heat up your stove/oven/hot stone/car hood and put your pan on it (if you're going car hood and it's really hot and you don't mind your car's paint film or your digestive system's health, omit the pan. ON YOUR OWN RISK!).
Gently pour the batter into the pan (/on the hood) until it covers it's surface (Except for using the car hood, in which a diameter of about 10 inches should suffice. If your car hood does not allow for that size, buy a real car first). Fry it until it becomes solid and darkens slightly at the underside, then turn it around gently and fry it some more. Repeat until you've used up all batter.

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