I recently read an article that states that the recipe most searched for on Google is… wait for it… pancakes. This did surprise me more than a little, but then again who doesn’t love a good pancake? They’re so effortless to make it astounds me there are actually packet mixes out there, and people buy them! They’re made from basic pantry staples, and so much better from scratch. No excuses people.
Known by many names around the world (pancakes, hotcakes, griddlecakes, flapjacks, crepes, dosas, boxty and drop scones to name just a few) the pancake takes many forms, uses many ingredients and comes in many sizes. From sweet to savoury they are enjoyed in some form by pretty much every culture around the world and have been gracing our tables for centuries.
As I did with the humble cup cake on MasterChef, I’d like to make a beery injection into pancakes and give a Chris twist to this old favourite.
Beer does a couple of things to the pancake batter. Firstly it adds a nice earthy, maltiness to the flavour and secondly the carbonation in the beer adds air to the batter, making it lighter and fluffier. If you use a good ‘live’ beer the yeast also helps with the flavour and lightness.
It is very important to use the right beer for the job. Just throwing in any old lager would not be pleasant to say the least. You need to go with a mild Porter or Stout to get the best results. Porters and Stouts by their very nature are quite sympathetic to doughs and batters. “Beer and milk?” I hear you say? Trust me, this combination works like magic. And no, it doesn’t end up tasting like a beer!
BEER PANCAKES Makes 6 medium pancakes
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup mild Porter / Stout (I used Coopers Dark Ale)
½ cup full cream milk
Unsalted butter to cook with
Maple syrup, the real stuff
1 punnet of seasonal berries
In your mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg, flour, beer and milk, whisk until combined. You can easily do this by hand.
Melt the butter in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat. When the butter has melted add the batter, around ½ a cup at a time. Do not over crowd the pan, do 1 or 2 at a time. When small bubbles start to appear on the top of the pancakes they are ready to be turned. Cook for a further 45 seconds or until browned on the bottom and remove. Continue this process until all the pancakes are done.
Drizzle with the maple syrup and berries and serve immediately.
NOTE: Some people make their pancakes with buttermilk. This does not work in this recipe as the beer curdles the buttermilk.
For those of you who do not know what buttermilk is…
Buttermilk was originally the liquid left over form churning butter from cream. In modern times it refers to a lightly fermented milk product made from adding bacterial cultures during the processing of low fat milk. Contrary to its name, buttermilk contains no butter and is low in fat, 2% in fact. Buttermilk is slightly acidic, this reacts with the raising agents in the batter and adds to the lightness of the final product. Buttermilk is easily obtained from your local supermarket.