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Yesterday morning we woke the toddlers with a promise of pancakes for breakfast, one of the small pleasures of the half term holidays being that breakfast can be a more leisurely family affair, rather than a melee of cereals and juice while trying to make packed lunches and brush hair and keep uniforms clean, one eye on the clock watching the impending school run tick closer…
So, into the large mixing bowl went the flour, sugar, milk, quick stir, shared grins of excitement at the thought of pancakes for breakfast and oh shoot and blast, we don’t have an egg….
“What can we use instead of an egg?”
“A banana. Do we have a mushy dead banana anywhere?”
“No.”
“Oh… Wait, I’ll have a quick look on the internet….. Soaked chia seeds, haven’t got any of those… Soaked flax seeds, haven’t got any of those… Vegan egg replacer, haven’t got any of those… Cornflour! We’ve got that! Hoorah!”
And so the pancakes were saved, and we had them for breakfast yesterday, and today again. Yesterday we had small fat American style pancakes, and today I made tiny little silver dollar pancakes, which worked very well.
In case you ever find yourself wanting pancakes, but not having any eggs in the house (or bananas, or chia seeds, or flax seeds, or vegan egg replacer), here’s a cheeky cheaty recipe – because some things are just too good to keep to yourself.
Serves 4-6, depending on appetite:
150g plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour (use 2 tbsp in place of 1 egg)
1 tsp baking powder
A pinch of salt (optional)
2 tbsp sugar
150ml milk (use soy, rice or almond milk for vegan pancakes)
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil or melted butter
Weigh the flour and measure the cornflour into a large mixing bowl, add the baking powder, salt (if using) and sugar, and mix well to evenly distribute throughout the mixture.
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients (a rough hole, nothing too precise or technical) and pour in most of the milk and water, and the butter or oil. Mix well with a whisk or fork to form a smooth batter, adding the rest of the milk to loosen it if needed.
Now, give it a rest, preferably in a fridge for at least half an hour to chill out. In my humble and experimental experience, the best, crispest, lightest batters are achieved in that moment when cold cold batter hits a shit-hot pan – think of the way you smoke the fat to make perfect Yorkshire puddings, or drop battered fish into a pan of rolling oil, and you get the picture. So jar it up, sling it in, and pop the kettle on or start dreaming about your toppings while it chills out in there…
…half an hour later, melt a pinch of butter or heat 2 tbsp of oil until your pan is hot-hot, then turn the heat down to medium to keep it hot but not at risk of burning everything or spitting fat at you! Dollop a teaspoon of batter into the pan to make one little dollar-sized pancake, and another one, and another one. They only need a matter of seconds until they’re golden on one side (you’ll see them puff up slightly and little bubbles form in the top) – then turn them over and cook the other side. Repeat until you have enough tiny pancakes to satisfy all appetites present, plus a few more for obligatory encores, and serve. I like mine with lemon and sugar, Smallest likes hers with maple syrup, SB likes his with crispy bacon, sometimes we dollop on peanut butter, or jam, or both, or honey and sliced banana, or melon and yoghurt – use them as a tiny delicious vessel for whatever you fancy…
Jack Monroe. Twitter: @MsJackMonroe. Facebook: www.facebook.com/agirlcalledjack