My pancake technique was perfected in the 1980s and ’90s when I was a banquet chef in Manhattan — back when brunch buffets were all the rage. I learned to apply French techniques to this American classic. Two secrets for making fabulous, fluffy pancakes: ensure your griddle is very hot, and don’t overmix, as this creates gluten in the flour, which makes it tough. For added flavour and texture, this recipe also includes fruit and walnuts.
Takes: 30-45 mins
560g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder, plus 1 tsp
150g granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
750ml whole milk
60g unsalted butter, melted, plus 9.5g unmelted for griddle
1 tsp vanilla extract
340g blueberries or sliced bananas
125g chopped walnuts
50g cup icing sugar or cinnamon sugar for dusting
1 Measure and sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large (preferably stainless steel) mixing bowl.
2 In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The result should be slightly lumpy, yet combined to form a batter.
3 Whip (by hand or electric) the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until they reach soft peaks. Be careful not to overwhip egg whites.
4 Gently mix half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula, then gently fold the remaining half into the batter.
5 Heat a griddle — either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat pan — to 175C to 190C. Grease the hot griddle with the remaining butter. Drop approximately 4 tbsp of pancake batter on the griddle and cook to set. Add 1 tbsp of blueberries or sliced bananas and 1 tsp walnuts before turning the pancakes. When bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crispy on the edges. If ready, flip it.
6 When the pancake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, cooking several pancakes at a time. Garnish with icing sugar for the blueberry pancakes, cinnamon sugar for the banana-walnut. We serve it with maple butter but real maple syrup is just as delicious.
Neil is chef and owner of Clinton St. Baking Co. & Restaurant in New York City.
If traditional pancakes aren’t your thing, head here for five alternatives that are just as delicious.