Oh wow, I’ve just realised the last FTM post was more than a year ago! From then till now, I still have been receiving queries, but have opted to answer them directly via e-mail, etc. Having posted quite a bit of pancake photos on Instagram as of late had inevitably garnered pancake queries, mostly along the lines of “Why are my pancakes always dense?”, “I always burn my pancakes!”, and “My pancakes look cooked, but the insides are raw”. So, if any of the aforementioned statements sounds like you on a not-too-good day, here are some perfecting pancake pointers (yes, I do love my alliterations). If you’re a bona fide Pancake Master, just scroll all the way down for the recipe of these refined sugar-free fluffy wholewheat oat pancakes (yes, they’re wholewheat AND fluffy!). Suffice to say, my search for the perfect oat pancakes has ended here.
Tip #1: Separate the eggs.
Even though not explicitly mentioned in a pancake recipe, take to the habit of separating your eggs. Mix the yolk(s) with your wet ingredients, and continue with your pancake batter as directed. In a separate bowl, whisk the white(s) until stiff peaks, then fold it gently into the prepared batter as a final step just before you ladle onto the griddle. It really just takes one extra step, but what a huge step it is in demarcating between a dry pancake and a light and fluffy one.
Tip #2: Do not overmix.
Much like muffins, you must resist the urge to beat the batter to death. Repeat after me, “Lumps are okay. Lumps are okay. Lumps are okay.”, each time you see little lumps of flour in your batter. They will sort themselves out once they hit the pan, trust me. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients until just combined. Overmixing develops the gluten in the flour, resulting in a dense pancake.
Tip #3: Find the perfect temperature.
This is arguably the toughest part of pancake making, besides deciphering the right flipping moment. Too high a temperature, the pancakes burn with gooey raw insides; too low a temperature, the pancakes have an uneven browning and takes ages. I have had my fair share of burnt pancakes, especially when I’m complacently multi-tasking in the kitchen, or trying to entertain a 19-month-old’s seemingly endless “What’s that?” questions. Every stove is different, but you should always go on the lower end of the medium heat. It will take some time and patience on your part, but it ensures even browning and cooking.
Tip #4: Grease, not flood.
When the pan is nice and hot, grease with either a cooking spray, or lightly brush it with melted butter. You can also drop about less than a tablespoon of butter onto the pan, and swirl it around if you prefer. What I personally do (when I can’t find a brush) is melt my butter, set it aside in a bowl, scrunch up a tissue, dip into the melted butter and coat the pan with it. That’s how little of a coat of grease you’d want to ensure your pancakes don’t stick, not flood it with a thick layer of oil to get deep-fried pancakes.
Tip #5: Look, wait and flip!
One of the common problems I hear is not knowing when to flip the pancakes, resulting in the pancake breaking apart upon flipping. When your temperature’s right, and the pan’s greased nicely, upon ladling the batter, all you have to do is look at the surface of the pancake. When you see a bubble appearing on the surface, wait. When you see more bubbles appearing on the surface, wait just a teeny tiny bit longer. When you see some of these bubbles popping, slide your spatula under, and confidently flip it. Ta-dah!
Fluffy Wholewheat Oat Pancakes with Fudgy Chocolate Date Glaze
For the wholewheat oat pancakes:
1/2 cup greek yoghurt
1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1/4 cup milk (+ 1-2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
In a small bowl, combine the greek yoghurt and rolled oats. Cover with a clingwrap, and leave in the fridge overnight.
The next morning, whisk together the yoghurt-oat mixture, milk, egg, oil and honey in a large bowl.
Stir the remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl, then add to the wet ingredients and mix gently. If the batter seems too thick, add a tablespoon or two of milk.
Heat a griddle and spray with nonstick spray, or grease with melted butter.
Ladle out 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake (1/4 cup for pikelets) and cook until golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook an additional 2-4 minutes, or until golden both sides.
Serve warm with maple syrup, homemade date syrup, or top with strawberries and the following rich fudgy chocolate date glaze.
For the chocolate date glaze:
1 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup boiling water
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Place the dates in a blender, or food processor. Pour boiling water over dates and let sit for 10-15 minutes or until the dates are very soft.
Blend water and dates on high until smooth. Stir in the cocoa, and salt. At this point, you may use it immediately, or leave in the fridge for an hour to thicken up.