Wednesday, July 18, 2007

electric boogaloo


Making pancakes in a skillet is tricky work, especially on a stupid, horrible electric stovetop (after nine years of gas cooking, zurich has thrown me back in the dark ages - argh). Even with my infrared noncontact thermometer to monitor the heat, it's practically impossible to maintain the necessary constant 350F to consistently achieve evenly browned, fluffy pancakes. Plus, a skillet only fits three pancakes at a time, so I have to stand at the stovetop, while everone else eats. Either I gobble down my pancakes at the counter or run back and forth from the table every couple minutes to check the pancakes. Yes, I could store the pancakes in the oven and serve them all at once. But for me, pancakes must be eaten straight off the griddle or not at all. Call me crazy.

Despite my growing kitchen appliance storage nightmare, I finally decided to add an electric griddle to my collection. Easier said than done, at least in Switzerland. Not only are none of the brands lauded by good ole Cook's Illustrated available here, the few store workers and civilians I've asked don't even know what I'm talking about. They usually point me in the direction of the raclette grills, which I briefly considered in my desparation but wisely resisted. Fortunately, my trusty resourcer (and husband) worked his magic and found the Princess Table Chef. It's marketed more for Teppan Yaki, but it's perfect for pancakes. Now in no time, I can crank out breakfast for a crowd, or at least for 2.5 people that eat like a crowd (the .5 is my 3yr old). And it's even 220V, so I don't have to use the transformer -yay!

"Bacon tastes goood. Pork chops taste goood."

This bacon picture reminds me of the time I ate a pound of bacon in one sitting. My best friend's family had 8 kids, so obviously her mom cooked large amounts of food. Two pounds of bacon at breakfast was a pretty normal occurance. One morning (I was around 15), I was just chatting at the breakfast table, downing one piece of bacon after another, while her mom was making the other food. Without realizing what a little piggy I was being, I had soon polished off half the platter. Embarrassing and gross. I was rightfully mocked for months. Fortunately, I don't have the appetite I once had or my real belly would look more like my pregnant one.

Light & Fluffy Pancakes Recipe

I used to hate pancakes (why eat a pancakes, when you can eat a waffle instead), but this recipe from Cook's Illustrated changed my mind. It's not so special. Alton Brown uses the exact same recipe for his pancake mix. If cooked at the proper temperature (this is critical!!!), they are consistently fluffy and delicious. Happy flipping.

Serves 3 to 4 (about eight 3-inch pancakes)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk (plus an extra tablespoon or so if batter is too thick)
1 large egg, separated
2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted
vegetable oil (for brushing griddle)

1. Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl. Pour buttermilk and milk into 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Whisk in egg white; mix yolk with melted butter, then stir into milk mixture. Dump wet ingredients into dry ingredients all at once; whisk until just mixed (don't overmix!!! lumps are ok).

2. Meanwhile, heat griddle or large skillet over strong medium-high heat. Brush griddle generously with oil. When water splashed on surface confidently sizzles, pour batter, about 1/4 cup at a time, onto griddle, making sure not to overcrowd. When pancake bottoms are brown and top surface starts to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes, flip cakes and cook until remaining side has browned, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Re-oil the skillet and repeat for the next batch of pancakes.

For extra fun, treat yourself by sprinkling a few chocolate chips on the pancakes after ladling out the batter. Melted chocolate and maple syrup are a scrumptious combo.


Astrid said...

So funny you should post about this. My father in law is visiting, and I couldn't work up the energy to prepare overnight waffles. I was thinking I'll just make pancakes for breakfast tomorrow but I too hate to be stuck behind the stove while my little ones shout "I want another pancake Mommy!" Wish I had your griddle!

Astrid said...

Hi Tanya,

I was wondering, over 1 year after you bought this appliance, are you still happy with it? Do you use it a lot? I would like one for both pancakes and English muffins, but I too have way too many gadgets. Where did you buy it? Otherwise I'm considering getting my husband to schlep a cast-iron griddle back from the US, but on an electric stove it may not be so great...

Tanya said...

Hi Astrid - I use this griddle a lot, a couple times a week at least. What do we make: pancakes, bacon, tortillas, quesadillas, grilled cheese, etc. It's great, you should definitely get it. I'll find the source and send it to you.

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