Saturday, June 23, 2007

Perfect Pancakes

... near perfect pancakes actually. It's 10:30pm, and I haven't eaten dinner, and I don't feel like making the few options I have from my pantry stocks. So I decide to make pancakes instead, only at first, I forget the recipe. The recipe I've been making for the past three or four years suddenly eludes my mind. Well, I remember all of it, except how much butter to use. Was it two tablespoons or four? How much is two table spoons out of this block of Plugra I have in front of me? My continues to draw a blank, and I google "buttermilk pancakes," and then it hits me. At one point in time I used one stick of the four sticks that normally come out of the butter box which weighs in at one pound. Then I switched over to the unmarked, Plugra blocks a few years ago because the European butter has more butterfat and is therefore fatter and tastier. That was it, I use one fourth of the block because that's how much of the one pound I used from the butter box.

After solving this dilemma, things start to go much smoother. I mix the wet into the dry ingredients, and let it sit and rise while I wash the dishes I used to mix everything up. I turn on the stove to preheat the Cast Iron skillet, and throw in some butter to grease up the pan. Finally, I lay down my first three ice-cream scoops (I've been using an ice-cream scoop because I still have yet to buy a ladle, and may not because the scoop has been working so well) of the batter onto the pan. After a while I realize that it may not be cooking as fast as I want it to, so I turn up the heat a little. I flip the pancake, only a small corner of the batter splatters out to one side, not far enough to detach from the pancake or over the skillets side walls though. And the top of the pancake is so perfectly golden brown. It slowly rises in the pan as the side walls of the pancake expand, forcing the golden brown roof to rise in dome shape as the ingredients react to the heat forming the light airy caverns inside the pancake. The sides remain white as the original batter because they don't color from direct contact with heat, and gently puff out. I pull the pancake off the skillet and examine the bottom to make sure its a good color. Beautiful. I place it on the plate, and lather it up with some butter and pour some grade A dark amber over the center, watching it slowly spread over the pancake. I then proceed back to the skillet and put down three more scoops of batter for the next pancake.

Meanwhile I take my time eating the first pancake, its tastes as beautiful as it looks. The outer texture slightly crispy as it hits my mouth, only to be complimented by the fluffy interior. Even with all its weight, the pancake almost melts in my mouth as if it were cotton candy, without the graininess. I watch the second pancake as I did the first, and it turns out equally as well. Instead of eating this one, I place it in the tupperware for tomorrow or the following day's breakfast, it fits perfectly into the tupperware. Each successive pancake turns out just as wonderful as the first. Wonderful brown exterior, puffy cloud-like sides, with one small area of crispiness from the flip. They all fit snuggly in the tupperware containers. The air starts to fill with a sweet butter flavor, and I can taste the pancakes in my mouth without having actually putting a fork to it now.

By the end of it, I had two tupperware containers each with three golden brown light and airy pancakes that fit perfectly in them. Every drop of batter had gone into the pancakes themselves, and there was no extra drip before they reached the center of the skillet. Overall, this late night pancake session turned out to be the best series of pancakes I've ever made. What a night. And now I can't wait to get up and have three for breakfast.

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