“Oh Chuckie, your pancakes are always so fluffy,” exclaimed my mother one morning at the cabin.
When I read this sentence to Jerri, she asked, “Did she really?” and I replied honestly, “I don’t remember if she said that exactly, but it’s the sort of thing she would have said. She was always very complimentary about my cooking.”
Maybe that’s why I like to cook. My mother went out of her way to praise all of us kids if we tried to make something in the kitchen. Serve her burned toast, and she would say, “I like crispy toast.” Offer some salty soup or really greasy gravy and she would show us how to make it edible.
Even Dad, who was not much of a cook, would chime in, “Burned toast makes for rosy cheeks,”he would say, or “When I was in the logging camp, the cook used to put more potatoes in the soup when he dumped in too much salt.”
I do recall my mother telling me that my pancakes were nice and light, and I remember saying that it was just because I beat the egg whites separately. That is the truth, and you can make pancakes that are like them–tender, light and delicious–if you follow this simple recipe.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
4 1/2 T sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
2 large eggs
2 1/3 cups buttermilk
4 T butter
For the best pancakes, have the eggs and buttermilk at room temperature. You can warm the eggs by putting them into a small bowl of warm (not hot!) water for three or four minutes and heat the milk for a few seconds in the microwave.
Melt the butter and begin heating your skillet or griddle.
Sift the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda into a mixing bowl. Separate the eggs by putting the yolks into a one quart mixing bowl and the whites into another. Beat the yolks with a fork until they turn a bright yellow, then stir in the buttermilk
Beat the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.
Add the buttermilk to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until you have a smooth but moderately thick batter. Stir in the melted butter, then fold in the beaten egg whites. Don’t worry if some small globs of egg white remain in the batter. They will help lighten the cakes.
Bake them on a griddle set to 350º or in a skillet over medium heat. I spoon enough batter to make four inch cakes, let them cook until bubbles appear across the cake and the edges bcome a little dry, then turn them and let them finish baking for another two or three minutes.
Serve them hot from the griddle with butter and maple syrup
NOTES: Be conservative when you add the buttermilk. Start by stirring in about two cups and add more until you have the right consistency.
This recipe makes about two dozen four inch cakes. Store leftover cakes in the refrigerator and warm them in the microwave for a quick snack or breakfast. They won’t be as light and fluffy, but they will taste pretty good.