Depending where you grew up, the thing you call pancakes may be big and flat or small and fluffy. You may even hear crepes and pikelets (also depending where you come from) to refer to some of these ‘pancakes’.
To avoid confusion, I’m lumping them all under the big umbrella term of pancakes. If it’s sweet and cooked using a pan, then it’s a pancake in my book.
Flat pancakes or crepes
Crepes are a good way to test new ingredients, the batter is extremely forgiving. Just keep in mind that some ingredients and combinations might not give you flexible pancakes you can fill and roll. If you check all my alternative flour posts, you will find lots of fantastic crepe recipes for all sorts of non-wheat flours.
I very strongly suggest using a non-stick pan or very well-seasoned cast iron pan for crepes, or you will hate yourself. However, if you don’t have one, you can add some oil or butter to the pan to prevent the pancakes from sticking and you’ll have to be very careful when flipping the crepes.
In a bowl mix 180 grams (1 1/2 cups) of plain flour, 3 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of salt, 1/2 litre (2 cups) of milk, and 2 eggs. Don’t add baking powder!
For sweet crepes, add 25 grams (2 tablespoons) of sugar. For savoury pancakes, leave as is or add herbs and spices that go with your filling.
Ladle some batter on the pan and spread it around. It should be quite thin! A regular-sized pancake pan will take about 1/2 cup of batter (about the size of a large ice-cream scoop).
When the pancake starts peeling away from the pan and the edges are light brown, flip the crepe over and cook for and extra minute or two.
You can keep the crepes warm and flexible until serving by stacking them on a plate and covering them with a pan lid (or another plate).
Fluffy pancakes or pikelets
Pancake batter is also very easy to make and forgiving if you mess it up. Unlike crepes, you want the batter to have a bit more body, so if you replace the milk use thickers alternatives or use less.
In a bowl mix your dry ingredients: 200 grams (1 2/3 cups) of plain flour, 6 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) of baking powder, 25 grams (2 tablespoons) of sugar, and 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of salt.
Add the wet ingredients: 250 milliliters (just over 1 cup) of milk, 1 egg, and 30 millilitres (2 tablespoons) of melted butter or oil, and mix everything.
If the batter is a little lumpy, just keep mixing until all the lumps disappear and it becomes smooth. A fork or a whisk are the best options if you’re doing it by hand. Alternatively, you can use a blender.
Cook: option 1, on the stove
Pre-heat a frying pan. If you’re using a regular pan, add a little bit of oil or butter to prevent the pancakes from sticking. If you’re using a non-stick pan you can start making the pancakes as soon as it’s hot.
Add about 1/4 of a cup of batter to the pan (that’s a small ice-cream scoop if you have one). When the top of the pancake is covered in bubbles, flip the pancake over and cook until both sides are golden. The time will depend on how thick you make the pancakes and the temperature of the pan.
If your pancakes are getting burnt on the outside but still raw on the inside you can lower the temperature of the hob, cover the pancakes while cooking, or both.
Cook: option 2, in the oven
Put the batter on a cooking tray with enough space to expand. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C (350 F) until the pancakes are golden brown. You don’t need to flip them.
Baking pancakes in the oven is really not traditional, and the pancakes will look a bit more like cookies than pancakes, but the texture and flavour will be exactly the same. If you’re making a very large batch, this is a great time saver and the only way to get them out in a fast in a home kitchen. If I’m making pancakes for more than 3 people, I always bake them in the oven. While the pancakes bake, I can prepare drinks, and we all get to eat warm pancakes!