One morning a few weeks ago, I met a new friend at a little french cafe in my neighborhood, where I’ve had dinner dozens of times before but never breakfast. And despite the fact that I am generally a bacon-and-eggs, savory-start-to-my-day sort of gal, I ordered a short stack of pancakes on this friend’s recommendation. Anyway, though I haven’t known him for long, I now know to trust every word that he says: because the pancake that arrived in front of me a few minutes later was an absolute revelation, a pancake to end all pancakes, a true breakfast game-changer. Thicker than average, with a slight bump in its center like a deflated football, and with a crisp and almost crackly golden exterior, this pancake was simultaneously voluminous and airy. I dressed it up with a drizzle of maple syrup and marveled at every bite. And almost immediately I started imagining recreating it at home.
Which is how I ended up this week with printouts of pancake recipes littering my counters and more dirty bowls than I care to count. I am sad to report that I have as of yet been unable to recreate the magic of that morning, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying. (I chalk some of this up to my novice skills as a pancaker — J doesn’t like them much, and like I said, I’m a savory girl — so flapjacks aren’t in our general rotation.) Anyway, the experiment will continue — and of course, I’ll record it here.
In the meantime, though, while I haven’t managed to recapture that platonic ideal, I have nonetheless run across some keepers — including the tangy, super light, yogurt-moistened pancakes pictured above. In addition to their slightly sour taste, the thing I love best about these buggers is their texture, which is almost spongy (I’m tempted to compare it to Ethiopian injera bread). We’ve been gussying them up with butter and syrup or honey and jam. Which really isn’t such a bad fuel for the continuing quest…
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons milk
2 cups plain Greek-style yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon butter
1. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and sugar. Add milk and yogurt and mix to combine. Add vanilla and maple syrup to the yogurt mix and stir again. Pour half of the flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until the batter is smooth.
2. Heat butter in a large skillet over a moderate flame until it has melted and begun to sizzle just slightly. Ladle batter onto the skillet in 1/3 cup scoops. Cook until the pancake begins to firm around the edges and small bubbles have have appeared across the surface, and then flip. (This ends up being about 2 minutes.) Basically, the first few pancakes will be your “testers” — until you get the timing right.
3. Serve in a short stack topped with a knob of butter and real maple syrup.