Sunday brunch is a bit of a tradition in our household. Usually it consists of eggs (poached, scrambled or fried), on toast with beans and slow-roasted tomatoes, topped with Tabasco. Sometimes, though, we just don't seem to get the organisation done on a Saturday in terms of grocery shopping, and we have to get a little more creative. I like to claim to my boyfriend that I am an expert at conjuring up a decent brunch when we have nothing in the cupboard.
I wouldn't exactly say we had nothing in the cupboard this morning, but we were missing a key ingredient for eggs on toast; bread. So I thought about pancakes, knowing that I had half a tin of apricots in the fridge from last night's makeshift dessert of apricots with ricotta and honey. Pancakes it was, however, my next problem to solve was that we hardly had much milk - less than a cup. British and French style pancakes are of the thin-batter, roll-up variety, which requires a good amount of milk that, even thinned down with water, my milk was not going to stretch to. So, I found a Jamie Oliver recipe for American style thick stackable pancakes, which has a greater proportion of egg, and uses much less milk. Perfect.
I adapted the recipe a little, mostly because I couldn't be bothered measuring things with scales on a Sunday morning. These pancakes turned out, surprisingly, amazing. Even the first pancakes off the pan, which usually you have to dump in the bin because they never turn out right, were divine.
Sunday Morning Pancakes
Makes approximately 8 pancakes - enough for 2
Just under a cup of self-raising flour
Half a cup of milk and an extra little dash
1 teaspoon sugar
Butter to cook with
1. Separate the eggs, put the whites in a metal bowl, the yolks in a mixing bowl.
3. Add the pinch of salt to the egg whites, and beat to stiff peaks. Last year, I invested in an electric hand-mixer, which has changed my life when it comes to beating egg whites. You can probably find cheaper ones than the Dualit one that I bought, and I highly recommend getting one. Saves heaps of time, which is particularly good on a Sunday morning.
4. Add the beaten egg whites to the yolk, milk and flour mix, and gently fold in with a rubber spatula, until combined.
5. Preheat the oven to 80c and place a plate in there ready for the pancakes. Heat a pan to medium heat - I used a cast iron pan - and add a knob of butter. Once the butter is bubbling and hot, use a soup ladle to add the mix to the pan. I cooked two pancakes at once. Remember that these pancakes are supposed to be small and round so that you stack them - they shouldn't cover the whole pan like a crepe.
6. The pancake will be ready to flip once the bubbles on the top start to pop. Just leave them to cook until this point, if you start fussing over them they will probably stick and lose their air bubbles. Flip and cook until lightly browned on both sides. Place in the oven to keep warm.
7. Continue to cook the pancakes, using a fresh knob of butter for each batch, until all the mix is gone.
8. Place a stack of pancakes on each plate and serve with your favourite topping - plain maple syrup, crispy bacon with maple syrup, bananas fried with butter and brown sugar, or a fruit compote. I made a fruit compote with apricot:
Half a tin of apricots
Syrup from the tinned apricots
6 teaspoons raw sugar
Finely dice the apricots, place in a small pot with the sugar and syrup from the tin, and boil up for around 15 minutes (while you are cooking the pancakes). The apricots will start to cook and go a bit jammy, and the mixture will thicken up. Serve on the stacked pancakes.
If you have some whipped cream, creme fraiche or ricotta (we didn't, unfortunately) this would go perfectly with the apricot compote.
If you don't have apricots, use whatever fruit you do have! If you are using fresh fruit, you might need to experiment a little with the proportions of sugar and water - you will probably need to add more sugar. If you use apples, throw in a bit of cinnamon and a couple of whole cloves.