While spending some time in Capri, a few years ago, I had the idea of moving there and opening an American style bakery. I have always been convinced that the throngs of Americans travelling along the boot, like many other foreigners who place a high value on their breakfast, get tired of the (small) croissant and cappuccino which are the standard Italian morning wake up call. I fantasized serving pancakes and waffles and eggs and bacon. Then the realization of most likely having to pay a fee to the local Camorra, the massive work involved in converting recipes, buying equipment and trying to find substitutions for ingredients that are commonplace here but nowhere to be found there, put a brake to my daydreaming. Now I am thinking of opening one in Venice….just kidding…sort of.
I am also convinced Italians, despite their indisputable pride in their cuisine, are fascinated by the foreign – I have been witness to the many Italian friends who have visited over the years and have been ensnared by cereal boxes, muffins, maple syrup and anything that can be found in supermarket aisles. And pancakes.
My lovely childhood friend Silvia, the peanut butter fan, squeals in delight at the thought of having pancakes. I can picture her lithe dancer body getting ready to attack a stack seemingly way too big for her. She recently asked me to send her a pancake mix care package. Pancake mixes are one the biggest marketing rip offs of the century – all you are buying is overpriced flour with the right amount of baking powder. The culinary arts not being Silvia’s strong suit (although she does make a mean crab pasta) I still convinced her that making pancakes from scratch is EASY. She is still not sure her pancake flipping abilities are up to snuff but has promised to give it a try, if nothing else to stop my nagging.
The following is the most basic pancake recipe ever – blueberries or anything else that takes your fancy can be added to the batter once all the ingredients have been mixed. Toppings should also be a matter of preference, hunger level and creativity.
1 C Flour (120 g)
2 T Sugar (25 g)
2 ts Baking Powder (you can use the Italian “dose”)
1/2 ts Salt
1 C Milk (240 ml)
2 T Butter, melted
1 T Vegetable Oil
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a different bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter and egg. Add the dry ingredients to the wet until just coming together (do not overmix – a few lumps are ok).
- Heat a large non stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. Using a paper towel, grease it carefully.
- Using a ladle, drop 2 to 3 tablespoons of pancake batter in the hot skillet.
- Cook until the top of the pancakes starts showing some bubbles and the bottom is slightly browning. Flip them over with a spatula and cook until the underside is brown (another 2 or 3 mins). When ready, stack them on a plate and keep them warm in the oven until all the batter has been used.
T = tablespoon
ts = teaspoon