Pancakes were very much A Thing for my brother and I growing up. I remember my mum making them, not just for pancake day but for special treats and to eat as Crepes Suzette at their ever so grown-up dinner parties. My brother and I loved them – we ate them very plainly with only caster sugar, still do – and it was one of the first things I learned how to cook myself.
Pancake-eating as a kid is one of my favourite memories – sprinkling sugar on those bad boys, rolling them up and stuffing them in my mouth with greasy fingers. I’d always order pancakes as a special treat at the John Lewis Café and any excuse to eat them, including Shrove Tuesday, was an occasion to look forward to.
My pancake tastes have now diversified to include these Fluffy American Pancakes with Maple Bacon and my love for them originated as all good obsessions do: at a restaurant. Somewhere in Shoreditch, perhaps The Hoxton, and probably for about 12 quid. I was immediately hooked on the combo of soft and crunchy, sweet and salty and decided to re-create them at home myself.
Sidenote: zoom over here for a more diet-friendly Paleo version.
I straight away sought out maple syrup and though my eyes watered at the price the expensive stuff is well worth it (and currently 50% off at Ocado) as the other kind is a not-so-tasty synthetic imitation. I also always make sure I have streaky bacon in the fridge for this recipe which always crisps up much better than thicker back bacon. Smoked is my preference but whatever floats your boat.
These pancakes have become something of a tradition in our house, we eat them every other weekend and I just can’t. Get. Enough. The maple syrup creates a wonderful sweet/salt symphony when added to the bacon and the pancakes fluff up beautifully to compliment its crisp bite.
Basically – YUM.
I always use tin foil to protect my baking tray when preparing this bacon; burnt on sugar syrup is fun to scrub off for no-one – I learned this the hard way. And make sure your baking powder is as fresh as possible, this really makes a difference when it comes to the fluff factor of your pancakes.
The original recipe (and best I’ve ever found) comes from the BBC recipe site. I haven’t really changed much about it because it’s always been perfect.
FYI my new breakfast crush is buttermilk fried-chicken with pancakes and maple butter as seen for brunch at Breddos Tacos‘ pop-up at Trip Space last summer. Give me six months and I’ll have mastered it. Epic.
- Streaky bacon - we have 3 rashers per person.
- Real maple syrup
- 135g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 large pinch sea salt
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 130ml milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp melted butter (allowed to cool slightly)
- Butter for cooking
- Heat your oven to 200 degrees C, and spread your bacon on a tin foil-lined baking tray. Brush generously with maple syrup. Put in the oven as soon as it's reached temperature for around 12-15 minutes.
- Pop the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar into a large bowl. In a separate bowl lightly whisk together the milk and egg, then whisk in the melted butter.
- Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat using a whisk until you have a smooth batter. The texture you want from this is a lot thicker than you might be used to with french crepes. Let the batter stand for a few minutes.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter. When it's melted, add the batter: I use a dessert spoon and measure out approximately two per pancake. It will seem very thick but this is how it should be. Wait until the top of the pancake begins to bubble, then turn it over and cook until both sides are golden brown and the pancake has risen to about 1cm (½in) thick.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up. You can keep the pancakes warm in a low oven, but they taste best fresh out the pan.
- Serve with the crispy bacon topped with maple syrup.