Sunday, 5 February 2012

The Surreal Pancake

I don’t think there has been a single year in my life when I have not celebrated ‘Pancake Tuesday’.  It is usually held in either February or March.  Historically known as Shrove Tuesday the tradition goes as far back as Elizabeth 1.  Please refer to the following site for background information: .
Pancakes are not just served in the winter months but they are enjoyed world wide anytime.  They are considered a staple of culinary nostalgia.  

The basic batter for pancakes includes flour, eggs, milk, baking powder, and baking soda.  You mix up the batter and pour it onto a greased griddle or frying pan, let it brown on one side and then flip it to the other side. You might also see them referred to as flip-jacks, griddle cakes, hot cakes, wheat cakes, slap-jacks, hoe cakes and flap-jacks.

Bob Blumer, a well-known celebrity cookbook author, artist and host of Food Network's ‘The Surreal Gourmet’ and ‘Glutton for Punishment’, took pancake flipping to a whole other dimension.  Blumer set a Guinness World Record on July 10, 2008 by flipping 559 pancakes in one hour at the Calgary Stampede. 

I recently caught up with Blumer and asked him how he prepped for his marathon of flipping.   “I deconstructed every component of the pancake-making process and tried to streamline each step. I started by playing with the fat/sugar ratio in the batter so that it would cook faster, but burn slower. Then I tested a variety of pouring methods (batter dispensers are not sanctioned by the Guinness organization), and fussed over grill temperatures. I also customized my spatula by grinding an inch off the end and bevelled the edges to a razor-sharp finish so that it would slide underneath the cakes with a minimum of resistance. I even tested different shoes to determine which style gave me better traction.” Wow that’s a lot of prep time if you ask me. 

It was all worth it in the end.  Blumer says, “I was left with a case of carpal flipping syndrome and a new-found appreciation for the humble pancake. And I can proudly say that my name is in the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records”.

Bob Blumer graciously provided the following recipe that is included in his most recent book Glutton for Pleasure: Signature Recipes, Epic Stories, and Surreal Etiquette  Whitecap Books, 2011.

Pecan Pancakes
½ cup pecan pieces
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1½ cups buttermilk or whole milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted + extra for cooking
¼ - ½ cup candied ginger, chopped finely
Zest of 1 orange
Maple syrup
Preheat oven to 350°F

Set pecan pieces on a cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes, or until well toasted. Let cool. Reserve.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a second bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Slowly whisk wet ingredients into dry bowl. Do not over mix. Add additional buttermilk or flour, if necessary, to get batter to the classic pancake consistency.

Let rest for 15 minutes so that the baking powder can work its magic and aerate the batter. Just before dropping pancakes, gently fold in ginger, pecans and zest.

Pour maple syrup in a small pot and warm it over low heat.

Melt butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. When butter is sizzling, ladle batter to form pancakes. Once bubbles begin to form over the entire top of the pancakes and the bottom is golden brown, flip and continue cooking until second side is golden brown. Top with maple syrup.

Yield 4 – 6 servings

These pancakes are so delicious I am going to make them on Valentine’s Day for breakfast. Thanks Bob!

A recipe has no soul.  You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.  ~Thomas Keller

* Bob Blumer is an Ambassador for Second Harvest in Toronto.  Second Harvest feeds those affected by the recession and many others who have fallen on hard times. .


Delectable Duo said...

How fitting! We just had pancakes for dinner tonight - blueberry pancakes to be specific. My kids LOVE pancakes and would have them every day if they could. Needless to say, we don't wait for Tuesday to enjoy them! Thanks for the post - we'll give these ones a try next time. Shelley :)

Marie said...

My mom used to make apple pancakes. Try the recipe without ginger and add shredded apples. You have to put them in the oven to finish cooking and ser ve with sprinkled sugar.
She also made apple slices that way.