Who doesn't love Pancakes or at least eaten one? Cliche or not, pancakes aren't just "a dime a dozen", they are everywhere. Almost every culture has its own spin on this popular breakfast item. Differences can range from the methods used to make them to the shape and size that define them. However, the most widely used type comes from the good ole' USA and it has gone through some revisions over the years.

So far, there is almost no food that can't be incorporated into pancakes. Chocolate chips, yogurt, espresso — take your pick. With this recipe, however, we will be preparing pumpkin pancakes with great ease.

But first, it seems necessary to provide a crash course in pancakes for those who might wish to become more technical with this fluffy breakfast item.

The world's flattest cake

In lamen's terms, a pancake is pretty much what it sounds like, a flat cake. A pancake is cooked on a griddle or a pan (as the name indicates), rather than being baked in an oven like most cakes would be. Historians trace the earliest form of pancake back to 5th century Greece. However, back then the ancient Greeks called them tiganites. These were made with wheat flour, curdled milk, honey, and olive oil and were served for breakfast like modern pancakes are, but with no accompaniments.

Toppings or additions can include sesame seeds and cheese. Honey would come later for "staititēs," another form of pancake made from a dough as opposed to a batter.

It was not until the 15th century that we finally got the name "pancake" used by the English.

Simplifying pancakes

Pancakes are fairly simple to make. They consist of a batter formed by combining flour, milk, fat, and eggs. The dry ingredients and wet ingredients have to be separated, initially, before they are combined to get the right consistency.

Like your typical batter, pancake batter requires a somewhat strict formula, though it doesn't always have to be exact.

For scaling a batter formula, we typically start with the flour scaled at 100% followed by the other ingredients. Pancake formulas tend to vary in ratio due to many factors. One of the most popular ratios has the milk scaled at 1.5 times the that of the flour.

As for the eggs and fat, they are scaled at 1/4 and 1/8 times respectively by comparison. The recipe below, for pumpkin pancakes, uses this ratio. As a bonus, it contains powdered pumpkin as opposed to pumpkin puree, like most recipes, for added simplicity. Take a look:

Pumpkin pancakes recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb all-purpose flour
  • 8 tbsp pumpkin powder
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 pints whole milk
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • Clarified butter as needed

Directions:

  1. Separate the dry ingredients from the wet ingredients. In a bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, pumpkin powder, and sugar together.
  2. In another bowl, combine the whole milk, eggs, and melted butter.
  3. Add the wet ingredient mix to the dry ingredient mix. Mix until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
  4. Coat a griddle or frying pan lightly with clarified butter or oil and heat over medium heat. Using a measuring cup, measure each batter portion at 1/4 cup each. Using a ladle, portion or batter portioner, transfer the batter portion to the skillet or frying pan.
  5. Cook both sides for three minutes each. Only flip the pancakes when bubbles start to appear on their surfaces and the bottoms are browned.
  6. Serve with syrup or powdered sugar.

Makes six pancakes.

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