This morning, there was pancake. Glorious, crispy, banana and berry filled pancakes smothered in maple syrup. But first there was failure. I woke up with a brilliant idea of making coconut and banana pancakes filled with desiccated coconut and drizzled with honey. As I was stirring in the coconut the doubt began to descend. ‘Why so lumpy’? I pondered to myself. ‘Hmmm’ I muttered. ‘There seems to be water in this batter’. I should have stopped there, but I persevered and got out the frying pan. ‘Strange… every pancake was sticking to the pan’? That’s how the episode began. It ended with me pointing to a ruined frying pan in the sink filled with burnt pancake and shouting ‘YOU F***ING BETRAYED ME’. Needless to say the first pancakes did not turn out well.
Instead of giving in, I thought no. This is not the day that the pancake wins. So I pulled out trusty Nigella Lawson’s pancake recipe from How to Eat and adjusted her recipe, knowing it would lead me safely down the pancake path. I lowered the amount of milk and added a mashed banana but otherwise the recipe is the same. These aren’t anything fancy pancy. There isn’t any coconut (don’t try it! I think that’s what made them stick!) or buttermilk or Turkish yogurt or whole wheat. But they are still delicious. They are fluffy, and very fast to make. If you please you can chill them for an hour before making them but I never do, and they work out fine.
What to watch is the heat of the stove, it should be medium. The melted butter, there should be minimum froth in the pan if you don’t want uneven edges. And the berries- don’t add them until you’ve already poured the batter in. I use the same ladle filled to the brim for every scoop so that all the pancakes are even, but you don’t have to be as particular as all that.
Making these pancakes today and having a kitchen failure made me realise how long it had been since I’d completely stuffed up a recipe. Haunting memories of the chocolate cake that had no oil, and could be folded in half like a rubber tire, floated to mind. Or chocolate roulade that ended up a pile of melted chocolate cream and broken shards of crispy pancake sponge. In the end though it was always good to make those failures because I’d still tried something new, and learnt from my failures.
These pancakes today were born out of pancake failure. And they’re great. So you should make them too.
Fluffy Banana and Blueberry Pancakes: Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Pancake Recipe
1 banana, mashed, plus more for topping
200ml (1 cup) milk
30g (2 tbsp) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
125g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g (1/2 cup) fresh or frozen whole blueberries
Sift your flour and baking powder into a large bowl. In a separate bowl mash your banana well. Crack egg into the flour and mix until just combined. Stir in the mashed banana. Slowly mix in the milk until the pancakes are pourable but still thick. Pour in the melted butter and stir in.
Heat your frying pan on medium and melt a small pat of butter. Take a level scoop of batter and pour into the pan. Place 6-7 blueberries on the top of the pancake whilst it cooks. Once tiny bubbles form across the top, use a spatula to flip the pancake over. After another 30 seconds or so flip it on to a plate and repeat with the next process. If you are a slow pancake maker, or are making a lot, preheat the oven to 100C and place a plate of the pancakes in the oven to keep them warm. Serve with maple syrup and more sliced banana immediately.