Many of my favourite recipes are born out of a lack of ingredients, and the need to be creative in order to pull it all together. While staying on a remote sheep farm in the Canterbury High Country in NZ, we had to bring in all our provisions for eight days. When we decided to extend our stay by two additional days, we needed to reevaluate our menu plan and stretch our materials. Craving pancakes one morning, but not having much milk to spare and only one egg, I experimented with the little milk and lots of Greek yogurt we did have in the fridge.
For all its simplicity, a pancake is not just a pancake. Be it a flapjack (North America), pannenkoeken (Netherlands), or serabi (Indonesia), many countries have put their spin on this basic round flat treat. The Kiwis call them pikelets. Usually made with flour, milk, eggs, and icing sugar, they are small and often served with butter or whipped cream. We had our pikelet pancakes for breakfast, and enjoyed them with butter and a syrup we made from Mauka honey (necessity really is the mother of all invention!).
MAKES 12-14 PANCAKES (PIKELETS)
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
2 – 4 tbsp milk (will depend on how thick your Greek yogurt is)
2 tbsp butter, melted + additional butter to grease your frying pan
1 tsp vanilla extract (I didn’t have any on hand, but know it would only make it better)
1 tbsp granulated sugar or liquid honey
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
handful of blueberries (optional)
Preheat oven to 200F (approx. 100C).
In a small bowl, combine yogurt, 2 tbsp milk, egg and vanilla extract. Whisk until blended together. Allow melted butter to cool slightly and then whisk in. If using honey, combine with the wet ingredients.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine flour and baking soda. If using sugar, add it to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a spatula to stir until all blended together. This recipe makes a fairly thick batter. If you need a little more moisture to absorb all the flour, add a couple more tbsp of milk. Don’t over mix, but you do want to make sure all the flour is incorporated and that there are no lumps.
Melt a small amount of butter in a flying pan over medium heat. When the pan is nice and hot, use a soupspoon to measure out spoonfuls of batter into the pan. This batter creates smaller, but nice and thick, pancakes. If you’re making blueberry pancakes, drop a few blueberries into the batter in the pan. After about a minute, check to see if the first side has cooked and then flip. If your pancakes are really thick, press them down after you’ve done the first flip, wait a minute or so, and then flip again so that any raw batter from the middle that has come out when pressed has a chance to cook on both sides. Transfer cooked pancakes to an oven-safe plate, wrap in tin foil, and place in the preheated oven to keep warm while you make each batch. You may need to add a little more butter to the pan between batches to keep them from sticking.
Serve warm pancakes with butter, jam, real Canadian maple syrup (we didn’t have any, so we made a syrup from equal parts Manuka honey and water, cooked down in a small saucepan) – whatever you like best!