Flat-Out, The Best Pancakes

Cooking, Recipes By Feb 07, 2011

My swami loves pancakes.

But finding the cloud-like hot cakes that he remembers from his childhood has been a bit of an obsession for this gentle man who holds a master’s degree in Asian medicine. He isn’t a swami, per se. I call him that with respect and affection.

He’s a board-certified acupuncturist, a fellow that seems to have found the secret to contentment.

His life seems in perfect balance, divided between healing, family life, meditation and surfing.

Only the search for the lighter-than-air pancakes, like the ones his late mother made, unsettles him. He works up a big appetite with his early-morning surf sessions. And for years he and his surfing buddy Greg have sampled post-surf pancakes from a wide variety of eateries, only to be disappointed.

As his patient, I’ve heard about it, sometimes between the insertions of carefully placed needles in my tender flesh. So I did some searching and experimenting. Here’s the recipe that makes memory pancakes.

Pancake wisdom: Stovetops vary greatly, so you may need to adjust burner setting between medium-low and medium for best results. For maximum rise, allow eggs and buttermilk to come to room temperature before using them. Although these pancakes are best served in batches, they can be kept warm for up to 20 minutes. Place pancakes in single layer on a cooling rack coated with cooking spray on a baking sheet and put in middle of a 200-degree oven.

Swami-Approved Cloudcakes
Yield: Makes 25 (3-inch) pancakes, about 6 servings
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs, separated, plus 2 extra egg whites
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided use
1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda and salt together in large bowl. In separate medium bowl, stir buttermilk and sour cream together until combined. Add egg yolks and butter to buttermilk mixture; stir well to combine.
2. With electric mixer or balloon whisk, beat all 4 egg whites in large bowl into soft peaks.
3. Pour buttermilk mixture over dry ingredients; whisk until just combined. (Batter should be lumpy, with visible streaks of flour.) Using rubber spatula, carefully fold whites into batter until just combined. Do NOT overmix – a few streaks of whites should be visible.
4. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Using 1/8-cup measure or small ladle, spoon batter into pan. Cook until bottoms are evenly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Serve, cooking remaining batter and using more vegetable oil as needed to grease pan.
Source: Cook’s Country magazine

My “swami” Jeffery Averill practices at Peaceful Waves in Long Beach, CA.

Crawl in, skip out.

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