Vanilla Bean Pancakes

Pancake stack glory

There are few quintessentially drool inspiring scenes to rival the humble pancake stack. Topped with cream, honey/mapel syrup flowing down the sides like a slow moving volcano of sweetness. It is the kind of breakfast (or dessert) that makes you feel glad you put in the effort to cook it, rather than lying in bed those few extra hours, waiting for the throbbing headache of the night before to subside.

My earliest memories of pancakes (or to be specific pikelets) was Mum cooking up big batches of them on a Saturday morning, using the top of our Kent wood fire back in NZ. It would get so hot that you could literally cook on top of it, so on would go a pan and batch after batch of pikelets would be poured, flipped, and devoured just as fast as Mum could make them.

So these pancakes follow in my great tradition of never eating a proper breakfast except for the weekend. There really just isn’t enough time or patience on my part during the working week to be able to give the meal the love and attention it so richly deserves.

The recipe is a little tarted up from Mum’s original, but stays true enough to the simple home cooking philosophy.

  • 300g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup fine sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (I used 1 tsp of vanilla bean extract)

How I made them
Couldn’t be too much simpler really. Basically sift the dry ingredients together and mix well, then add the wet stuff. The eggs add the nice golden colour, and the vanilla bean extract adds a lovely mottled effect in the batter from the little seeds. Stir it all around and get rid of any lumps until you get a nice smooth creamy consistency.

Let the batter sit for a little while so the baking powder can do it’s magic, and then start to pour the batter into a hot buttered pan. The trick to getting nice round shapes is to always pour into the centre point of the pancake, and let the batter settle itself in the pan.

Then away you go… Watch the batter for signs of bubbles starting to appear, and you’ll know when they’re ready to flip. I highly recommend using a good flat spatula and a nonstick pan to save yourself some hassle. Once your pan is hot, it will take literally seconds for the pancakes to start bubbling… most taking a maximum of a minute or so to be completely cooked.

This is why they call them hotcakesI got a bit excited with the honey

The most important thing about pancakes as far as I’m concerned, is eating them while they’re hot.
If you have to wait to get them onto a plate, then be sure and lather generously with maple/golden syrup/honey, fresh berries, cream, ice cream… anything you can think of really…personally straight out of the pan and into the mouth is ideal, do what I do and take a mouthful of cream and honey beforehand so you’re not wasting valuable seconds while transferring them from spoon to mouth :) (Nb: this is not encouraged behaviour for polite social gatherings).

15 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Pancakes”

  1. Now you’re reminding ME of Saturday mornings at home when my mum made pancakes! I’m more partial to french toast myself but there’s nothing wrong with a stack of pancakes now and then…

  2. Hot cakes! My mum makes crepes as opposed to pancakes, though we still call them pancakes. My favourite way of eating them is hot off the pan with peanut butter and rolled up. It becomes this gooey crunchy yummy roll of goodness. Alternatively if I’m being less like Elvis, a few pancakes with cold stewed strawberries and vanilla icecream. Yours look SO good.

  3. Have you tried the new vanilla paste that Queen has bought out – yum! I gather it’s in a few supermarkets, but I haven’t seen it yet, but if you want serious vanilla flavour its worth looking for.

  4. Hey Cindy, can’t say I’ve ever been the biggest fan of French toast…but then I’m not that continental I guess… Although I am rather partial to a good croissant while overthrowing monarchies… So perhaps I’d fit in.

    Sue, I did the savoury crepes thing recently, and the fact that they turned out so well made me think about the pancakes. My only addition to your elvis style crepe extravaganza would be to deep fry them in butter and roll them in sugar.

    Tracy, I had to go and look at the jar but it is indeed Vanilla paste by Queens (although I thought you meant for a second that QEII had personally invested in vanilla paste… which would be a bold move). It’s great stuff indeed.

  5. Ha ha, I’m far from being continental myself but I think a good croissant is always worth it! Crepes on the other hand, like the way they do it in France, are awesome. The best we had were crepes with salted butter caramel and galette with blue cheese – mmmmmm… sorry to get off track here…

    Btw, I like the function where you get notified about followup comments. How would I go about adding that onto my blog? I’m so NOT tech-savvy.

    Also, what are the best one or two asian restaurants in Perth?

  6. Hey Cindy, it’s all good, crepes, pancakes, anything made from batter and fried in a pan is valid in this post, so go nuts. I may have to post the crepes we made up recently too, seeing the groundswell of pancake/crepe support in the air right now.

    This blog runs on WordPress, and the notifier is a WordPress plugin I use. If you’d like some help/info on setting it up, shoot me an email. Blog tech support is almost turning into my sideline business these days :)

    Hrmm, best asian restaurants in Perth… that’s tricky. “Asian” is pretty broad field… and to my knowledge there is no Flower Drum equivalent over here… Personally I can’t recommend anywhere as being that much elevated from the standard Chinese/Vietnamese/Japanese/Thai you get in most cities the world over… Red Teapot in Northbridge is a nice little place, and Yu in the Burswood complex is probably the fanciest looking place in town.

    Maybe someone else can help me out here ? (Billy Lee’s not included)

  7. Wow! These look great. And i can get that great vanilla flavour without exposing myself to the dreaded vanilla ice cream.

  8. oh good lord… i had to come back from your flickr stream to see them again on your blog. really good work with the photos matt… the steam makes it look HOTT – yes a deserving double T.

    p.s. your recommendation to first fill ones gob with cream AND syrup is quite disconcerting :P

  9. Jennifer: They did indeed smell great… I was being trailed by patissiers for the rest of the day.

    Ed: There was actually a huge bucket of Vanilla ice cream just out of shot. I’ve started using it to clean the walls since reading your post. It’s not entirely effective.

    Deb: I will take your TT and raise you a third…that’s how HOTTT they were. On a semi-related note, inhaling vanilla flavoured steam does not get you high, and everyone knows the mouth is natures own dessert bowl.

    Ange: Sorry… hopefully you don’t have too large a puddle to clean up. Pancakes are also very absorbant…if that helps :)

  10. oh yummm! There’s just something about pancakes/pikelets, isn’t there?
    They always seem to remind me about childhood and I think that’s why i love eating them so much. And you are spot on, a pancake stack is one of the most salivating images ever!

  11. Thanks JenJen, Sid, and Cyd (dun dun daaah), for your nice comments. You’ll all be happy to know I’ve made these a few times now, and they’ve turned out great each time. The last slight variation was to add a bit of nutmeg… which I’m still contemplating my philosophical stance towards….but it seemed to work.

    Peace out.

Leave a Reply