BACON CRACKLIN’ PANCAKE W/ SALTED HONEY
WHEN DID THE ALL-STAR WORD “CRUST” LEAVE THE PANCAKE CONVERSATION?
I know, there are a lot of you out there, who loves pancakes. And I just want to say, really, I tried.
I’ve never understood pancakes… I’ve never understood the appeal of it. I’ve never understood the logistics of it. The oftentimes blandness and monotoned textures of it. The never-ending flipping just so at the end, having only one that’s fresh and hot of it. All of it. I don’t get it. All these years, I told myself that all I need is a moment. A wow-moment. A moment where a pancake so good, it comes barging into my oblivious life and smacks my foolishness awake, and poof just like that, I’d be a happy pancake folk. Because aren’t you all?
But instead I found myself a pre-middle-aged women, i-hop-ing for the stack that never came.
But this Monday, unexpectedly, out of the blue, just like that, it did. And not from anyone’s grandmama or any trending brunch joints, but I found my printed wows in a heavily-tattooed-arm’s length on a gorgeous book. When I saw the picture of those two “cracklin’ cornbread”, with their ruthlessly caramelized crusts so graphic, I could hear the sound of my fingernails scraping through its surface… I realized (insert gospel playlist here)… that, that was my pancake-moment.
I mean of course! Crust! The missing link, the better half, the forsaken part of a pancake’s soul that it never knew was missing! And I want to know just why and when the hell, did the all-star vocab crust, so cruelly leave the pancake conversation to die and dry in a desert of flappy-ness?
I mean really, the word crust is practically the second most-liked words in food-talks next to melt-in-your-mouth. We talk about it in pizzas. We talk about it in steaks. We talk about it in grilled cheeses. And now, we even talk about in fried eggs. Crust this. Crust that. Shit I can even see it being brought up in a meditation session over Alcide’s abs. But not on pancakes, my friends. Neeeuuuu. Pancakes should be fluffy… puffy… flappy… and let’s not forget, theatrically stacked sky-high so we won’t notice just how plainly – boring they are.
And this time, it’s pancake’s turn to wake up.
I warn you, nothing will ever be the same for you afterward. It would be like… kissing your best friends good-bye on their funeral. A sad revelation it may be, but inconvenient it is not. This is one of the rare occurrences, where the universe thought that it’s finally time to cut us some fucking slack, and make the awesomeness as well as the convenience of a recipe, simultaneously so. The entire batter will be cooked inside one single skillet laden with bacon-dripping or butter, lidded and cooked over medium-low heat so while the bottom forms a hard-core crust, the batter steams and expand. Then when the time comes, you give it a one single flip. The second formation takes place, and in about 15 minutes total, you will be looking at the ultimate pancake that’s going to blow you away.
I guarantee that it will embody all your favourite vocabs for pancakes… airy, light, and I know I know, fluffy. Don’t worry they’re all here. But now let’s talk about that jacket it’s wearing! A shimmering and porous crust that is so beautiful, it almost transcends the limits of our sensual barriers. It looks, borderline audible. Yes. Just of it looking at you, you can hear the scrapes of your knife upon impact, the sound it makes when it firmly cracks, the streaming honey running over the edge, the shizzling of salty bacon bits as they fall. And most importantly, the unbelievable crunching song it sings when it makes a symphony of crispiness, softness, sweetness and savouriness in your mouth.
I’m sorry. I know. It’s heart-wrenching. How about those sliced banana? They’re stackable? It’ll make you feel better while you make a new BFF.
- 3 oz (85 grams/about 2~3 strips) bacon, or salted pork without garlic flavouring
- 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt
- 1 1/4 cup (168 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3 tsp (10 grams) light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 cup (297 grams) whole milk
- 2 tbsp (27 grams) canola oil
- 1 tbsp (15 grams) water
- 2 tbsp (28 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- Honey, or maple syrup to serve
- Ripen bananas or your choice of fresh fruits
- Mince the bacons (I used salted pork without garlic flavouring) until they resemble ground meat. In a small 8" (21 cm) non-stick skillet or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, cook the minced bacons over medium heat for 4~5 min, until the fat is rendered and bacons are crispy. Drain through a fine sieve, then return the bacon-dripping back to the skillet. Mix the crispy bacons with sea salt (see note), set aside.
- Mix together all-purpose flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, whole milk, canola oil and water just until relatively smooth (small lumps are fine). Add enough melted butter to the skillet so you have about 2 tbsp of fat in total (plus the bacon dripping), and set over medium heat. Once the butter starts to bubble, pour in the pancake-batter, then gently tuck in the sides with a spatula to make the edges smooth. PUT A LID ON then turn the heat down to medium~medium-low, and cook for about 8~11 min. Try your best NOT TO PEEK in the first 8 min, or you'll lose steam and the pancake may not cook properly. After 8 min, check and see if a deeply caramelized and crispy bottom-crust has formed (it's ok if the center of the batter still looks a bit runny). If not, put the lid back on and cook for another couple min.
- When it's ready to be flipped, I find it easier to gently lift the pancake with a fork, then insert a wide spatula underneath. Gently lift the pancake, then tilt the skillet slightly towards it and flip the pancake over. Pour another 1 tbsp of melted butter along the edges, and cook for another 4~5 min over medium-low heat until the other side is browned and crispy as well.
- Serve the pancake immediately, with fresh fruits, honey or maple syrup, and sprinkle the sea-salted bacon bits on top.
This pancake batter is eggless because of my egg allergy. But I don't see why you can't switch it to your favourite pancake batter with eggs.
It's important to use a smaller skillet instead of large ones, so you'll get a nice thickness for the pancake.
I felt the bacon bits alone weren't sharp enough in saltiness, so I mixed in a nice pinch of flakey sea salt and it was just right. But if you find your bacon already very salty, then you can omit the sea salt.
Tina | The WorktopFebruary 11, 2015 at 10:42 PM
BEAUTIFUL! I am a die hard pancake lover already, and I didn’t think it was possible for me to like pancakes even more. Until I read this post. I’m in love with pancakes all over again. Great post and thanks for sharing.
LeiliFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:03 PM
Love Sean Brock’s book, his cornbread naturally caught my eye too, but your recipe is simpler (in that it’s not cornbread so I actually have all the ingredients)! I’m going to try this. And I bet this recipe lends itself well to savory flavors too, what do you think? Would throwing in some scallions and Gruyere be too weird?
Leili @yinandyolk.comFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:07 PM
Also your photos are beautiful. That is all.
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:32 PM
Leili, I was thinking the exact same thing!!! Fried chicken on top, uh? Anyone?
TingFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:12 PM
I need to say this is pretty genius. I had exactly the same feeling about pancake as you did, and still keep the same attitude today, but never said it loud. Last weekend I fried some bacon and applied a chiffon technique to the pancakes using Kodiak Flapjack Waffle Mix, which was not bad at all. But your post inspired me that maybe the bacon bits can be left at the bottom of the pan then covered with poured pancake batter? Maybe this weekend I will give it a try.
Charlie (Chockywoky)February 11, 2015 at 11:26 PM
You’re like a genius. I swear. Scratch that. You ARE a genius.
Oh boy, pancakes will never be the same again. (and speaking of which, I should probably stop checking your blog and return to that stack of homework waiting for me :/)
Leanna RFebruary 11, 2015 at 11:46 PM
Finally!! someone who understands me. BUT now that the idea is firmly planted in my head, I am wondering about other stuff. Like bread pudding, muffins. Imagine crispy cupcakes, fried oatmeal.
AllynFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:15 AM
I love a pancake with a crispy edge, and I fucking hate cooking/flipping a batch of pancakes, so….
This is pretty much heaven.
Trish @ Well Worn ForkFebruary 12, 2015 at 5:04 AM
Bacon just belongs in pancakes.
Ursula @ LilVienna.comFebruary 12, 2015 at 5:37 AM
Looks absolutely delicious (coming from a person who has pancake batter in her genes). I would omit the bacon though because the pancake-bacon-combination is still weird for me, coming from Austria. Maybe I get used to it one day ;-)
Rebecca @ DisplacedHousewifeFebruary 12, 2015 at 6:57 AM
Loving the cornbread-pancake-bacon collision. Delicious!!
AngelaFebruary 12, 2015 at 10:22 AM
This reminds me of the pancake souffle they serve at Hoshino Coffee in Japan! but a more intense, upgraded version.
Thalia @ butter and briocheFebruary 12, 2015 at 12:03 PM
The sweet and salty combo is my absolute favourite so I can imagine how GOOD this bacon and honey pancake must have tasted. You definitely can consider I will be making the recipe!
ChristyFebruary 12, 2015 at 1:43 PM
Oh man, this looks like my kind of pancake. “Crust” is also my high school nickname that my friends still call me by, and I’m glad they do because Crust on anything and everything is perfection! Do you think I can use pancetta instead of bacon? I have some leftover from a ragu I made a couple days ago.
MamaHanFebruary 12, 2015 at 11:54 PM
Wow, this looks amazing!! I have all the ingredients, but no cast iron skillet. (I know!!) Do you think it would work if I use a ceramic or non-stick pan? I’d like to try and make it for Valentine’s Day breakfast.
Thanks for your help and insight, Mandy! :)
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 12, 2015 at 11:57 PM
Mamahan, that’s what i used! A small non-stick skillet!
MamaHanFebruary 13, 2015 at 12:07 AM
Jeepers, thank you for the lightning fast response! I have visions of bacon bits and sliced bananas dancing in my head. :)
renataFebruary 13, 2015 at 6:37 AM
question – do you put the bacon bits back into the pancake batter or just on top once the pancake is done? thank you! looks amazing
mandy@ladyandpupsFebruary 13, 2015 at 2:50 PM
Renata, no. The bacon bits are more used as a salty seasoning (like flakey salt). You wouldn’t need all of it for serving actually.
LIz @ Floating KitchenFebruary 14, 2015 at 9:23 PM
This salty + sweet combo looks like the ideal way to start the day. And yeah for bringing us some texture in our pancakes! Love it!
brookeMarch 27, 2015 at 12:57 AM
Sorry for the overkill in detail, but when you say small nonstick do you mean a 12 in? Do you think that would be ok? Nothing like getting something all ready to make and the messing it up at the last minute :) Thanks!
mandy@ladyandpupsMarch 27, 2015 at 1:46 AM
Brooke, my skillet is 20 cm, so much smaller than 12 inch:)