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A foolproof recipe and master guide on how to make unbeatable pancakes each and every time.

It’s the quintessential weekend meal.

Served as either a humble stack of pancakes drizzled with maple syrup or done Canadian style with a side of bacon and grilled bananas, any home cook should have a basic pancake recipe up their sleeve.

But when it comes to perfecting the dish, there are  little tips and tricks that can help even the most novice chef make pancakes like a pro. To get the hacks, we quizzed 2015 Masterchef runner-up Georgia Barnes on all her foodie secrets, and she flippin’ delivered.

“Who doesn’t love pancakes? They’re something I make often and there’s endless ways to cook them and flavours to pair them with so I’m always doing something different. But you also can’t beat fluffy kind of pancakes with maple syrup either,” says Georgia, just before I ask her to take us through the process.

This is what she had to say.

Don’t use the microwave when you’re reheating these 5 foods. Your taste buds will thank you.

Video by MMC

How do you make pancakes?

Firstly, when it comes to making pancakes, Georgia specifies they have to be light and fluffy, and that starts with the recipe.

“I think the secret to pancakes and what sets them apart from a fritter or a crepe is that they have to be light and fluffy so you need to make sure there’s raising agent in there,” she begins.

“So my secret is that I use self-raising flour and I also add a little extra baking powder. I think that really helps.”

Then there’s the actual process of making the pancakes, and the food presenter and recipe writer shares the extra step you can do to guarantee the perfect texture.

“If I’m not worried about time, say on a Sunday morning, I’ll separate the eggs and whisk the whites a little bit, when you fold it into the batter you get a very light and fluffy texture in the pancakes too,” she recommends.

“It takes a little more time and you can’t just throw it into a bowl, but it’s one of those things that’s worth it.”

how to make pancakes
The tips and tricks you need to elevate your pancake game. Image: Unsplash.
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For a decadent finish and added flavour, Georgia also adds a pinch of salt and an "extra tablespoon of cream or butter at the end of the process," which she says will give your pancakes a "beautiful and even sheen"... for that Instagram finish of course.

However, when it comes to adding sugar in pancakes, this is where Georgia says the added ingredient isn't really necessary, as she prefers to add sweetness through the toppings.

"The pancake is more of a vessel, you’re eating it for the texture and the sugar doesn’t necessarily affect the consistency or the outcome of the pancake," she says.

"I think in a world where we have hidden sugars in everything, keep it in your toppings."

How do you cook the best pancakes?

Starting with the batter, Georgia says resting the mixture is as important as everyone says it is.

It doesn't need to be long either, and by just leaving it out on the bench for 10 to 15 minutes, you'll relax the gluten and ensure a fluffier result.

"It definitely helps. Get your batter made first and then you can get all your other elements ready," she says.

"You’ll actually notice a change in how the batter looks from when you first make it to when you rest it."

The other step Georgia recommends for home cooks is to ensure the batter is at room temperature when it touches the fry pan, just as you would with a piece of meat.

"Food cooks better when in room temperature," she says.

"The less cold, the less work you have to do to get the flavor out of it."

how to make pancakes
Make sure the batter is at room temperature before frying. Image: Unsplash.

Should there be lumps in the batter, actually?

Now very controversially, when it comes to lumps in the pancakes batter, it's a no from Georgia, and as one of Masterchef's most memorable dessert cooks, we'll take her word for it.

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She says that while the less you mix your batter, the light and fluffier the pancake will be, you also run the risk of incorporating "lumps of flour in your batter".

"I think a thick batter is really important and often that means people beat it more, but that doesn't mean you should just whip everything together," she says, and instead recommends people to be weary of over-mixing, but within reason.

"You’ll cut through the pancake and there'll still be flour. I think for the general home cook, saying [your batter can have lumps] is incorrect."

Georgia's go-to pancake recipe.

Ingredients:

2 cups self-raising flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cups full cream milk

3 free-range eggs, separated

1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp melted butter or cream

Butter for frying

Blueberry sauce:

125g blueberries, fresh or frozen

2 oranges, juice and zest

1-2tsp caster sugar

how to make pancakes
Get these on your 'to-make' list ASAP. Image: Supplied (Georgia Barnes).

Recipe:

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Measure milk into a mixing jug. Add egg yolks and vanilla. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Make a well in the centre of the flour. Add milk mixture. Using a spatula, gently fold together until just combined. The batter will appear quite stiff. Add cream or melted butter and fold together. Set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place egg whites into a clean dry bowl. Whisk until white and fluffy with soft peaks. Carefully fold egg whites into rested pancake batter until just combined.
  4. Place a fry pan over low-medium heat. Once pan is hot, add a knob of butter. Using a measuring cup or ladle, place a large dollop of pancake batter into the centre of the pan. Cook until pancake has risen and air bubbles begin to pop evenly over the surface. (Note: be patient as this may take a little while, but is important to ensure they are light and fluffy. Increasing the temperature will only burn the pancake).
  5. Flip and cook on the other side for 1 minute or until lightly golden. Remove from pan and repeat with remaining batter.
  6. To make the blueberry sauce, place all ingredients into a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Continue to cook for 4-5 minutes or until sauce has reduced slightly and blueberries have broken down.
  7. Serve pancakes warm with a generous drizzle of warm blueberry sauce. Enjoy!
    how to make pancakes
    YUM. Image: Supplied (Georgia Barnes).
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How can you make pancakes healthier?

While we've all heard of the classic 'healthy' banana pancakes (which just involve a batter of two eggs and one banana), any true pancake fan knows that they just don't stack up (pun intended) to the real thing. Despite this, Georgia says there are other ways to bolster the nutritional value of the dish without interfering with the taste and texture.

"It’s all about what you add to it. You can boost the nutritional value of the pancakes without having the added ingredients interfere with the texture," she says.

If you want to opt for an alternative to white flour, Georgia recommends spelt flour which has less gluten and "still tastes as good". You can also add things like chia seeds, grated apple, and cinnamon to your batter, or whip up a simple compote by cooking down your desired fruits with some cinnamon and a dash of maple.

Too easy.

how to make pancakes
YUM. Image: Unsplash.

What are some easy pancake toppings?

Now for the fun bit. Whether you want to go indulgent and decadent or simple and healthy, this is where you can be creative with your cooking and play with flavours. Here are some of Georgia's suggestions.

  •  A full Canadian with a grilled banana, maple syrup and bacon.
  • A berries compote with a thick and creamy Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.
  • Lime and sugar.
  • Add fruit to your batter - just go for fruits that will hold like blueberries or even slices of banana.
  • Play with savoury flavours by adding grated pecorino or parmesan into the batter. This will give the dish a "beautiful flavor while not interfering with the texture too much," says Georgia.
  • Add in some extra veggies like zucchini, carrot or mushrooms for a nutritional boost.

What are your tips and tricks on making the best pancakes ever? Share your hacks in a comment below!

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