Sometimes things just line up perfectly. The sun hits and warms your back just so on a chilly morning. Your coffee is exactly as hot as it can be, without burning your tongue. The ratio of crunchy outer to fluffy inner on your toast is in complete harmony. People say don’t sweat the small stuff, and I totally agree – don’t sweat the negative little things that don’t matter. But the positive little things that don’t matter? Those are worth getting up for in the morning. If your life is the ice cream, and your health and your loved ones and your life goals are the hot fudge, then the little things are the nuts, the cherry and the whipped cream. They’re what really makes it a sundae.
This plate of pancakes is made up not unlike a sundae. It’s got its base component that anchors everything, but it’s really all about the toppings; the little things. Don’t get me wrong, these classic, diner-style pancakes are seriously great. The best basic pancake recipe you could ever want, in fact. But the toppings are what make this worth of your time and attention. I’ve got two words for you friends: BACON BUTTER.
I got the inspiration for this from a recent binge-watch of Christmas cooking shows. See, down here in Australia winter and Christmas don’t line up. And when the sun is blazing down on us come December, thoughts of a hot, gravy-covered dinner aren’t exactly appetising (though tbh I still have them). Regardless, a lifetime of reading wintertime Christmas books from Europe, the UK and USA makes me feel that a REAL Christmas is a cold Christmas. So when it is winter, I like to do a late-July wallow in Christmassy things just to scratch that itch. So there I was, in my PJs, watching an old Jamie Oliver Christmas special when I spotted the idea for a bacon butter. He made his with chestnuts, bacon and sage with a view to putting it on brussels sprouts – which; yum.
But I skipped all the extras and went straight to pancakes. Now, a quick google reveals that bacon butter is not an original idea. Indeed, serving bacon butter on pancakes is not an original idea. In fact, given the heart-stopping qualities of something like this, the number of recipes there are is kind of concerning. But hey, as Nigella always says, you should never strive for originality in food. And I say, go for what tastes good. So I guess the fact that this is so popular just speaks to how good it is.
You’ve got your fluffy duvet of a steaming pancake, with all the delicious, steaming and soft interior you could want. Then, melting deviantly on top of that, not just any butter, but a salty-smoky, crispy-melty pat of bacon-studded butter. BACON BUTTER; say it out loud, it rolls right off the tongue. No stack of pancakes would be complete without a shower of glistening auburn maple syrup, and a smattering of blueberries adds a spike of freshness and acidity to every few bites. Welcome to the greatest Sunday breakfast of your life.
- 1 rasher of streaky bacon
- 100g / 1 stick minus 1 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp / 50g butter
- 1 + ½ cups / 225g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 + ½ cups / 375ml milk
- 3 eggs
- To serve: maple syrup, blueberries
- To make the butter, place the bacon into a cold, non-stick frying pan and place over a medium heat. Bring up to the heat, to let the fat render out, and then cook the bacon on both sides until very crisp. Drain and discard the fat, and set the bacon aside to cool.
- When the bacon is cool, chop the bacon into tiny shards and then mix and knead into the butter. Shape into a log, wrap in baking paper and store in the fridge for up to 3 days, or the freezer for a month.
- To make the pancakes, melt the butter and set aside.
- Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add in all the flour, then separate the eggs, placing the whites into another mixing bowl, and the eggs into the flour-milk mixture.
- Stir the eggs and milk into the flour with a wooden spoon - don't worry about lumps. Stir in the melted butter.
- Whip the egg whites until foamy, not even to soft peaks, just foamy, and then fold into the batter.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat, and cook the pancakes in a dry pan, waiting until bubbles form on one side, then flip and cook until golden and gorgeous.
- Serve with a slice of bacon butter, maple syrup and blueberries.