Recently, I’ve been on a real quest to cook as proudly South African as I can. It wasn’t actually a conscious decision, just something that kind of happened. It’s just so easy in the colder months to venture deeper into your roots and cook real home food. Especially as South Africa is famous for stews, curries and the type of comfort food you can only dream of. Malva pudding, Tamatie bredie and Pancakes with Cinnamon-sugar has to be the best of them all. Almost every person I know wants Pancakes with cinnamon sugar on a cold or rainy day. It’s just the way we were raised.
Now in other countries, what we call pancakes, are known as crepes. I’m not sure of this, but I think the recipe is almost identical and the end result needs to be a thin and almost vulnerable ‘sheet’ of batter, fried to perfection until it’s almost “lace-like”. Sprinkled with loads of cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of lemon juice, this is what comfort is made of. Once again, most South Africans (especially Afrikaners) have their own pancake recipes which has probably been carried over from generation to generation. And for once, I also have a recipe like that. This recipe is absolutely fool-proof and although I admit that making pancakes can be quite a mission at times, only the first 5 are flops, after that it should go smoothly. (Eat the flops with loads of cinnamon sugar..kind of a ‘chef’s treat’)
I think the secret to successful pancakes is to have your pan constantly well-greased. I use cooking spray AND a teaspoon of oil every time I add more batter to the pan. Also, you need to play around with your pans and see which one is the perfect pancake pan. and you need to find the perfect heat setting on your stove. For me, the perfect amount of batter is just under a ladle full, about 3/4 of a ladle. Bring the pan to the bowl of batter and pour the batter in slowly while swirling the pan around to coat the base of the pan with a thin layer of batter. Once air bubble appear on the surface and the pancake pulls away from the sides of the pan, you can flip it over. Do this anyway you want, flip it like a pro or use any utensil you want. They might tear if they are very thin but that’s not a problem, flip them anyway, adjust them slightly and pour a tiny bit of batter over the tear and allow to cook. Stack the pancakes on a plate set over a pot of gently simmering water to keep them warm and only sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar when you’re ready to serve them.
Makes 40 pancakes
1 cup oil
4tsp white vinegar
4 cups flour
1tsp baking powder mixed with 2tsp luke warm water (only add this to the batter when you are ready to bake the pancakes)
- Mix everything together, beating well to ensure there are no lumps. Allow to stand for 15-20 minutes covered.
- When you are ready to bake the pancakes, mix the batter again and if it’s too thick, add a bit more water. It needs to be quite thin, about the thickness of home-made custard.You’ll see if you bake the first few if the batter is too thick, the pancakes need to be very thin.
- Heat the pan and spray with cooking spray and 1tsp of oil. Add the baking powder mix to the batter and mix through.
2 cups Caster sugar
2-3tbsn Cinnamon (add as much or as little as you like)
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon thoroughly and scatter over baked pancakes.
If you like the flavours of South Africa, try these: