Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Almanacs and Pikelets

As it's somehow, unbelievably, almost the middle of January I thought I'd better have a look at the almanacs I bought last year, and maybe do something seasonal. I started with Miranda York's food almanac which has 2 attractive breakfast suggestions.

There's a spiced blueberry muffin cake from Charlotte Druckman which sounds spectacular, but feeds 10 -12, is best eaten on the day it's made, and will have to wait for the next New Years family gathering that can be managed. Which is at least something to look forward to, and has the added bonus that if my youngest sister is there she will almost certainly take on actually cooking this beast whilst the rest of us drink coffee and offer encouragement. 

The second option is Ella Risbridger's Imperfect Pikelets. The recipe says it serves 4, but also if you're on your own to make the whole lot anyway because they'll keep a few days. I like a scaled down recipe, and I also like the way that this one is set up for breakfast. It's get up make a cup of tea, mix the batter, go back to bed for an hour (or alternatively walk a dog for an hour) fits my current routine so I gave it a go.

I've not made pikelets before, or even actually ever seen one, so I'm guessing about size and appearance. I got up at 7, made my cup of tea and the batter, went back to bed with a book and listened to the radio a bit. I thought whilst I made it that the batter was quite wet, and I know that the packets of yeast I bought early last summer, whilst still well within date, got over hot late summer - nothing is rising particularly well with them. On the other hand it was the last sachet and I thought I'd take my chances. It turned out that my Bicarbonate of Soda is also a couple of months past it's best before - I'll replace that asap. My flat is also quite cool at the moment, especially the kitchen which doesn't have any heating in it.

This is all leading up to the batter not rising as actively as it should. I gave it another half hour, and then a bit longer, and was then to hungry to wait so I made the pikelets. They tasted good, and had the correct bubbles. I risked using a griddle pan (I don't have good form with this), which is a pain to heat on my electric hob. I'm still trying to find the optimum heat for it to cook so that things don't take forever and stick, or burn and stick. I'm almost there, and at least it's big enough to make more than 1 pikelet at a time on. 

The experiment with the griddle pan worked out less badly than in the past, and I was happy with the taste and texture of the pikelets, if a bit suspicious of their general appearance - the images of Australian ones all over the internet are depressingly perfect, mine were definitely as imperfect as the recipe title promised. I do like that they're much thinner than crumpets which I've never especially cared for, but I also think the batter needs to be a little bit thicker so I might up the flour content if I make these again - this recipe has more liquid in it than I'd use for an American pancake/drop scone which seems off. 

Meanwhile I've been reading other pikelet recipes for comparison, have left the rest of the batter to see what it does in a few hours time, am making a shopping list and checking to see what else is hopelessly out of date in my cupboards. The liquid to dry ingredient ratio seems much the same in all of them (but not all flour is equal, and currently I'm using what's available which has not always been the best quality in the last year). Risbridger's recipe definitely has the advantage of being sensibly sized, and having a timetable that fits attractively round a likely routine. 

A few hours later, I added more flour to the remaining batter - it didn't make much difference, and I've about had it with the griddle which I'm thinking is probably only good for using as a cast iron bread or pizza stone. I like the pikelets though. They're sufficiently different to pancakes in taste and texture to feel worth making. The recipe in 'The Food Almanac' is the perfect size for anything less than an absolute crowd. They make a great breakfast, but on a cold grey day they make an even better afternoon tea treat. Also I probably need to consider getting a full size, non stick, frying pan. 


  1. I've never heard of pikelets, but they sound delicious. (Who can go wrong with butter and jam?)

    Thanks for the introduction!

  2. I'd read about them but never tried making them. Mine need a bit of work but were generally pleasing so I'm happy to carry on putting the work in until I've perfected them. They're very much comfort food which is also particularly appealing right now.