Yes, PANCAKES are numero five on Google’s most-requested recipe list. And while I always loved pancakes as a kid, we never ate them at home. Instead we enjoyed my mother’s crepe-like palascintas (she was Hungarian) and ventured out to IHOP as a special treat. (We also had Christmas brunch there this year!) My brother and I ate buttermilk pancakes (I’m sure I had mine with strawberries), but my mother ate IHOP’s version of palascintas! — elegant crepes drenched in a faux Grand Marnier syrup. My dad ate hash, sausage and bacon. As I recall, his cholesterol was surprisingly low. But most people eat pancakes at home. Only this year did I create a pancake recipe for Radically Simple, where the batter rises slowly overnight — much in the way that a yeast-bread rises — allowing for concentrated flavor and lots of air bubbles that result in supernal fluffiness. These pancakes are the yin to the yang of Marion Cunninghams’ “Heavenly Hots” — my favorite pancake experience of all time. I first had them at the Bridge Creek Restaurant one morning, in Berkeley, California, when I was alone on a business trip. John Hudspeth was the chef and owner and a dear friend of Marion’s: She was the original Fanny Farmer and one of the most loved women in the food world. (I later became of friend of Marion’s and dearly enjoyed my time with her near her home in Walnut Creek, CA and when she visited New York.) I recall the first bite of the aptly-named “heavenly hot.” I swooned. Everyone did. For these small delicate pancakes seemed to levitate, then slowly disappear on your tongue.
Thanks to Marion’s lovely book, “The Breakfast Book,” signed to ‘Michael and Rozanne’ in 1987, (we had just gotten married), the inclusion of this special recipe makes it possible to eat them at home. In her sweet headnote Marion writes, “These are the lightest sour cream silver-dollar-size hotcakes I’ve ever had — they seem to hover over the plate. They are heavenly and certainly should be served hot.”
Bridge Creek Heavenly Hots
According to Marion, this recipe yields fifty to sixty small pancakes!
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup cake flour
2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoons sugar
Put the eggs in a mixing bowl and stir until well blended. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, sour cream, and sugar. Mix well. All of this can be done in a blender, if you prefer. Heat a griddle or frying pan until it is good and hot, film with grease, and drop small spoonfuls of batter onto the griddle — just enough to spread to an approximately 2-1/2-inch round. When a few bubbles appear on top of the pancakes, turn them over and cook briefly. Makes 50 to 60 silver-dollar size pancakes