Crepes, Waffles & Pancakes by Kathryn Hawkins
176 pages; Color photographs; Soft cover; $15.95 US
Good Books, Intercourse, PA 2006
Reviewed by Sue Glovsky for Good Cooking, Inc. December 2006

Since pancakes have been a favorite breakfast food in my home for twenty-one years, I was looking forward to reviewing a cookbook that took the simple “pancake” to another level. The book is educational, without making a novice chef feel uneducated. The author, Kathryn Hawkins, spends the first twenty-one pages talking about the history of the pancake, explaining ingredients that would be used and kitchen equipment that would be helpful to have when ready to cook.

Crepes, Waffles & Pancakes is divided into 5 sections: 1) Breakfast/Brunch, 2) Main Meals, 3) Specialty, 4) Snacks and 5) Desserts. Almost every recipe has a beautiful picture of the finished product. The recipes are straightforward and easy to follow and do not require culinary school to be successful. I began testing by making the basic pancake recipe so that I would start with the core recipe of the book (pg. 22). The recipe was simple and that can be said for the pancake as well. The consistency was much lighter than I was used to and resembled a crepe more than a pancake.

I have never thought of pancakes for dinner, so I thought that I would try the Deep-pan pancake recipe (pg. 50). The preparation time was quick, and in less than thirty minutes, I had an enjoyable brunch entree that would be perfect with a green salad. I couldn’t wait to try Cherry Clafoutis (pg. 98) under the Specialty section. I was not able to find fresh cherries, so I used frozen ones instead. The recipe was easy to follow and took less than 15 minutes to prepare. It reminded me of a French souffle, light and airy. It lacked an obvious flavor, but I still thought that it would be tasty as a dessert served with vanilla ice cream. I happen to enjoy pancakes the old fashioned way. Crepes, Waffles & Pancakes takes the pancake to another dimension.

Cherry Clafoutis
Sweet and Juicy
A much-loved, irresistibly rich French pudding, half pancake batter and half custard. It is best made with fresh cherries when they are in season.

Serves 6

2/3 cup (90g) plain flour
3 Tbsp extra-fine sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups (300ml) milk
2/3 cup (150ml) light cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp (15g) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups (500g) fresh cherries, pitted
Confectioners sugar, to dust

To serve:
Light cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Sift the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and make a well in the center. Add the eggs and pour in the milk and cream. Gradually work the flour into the eggs and milk and whisk to form a smooth, thick batter. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Grease a 10-in (25-cm) round or shaped baking dish with the butter, add the cherries and pour the batter over them. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until risen and golden - the middle should be just set. Serve warm, dusted with confectioners sugar and accompanied with light cream if liked.

The Perfect (Pancake) Batter

There are several hints and tips to take into account when making a batter, but if you follow this step-by-step guide, you should be able to produce faultless pancakes, crepes and waffles galore to the envy of your friends and the delight of your loved ones. It is a universal truth that the first pancake or crepe you make from a batch of batter is usually a failure. I have not managed to figure out exactly why this happens, so I regard this phenomenon as the cook's privilege and a way of ensuring the batter tastes okay!

Basic pancake batter: This will produce the most traditional of all pancakes, plain and simple, but full of flavor and mouth-wateringly soft in texture. The same principles apply, whatever type of flour or liquid you are using.

Makes 8 pancakes

1 cup (125g) plain flour
1 pinch salt
1 egg
1 1/4 cups (300ml) milk
Vegetable oil

Combine the flour and salt in a bowl; make a well in the center and break in the egg. Add half the milk and gradually work into the flour using a whisk. Beat lightly until well combined and smooth - too much whisking causes the gluten in the flour to develop and will make the finished batter chewy. Add the remaining milk gradually, whisking gently until the batter has the consistency of light cream.

Deep-Pan Pancake

A cross between a pancake and a pizza. Omit the ham for a vegetarian version. You can incorporate and use up leftover vegetables in this way as well - just chop and add to the pan before you pour in the batter.

Serves 4

1 quantity Basic pancake batter (see pages 22-24), herbed
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium leek, trimmed and sliced
Generous 1/2 cup (125g) sugar snap peas, trimmed and finely sliced
1 small zucchini, trimmed and finely diced
4oz (125g) fine asparagus, trimmed and cut into short lengths
6oz (180g) lean diced ham
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4oz (125g) Gruyere or Emmenthal cheese, grated

To serve:
Crisp green salad

Prepare the herbed batter and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan - about 9 1/2in (24cm) base diameter - and stir-fry the vegetables for 5 minutes until just tender. Add the ham and seasoning and mix well. Pour in the batter and cook over low heat for about 12 minutes or until set. Keep the heat quite low to prevent the bottom from over-browning.

Carefully loosen the pancake and slide out onto a plate. Flip over, back into the pan, and cook the other side for a further 5 minutes.

Preheat the broiler to a medium-to-hot setting, Turn the pancake back over and sprinkle the top with grated cheese. Cook under the broiler for 3 minutes until melted, golden and bubbling. Serve cut into wedges with a green salad.