Cook Like A Clerkenwell Chef – All American Buttermilk Pancakes

Not only do many of the capital’s top chefs ply their trade in EC1, our area is home to one of London’s best food bloggers, too. Seb Emina, creator of the excellent London Review of Breakfasts blog, shares his recipe for a skyscraper of big, fat American pancakes.



Makes around 12 pancakes

225ml buttermilk (or milk plus fresh lemon juice, see recipe)
160g plain flour
20g caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium egg
40g unsalted butter


Seb says: ‘The trademark rising effect of American pancakes relies on the reaction of bicarbonate of soda with buttermilk to create a flurry of bubbles in the batter. The basic principle is to mix the dry ingredients, and combine with the wet, cook in batches and serve in stacks. Classic additions include fresh blueberries (stir 125g into the mix at the last minute),or a side of crisp, fried streaky bacon.’

If you don’t have any buttermilk, squeeze the juice of a lemon into a measuring jug, and top up with milk to 225ml. Leave to thicken into ‘soured milk’ for 5 minutes.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, and in a separate bowl whisk up the wet ingredients.

Add all the wet to the dry, and whisk until all the flour is incorporated. Do not over-mix as it can over-develop the gluten, which makes the pancakes rubbery: the batter should be a little lumpy and quite thick.

Let it sit for 10 minutes.

In a large, medium hot frying pan melt a teaspoon of the butter. Very carefully give the pan a quick wipe with some kitchen pan to soak up any excess grease. Now add a tablespoon of the mixture- it should spread a little but hold its shape. Cook until the surface is covered in bubbles and the underside is browned, a couple of minutes. If you’re adding blueberries, now’s the time, sprinkle over the just-setting top side. Gently flip the pancake and cook until both sides are browned.

It’s a good idea to cook a test pancake first, check they don’t brown too quickly and that the batter is not too thick or thin. If it’s too thick add a little more milk, too thin, a dash more flour. Once you’re happy with the mix, add a few tablespoons to the pan, but be careful not to overcrowd it.

Between pancakes, carefully give the pan a quick wipe with your buttery kitchen paper. If the pancakes begin to stick, add another teaspoon of butter and repeat the wiping process.

Serve hot from the pan with a smear of butte, and lashings of maple syrup. Fruit scattered over the pancakes, especially banana, is excellent.