Of the many seminal VHS’s that held up the busted bookshelves of the share houses of my life—titles that arched nostalgically to the Friday nights of childhood—there were a handful that were considered ‘all-time’, rarely denied an enthusiastic screening.
Up there with ‘Goonies’ and pretty much anything John Hughes ever made, ‘Uncle Buck’ secured a lofty position on the VHS pedestal. In various states of consciousness, housemates and I throughout the years would cherish this parable of oaf-come-good, wishing each time that we had someone in the house that could flip up a batch of snow-shovel-sized, cardiac arrest pancakes just like John Candy could.
One night, jonesin’ for a fix, eight of us piled into our mate, Sheep’s Fairmont sedan for an ill-gotten road pilgrimage to ‘Smorgy’s All You Can Eat’ in Heidelberg, where we consumed everything but the fake lobster and gorged on pikelets, classily loading up a plastic bags’ worth for the ride home, and another for a supplemental stash of green and red jelly.
The perfect pancake seemed elusive back then, mystifying in hindsight given how easy they are to cook. You just need a little milk, some flour, a pan and a few other run-of-the-mill kitchen bits.
A few weeks into our Berlin move, Hon and I suffered intense pancake cravings. We set out to procure the necessary bits to whip up some Uncle Buck specials. It was an obstinate crash course in cross-cultural ingredient decoding. Turns out flour is ‘weizenmiel’, and baking powder means ‘backpulver’.
Loot finally acquired, we went about mastering and tweaking our measurements, sometimes unashamedly twice a day.
For your sweet-toothed pleasure, we now proudly unveil: the ultimate pancake stack. They may not be as rotund as Buck Russell’s floury behemoths, but they’re light, fluffy and guaranteed to get you shaking and slidin’ it Candy-style to early 50s rock n roll all over your kitchen floor.
An sh.k stack. The best way to end, and indeed start, the day.
- PANCAKE MIX:
- 1 Cup flour
- 1 Cup buttermilk (see notes)
- 1 Half teaspoon baking powder
- 1 Tbls white sugar
- 1 Tbls vegetable oil
- 1 Egg
- Butter (for frying)
- Maple Syrup/Berries/Icing Sugar
- Put anything you want on the stack—bacon, whipped cream, melted chocolate, cinnamon, whole sausages. What would Buck Russell do?
- Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.
- Mix all the ingredients for the pancake mixture in a large bowl and whisk until smooth, by hand or with an electric mixer.
- Heat a frying pan on medium high. Once hot, add a small amount of butter and wait for it to sizzle. Pour mixture in(smaller the diameter, the bigger the stack). Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, and then flip them.
- Pile them on a plate in the oven to keep them warm.
- Prepare toppings.
- Stack ‘em high.
- Cook again for dessert.
- Makes 6 pancakes (double/triple the mix for a more epic stack!)
For a superior stack, buttermilk ensures maximum elevation and fluffiness. No buttermilk? No problem. Regular milk will do just fine.