Pikelets are similar to pancakes; though the term pikelets might be unfamiliar to American ears, the concept will be familiar to most tastebuds. Imagine that the breakfast pancake had a petite, fluffier, sweet little sister. That kid would be the pikelet. (No, I am not advocating the consumption of one’s younger sibling). I’ve tried and failed many times to make truly fluffy pancakes, but these yoghurt pikelets just might change my brekky game. Usually made with the same basic ingredients, but with the addition of sugar and butter, pikelets are tender with a high, fluffy rise. Having a big jar of homemade yoghurt sitting in the fridge, I looked for a yoghurt-based recipe.
These pikelets are easy – easier than my usual pancake recipe, which involves whisking to remove lumps. In fact, the key to these pikelets is minimal mixing.
These babies made their way to my brekky table by way of SBS Food thanks to Adam Liaw. Adam is a chef who was a lawyer when he entered and won a MasterChef competition, sporting a topknot before man buns became part of the staff uniform at hipster cafés the world over.
What type of yoghurt?
The original recipe calls for natural yoghurt. My understanding is that this is yoghurt made with just milk and the relevant bacterial culture. Nothing special, just the most basic form of yoghurt. It’s not strained, and so is not as thick as Greek / Greek-style yoghurt. However, I imagine that if I used Greek yoghurt here, the batter’s thickness could be easily adjusted with milk.
I made my yoghurt using only warm milk plus shop-bought live-culture yoghurt as a starter. This stuff is thinner than Greek yoghurt, and has a very mild tang with little natural lumps. I included the whey (the watery part that sometimes separates from the creamy curds in yoghurt), and the yoghurt worked perfectly in this recipe.
Adam centred his recipe around a kiwifruit jam, which sounded delicious, but I’m lazy and used (frozen then thawed-in-the-fridge) berries instead.
Schtuff I’m learning about pancakes and pikelets
The basic recipe for pancakes involves flour, milk, egg and, often, a raising agent. Instead of the usual baking powder, these pikelets use the chemical reaction caused when the acid in the yoghurt meets soda bicarb (baking soda) to create air bubbles that result in fluffy yoghurt pikelets.
Allowing a pancake or pikelet batter to sit for 30min before cooking softens the cellulose in the flour’s starch grains, resulting in tender goodies.
Recipe for fluffy yoghurt pikelets
The trick with these yoghurt pikelets is to not overmix the batter. Once the flour is added, the ingredients should be mixed only until just combined, and no more.
Adapted from Adam Liaw’s Yoghurt pikelets and kiwifruit jam recipe on SBS Food.
Yield: 3 servings of about 3-4 pikelets each.
NB: Use weight measures if at all possible – this is how I did my pikelets – the cup equivalents are rough approximations. On this site I aim to keep track of ingredient names and measurements in US | Australian units.
- 1 egg (US large or extra large)
- 28g extra fine granulated sugar | 2 US tablespoons | 1+1/2 Australian standard tablespoons caster sugar
- 360g natural yoghurt | approx 1+1/2 US cups | approx 1+1/2 Australian cups
- 150g all-purpose flour | just under 1 US cup | just under 1 Australian cup plain flour
- 6g baking soda | 1 US teaspoon | 1 Australian teaspoon soda bicarb
- 20g unsalted butter | 1+1/2 US tablespoon | 1 heaping Australian standard tablespoon. Keep the remaining stick of butter for greasing
- Berries (or whatever toppings you feel like), to serve
- Powdered sugar | pure icing sugar, optional, to serve
Step 1. In a large bowl, mix egg, sugar and yoghurt together until smooth, about 1 minute.
Step 2. Sift flour and baking soda together into the mixing bowl (a fine-meshed colander will work). Fold flour mixture into the liquids with a wooden spoon until just combined. Do not overmix, it’s fine if the batter is kinda lumpy. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let sit in the fridge for 30min; this softens the batter while slowing the chemical reaction between the yoghurt and the baking soda.
Step 3. Melt the butter, remove the batter bowl from the fridge, and briefly fold melted butter into the batter so that swirls are visible. The batter will be chunky but light.
Step 4. Heat up a large skillet on medium-low heat. Quickly and very lightly rub the stick of butter all over to grease the skillet. Place a batch of 3 or 4 separate wooden spoonfuls of batter onto the hot skillet, leaving at least 1 inch between each spoonful (about 2 US tablespoons). The batter will spread while cooking. Cook until golden on the first side (about 3 min), then flip and cook until golden on the other side (about 2min). Repeat, greasing the skillet before each batch.
Serve warm in a messy stack with berries and an optional dusting of powdered sugar (or your topping of choice – the hubba had his with sausages).
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