When he was in high school, my brother used to frequent a place called The Original Pancake House. He was a big fan of their Dutch Baby, a puffy, eggy pancake served with melted butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice. Every now and then, he and my Mom would bust out the cast iron skillet and make one at home, which, luckily, they were willing to share. Anyway, as far as I knew, The Original Pancake House was just that – a one-off, family-owned breakfast joint. Imagine my surprise when I saw that same familiar sign tucked behind the Albertson’s in another city at least 2,000 miles away. Well, I had to give it a shot. Not having been there in years, my memory of the menu was hazy at best. But when I sat down, I was immediately drawn to the bacon waffles. Who doesn’t love a nice plate of waffles drenched in maple syrup with a side of meaty, smoky bacon? And when the bacon and the syrup chance to meet? Bliss. So the bacon waffle it was, and it was every bit as awesome as I expected it to be.
Fast forward to a few years later. I’m living in Paris, and I have no waffle iron. I do, however, make my fair share of pancakes on Sunday mornings. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this specifically before, but they sell these packages of lardons (i.e. pre-chopped bacon) in just about every portion size imaginable. They’re totally convenient for adding small amounts of bacon to recipes, and you don’t even have to dirty a cutting board! So, finding myself with a package of lardons in the fridge, I decided to whip up a batch of bacon pancakes.
It couldn’t have been easier. I cooked the lardons and set them aside, then made a simple buttermilk pancake batter with a bit of medium-grind cornmeal. As the pancakes cooked, I sprinkled them with the crisp bacon, flipped them, and breakfast was served. Absolute heaven with butter and a liberal drizzle of maple syrup.
100 g (about 3½ oz.) lardons fumés, or chopped thick-cut bacon
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (Type 65 if you’re in France)
¼ cup medium-grind cornmeal
2 tsp. cassonade or turbinado sugar
¼ tsp. coarse sea salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
½ tsp. vanilla extract or bourbon
- Cook the bacon until most of the fat has rendered, and desired crispness is reached. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Save the fat for cooking the pancakes.
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Blend the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla or bourbon in a measuring jug. Gently stir the two mixtures together until just combined. A few lumps are nothing to worry about.
- Heat a little of the bacon fat in a skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot and the fat is shimmering, spoon out the batter into the desired pancake size. (This is a highly personal matter, but I think 3 Tbsp. is about right.) As they cook, sprinkle a few of the bacon chunks over the raw pancakes in the pan. When you see bubbles rising to the surface of the pancakes, flip them and cook a few minutes longer. Keep them warm in a low oven while you cook the rest.
- Serve warm with butter and maple syrup.
Makes enough for two hungry adults.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.