Pile up these easy pancakes and smother them with maple syrup and bacon, or fruit, yoghurt or chocolate sauce

Pancakes are so easy, they’re the first thing many of us learn to cook. From Indian dosa to Ethiopian injera, Vietnamese bánh xèo to Russian blini, the world loves a pancake, but perhaps nowhere more than the US, where fluffy stacks drenched with maple syrup are the weekend breakfast of choice for millions – not least because they’re simplicity itself to make.

Prep 5 min
Cook 10 min
Makes About 10

45g butter, plus extra for frying
115g plain flour
115g fine cornmeal/polenta
¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml whole milk
300ml buttermilk
1 egg

1 Organise your toppings

Turn the oven on low and put a wire cooling rack inside, to warm up. This is to keep the first pancakes warm while you cook the rest, so if you plan to serve them up straight from the pan, skip this step. Prepare your toppings – see steps 7-9, if you fancy them. Melt the butter in the microwave or a small pan.

2 Mix the dry ingredients

Put the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and bicarb into a large bowl and whisk to combine. You can use all plain flour if you don’t have cornmeal, but the corn gives the pancakes a lovely, yellow colour and a sweet flavour, as well as making them slightly crisp. It’s often in the Caribbean section of supermarkets, or look for polenta instead, which is the same thing.

Mix the dry ingredients first … Photograph: Dan Matthews/The Guardian

3 Add the wet ingredients

Measure the milk and buttermilk into a jug, then crack the egg on top. Beat this all together until it’s well mixed, then stir in two tablespoons of the melted butter.

… combine the milk, buttermilk, egg and melted butter, then tip in the dry ingredients and stir just until the mixture comes together.

Make a dip in the top of the dry ingredients (the flour, etc), then pour the milk mix into it. Stir just until you can see no more dry patches, then stop; if you stir it too much, your pancakes will be tough.

4 Prepare the frying pan

Put a large, heavy frying pan on the hob over a medium heat, and brush all over with a thin layer of melted butter, so it’s completely covered. Once it feels hot when you hold your hand above the pan, you’re ready to cook. Put the bowl of pancake batter near the hob.

5 Start cooking

Use a large spoon to dollop circles of batter of whatever size you’d like (they’re normally about 5-8cm diameter) into the pan, leaving enough room between them so they don’t run into each other – you won’t be able to do them all at once.

Fry dollops of the batter in batches, flipping when bubbles form on the top, until golden brown on both sides.

Cook until the pancakes begin to look dry and bubbly on top, which, depending on the size of your pan, should take about three minutes.

6 Flip and finish cooking

As they become ready, flip all the pancakes over using a palette knife or tongs, and cook on the other side for a couple of minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately, or carefully arrange them on the rack in the oven to keep warm while you cook the rest of the batter.

Read more: www.theguardian.com