Growing up in Australia, I loved eating pikelets for afternoon tea. My earliest memory of pikelets was when I was in primary school, perhaps about 8 years old, when our teacher made pikelets one afternoon and cooked them on an electric frying pan, with eager little bodies “helping” her with various tasks like measuring, stirring, flipping. Being young children, we were often always quite hungry and cooking classes like these were always met with much enthusiasm. As soon as the pikelets were cooked, we would spread them with butter and jam and eat them more quickly than they could be made.
Pikelets are essentially little pancakes. In some parts of the world, they are called “drop scones”.
For a long time, I made them without using any particular recipe, relying mostly on memory; they were one of the few things I made so frequently on my own when I was growing up that I knew the recipe by heart.
But then came university which was juggled with part-time work, and next the corporate world with its inherent long hours – afternoon teas became a distant memory. Alas, I can no longer remember the recipe which I had so fondly used in my childhood.
So when I recently wanted to recreate this tea-time treat from my childhood, I turned to the only person who I thought could be an authority on this point – Stephanie Alexander. The Cook’s Companion is a wealth of information on not just traditional and modern Australian recipes, but it is a comprehensive compilation of information on ingredients and basic recipes which any home-cook would find an invaluable resource. Much like Nigella Lawson’s How to Eat, the Cook’s Companion is my kitchen bible.
Stephanie Alexander’s recipe is quite straightforward and she also offers some variations to the recipe, such as adding sour cherries or raisins to the mixture before frying. These pikelets are wonderful served warm but they also taste great cold. Serve them at breakfast or afternoon tea for instant comfort.
You can use 1 teaspoon of baking powder in place of the 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar in this recipe.
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