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.
- 100 g (3.5 oz) plain flour
- ¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- tiny pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 150 ml (5 fl oz) full cream milk
- some butter
- strawberry jam to serve
- Measure the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar, salt and sugar into a medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Whisk the egg and milk together in a measuring jug.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Heat a non-stick frying pan or crêpe pan over medium heat.
- Drop a small amount of butter into the pan and wipe it around the pan with some kitchen paper.
- Using a tablespoon measure (15-20 ml) or large spoon, pour small drops of batter into the pan.
- As soon as small bubbles start to appear on the surface, flip the pikelets over and cook for a further minute or so. The pikelets should be evenly coloured on both sides.
- Remove the pikelets to a silicon tortilla or pancake warmer until all of the batter has been used.
- Serve each pikelet with a dollop of jam. They are also lovely served cold.
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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