Most of the time these days, I am using a double boiler to cook my pancakes as 3 larger cakes instead of 12 or so normal sized pancakes. As of this writing, I have not yet mastered "The Pancake" over open flame: cooked the normal way, they stuck like you wouldn't believe, so I started using exorbitant amounts of oil to combat this, and even then, they were difficult to flip. To avoid hassle, I tried cooking them as 1 or 2 large cakes, but cooking directly on the flame scorched the bottoms before the batter had a chance to thoroughly cook.
This recipe includes a note about using the double boiler and pertains specifically to our nomadic kitchen setup, but I'm sure adaptations can be easily made to suit your own equipment. Whatever your cooking method, whether in a mansion with a 12-burner gas stove or out on the road over a tiny campstove, the recipe is the same. Enjoy!
Mix dry ingredients thoroughly:
-2 cups all-purpose flour
-(optional) 1/4 cup alternative flour such as whole wheat, flax meal etc (...adds flavor and fiber)
-2-4 tablespoons sugar (depends on how sweet you like your pancakes)
-1 teapoon baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon salt (I just eyeball it from the 1 tsp measuring spoon)
Make a well in the flour mixture by spooning it toward the edges of the mixing bowl (our 2 quart pot doubles as a mixing bowl). Pour the wet ingredients into the well:
-1/4 cup oil (or melted butter if you feel fancy)
-(optional) 1 egg (adds nutrients, and makes fluffier p'cakes)*
-1 1/2 -2 cups water, milk, or a combination of the two**
Mix the wet and dry ingredients together into a smooth batter using a fork, see notes below if you are a novice culinary artist or just want some extra reading.
*In a house, with a sink, running water, and more tools at my disposal, I whisk all the wet ingrdients together before adding them to the dry, but in working with my limitations, I have found that just plopping the egg in with the other wet ingredients directly into the flour mixture makes no difference to the finished pancake. Just poke the egg and give it a few good vigorous stirs before beginnning to thoroughly mix the wet and dry ingredients.
**Start with 1 cup of liquid, give it a few stirs (after breaking up the egg) and continue adding up to another cup of liquid as you mix the batter. If you are using milk, depending on the fat content, you'll be using closer to 2 cups. If you use just water, you'll only need around 1 1/2 cups. It is, of course, up to your personal preferences, but I like the batter to be not too runny-not too thick, like runny pudding.
To cook the pancakes in your house:
-may favorite pan for pancakes is a cast iron skillet
-put a small amount (about 1 teaspoon, not exact) of oil or butter into the pan over medium heat
-add about 1/4 cup of pancake batter
-wait 1-3 minutes
-flip the pancake with a spatula (thin is best) when it is turning golden-brown (if you look closely, you will see the batter at the edges of the pancake are becoming dry on the surface...then you know it is about time)
-wait 1-3 more minutes
-when the other side is also golden-brown, remove your pancake, wait for it to cool a bit (or don't) and eat it!
To cook the pancakes in the woods over a wood burning camp stove:
-pour about 1/3 of the pancake batter into the covered pot from the old Boy Scouts mess kit
-find some place else to store the rest of the batter if you used your 2-quart pot as a mixing bowl (like I do)
-put about 1/4-1/2 inch of water into a 2 quart pot (it's the regular medium-sized copper bottomed pot that everyone got as a wedding gift in the 70s) (if you used it as a mixing bowl, don't worry about cleaning it out first...unless you want to spend the water on it, of course)
-place the mess kit pot into the 2-quart pot and put the lids on both pots
-get the fire going to a high blaze, and set the 2-quart pot over the flame
-once the water starts to boil, reduce the flame to a medium-low and keep it there
-keep tending the fire so that the water continually simmers
-you may need to add more water if too much of it boils off, I do this if I notice the pancake pot starts rattling rather vigorously
-check on the pancake occasionally, don't worry about any water that is jumping into the pancake
-after 10-15 minutes, it should be ready to take out of the double boiler. When pressed gently in the center, it should feel relatively solid, and the surface should be mostly dry (although it will still look a little gooey and uncooked, rather odd, really).
-when ready, remove the pancake pot from the water pot and place the pancake pot directly over the medium-low flame and remove the lid
-you may need to dump out a little water that has entered the pancake pot, no big deal, the water will run right off while the pancake stays put
-let the pancake cook over direct flame for another 5-10 minutes to release moisture absorbed from the double boiler and to give the cake a nice golden-brown crust on the bottom and sides, if you start to smell burnt food, quick! take it off!
-let the cake cool a bit, then eat the cake!
-repeat the process for the remaining 2/3 of the batter.
This method is not perfect, and so I am still seeking to perfect it. Until then, we enjoy very much our delicious, ever-so slightly gooey cake in a pan.