Are you one of those people who look at pancakes that are about three quarters of an inch tall and immediately your eyes narrow as if to sneer disapprovingly - "Fluffy? Those frisbee things?"? Chances are you think that if you have to stoop to view your stack of pancakes at eye level to capture how "tall" they are, they are nowhere near your desired level of thickness. No. Thick and fluffy pancakes are pancakes that no matter what angle from which they are looked at, are undeniably - for the lack of synonyms - tall. That would mean that the pancakes would have to be at least an inch high, and preferably a lot more.
99% of the recipes out there with superlatives like "fluffiest", "thickest", "bestest buttermilk" (because in the pancake world buttermilk is a sure ticket to fluffy pancakes) often produce pancakes that often fall short - literally - of your expectations. After trying out quite a few myself, I came to the conclusion that even a pancake batter of the greatest potential to rise is unable to achieve great pancake heights by itself. Essentially I mean to say that the key to two-inch-tall pancakes (which incidentally is roughly the height of these pancakes) lies in not just the rising power of the pancake batter but also in the method used to make the pancakes.
Are you curious as to what the method is? Then read on, fellow pancake maniacs!
The secret to these extra thick crazy tall pancakes is!
Uh huh. Those same things that help english muffins rise up nice and tall work their magic on pancakes too! I thought that this method was ingenious when I first saw the tutorial and I don't think I will stop marveling at how simple and obvious it is. If you haven't already clicked on the link, the gist of it is that you place the (makeshift - will get to that later) ring molds in a heavy bottomed pot, pour the batter in the molds, place the lid back onto the pot, let the batter cook on low heat for 15 minutes, remove lid and flip pancakes over, put lid back on and let them cook for another 15 minutes and they're done!
I know 30 minutes sounds like way too long a time for just pancakes to cook but you will be making three pancakes at a time so that works out to about 10 minutes per pancake. But that's not the point. The point is that you get to walk away from the heat and watch an episode of anime or something while the pancakes are cooking instead of having to slave over a hot stove the entire time. And that's a huge plus in my book. (There's a reason why I very much prefer baking to cooking.)
Coming back to the ring molds, some of you might already have a couple on hand perhaps for making tart shells, english muffins, scones etc. If you're already planning to dig around in your pantry for them I suggest that you first stop to think if they measure about 3 inches high - because obviously for these insanely tall pancakes we need equally insanely tall ring molds. And if you realise that sadly that yours are a regular 1.5 inches, don't despair because the tutorial that I linked before shows you how to make temporary molds with some cardboard and parchment paper. And staplers. Gotta hold the cardboard and parchment paper together!
I mentioned before that the pancake batter makes up half of the fluffy pancake equation. The person behind the tutorial used one of those Japanese pancake mixes that produce extremely thick and fluffy pancakes already without having to use special tricks like this ring mold method. And I should know because I've gone through approximately 10 packets of those mixes (one packet makes 3 to 6 pancakes depending on the brand) ever since I discovered their divine existence last year and I love every single pancake that originated from those packets to the point that I thought to myself that I would never make pancake batter from scratch again. I think this is extremely likely since I will soon have convenient access to Japanese pancake mixes for the next four years of my life - guess who's moving to Japan for university studies in three months!(!!)
Anyway, bottom line - use a thick pancake batter or get a Japanese pancake mix if you can, follow the instructions in the video I linked somewhere near the start of this post and you will soon encounter the pancake of your dreams. Just be careful when you try to flip the pancakes over because their bottoms may stick to the pan (it's stated in the instructions to not oil the pan, but I guess this depends on whether you're using a mix or not) and if you try to forcibly remove them they would most possibly tear. Like mine. Well even if they split into half they would still be as thick as a regular fluffyish pancake anyway hah.