Grandson of Food has stepped up in the Family of Food kitchen brigade from Sous Chef des Smoothies to Sous Chef de Pâtisserie, so this morning we made some blueberry pancakes using the iSi ThermoWhip. He thinks the whipper is great for pancakes, because it makes them lighter, but it's tricky to get the consistency thin enough to spray without clogging the whipper, yet thick enough to hold all that extra air--or nitrous oxide as the case may be. We use a ratio by weight of one part egg to one part flour to one part milk to make a batter thinner than a typical pancake batter, but thicker than a crepe. For each egg, add 1/4 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. superfine sugar, a pinch of salt and a dash of vanilla. The amount of batter made with one large egg will yield about four thick 5-inch pancakes.
Don't have a scale? Get a scale! It's much easier than measuring by volume, and modern baking books often give ingredients by weight. If you bake by weight, your recipes will scale up or down more accurately, and you don't have to wash all those measuring utensils. For these pancakes, just put a bowl on the scale, tare the scale, break the eggs into the bowl and note the weight. Hit "tare" to zero the scale, and put in the same weight of flour, hit tare again, and pour in the same weight of milk.
As the Sous Chef de Pâtisserie demonstrates in the photo above, it is important to mix all ingredients thoroughly and get all the lumps out, so that they don't clog the nozzle of the whipper. Observe the manner in which he holds the bowl with his non-whipping hand to make the most of each stroke of his fork. If you've got lumps, you can strain the batter before pouring it into the whipper. We use a one pint ThermoWhip, but the iSi GourmetWhip should work just as well. Charge with two cream cartridges, shaking two or three times after each charge. Heat up a pan or a griddle to medium high heat and lubricate with a little clarified butter or vegetable oil.
Hold the whipper straight upside down, give it one good shake to concentrate the batter at the nozzle end, and release it slowly in a controlled way onto the griddle or pan. If it clogs, try closing and releasing the valve again until the clog clears, or invert it and shake it again.
For blueberry pancakes, toss a few blueberries on the wet batter after spraying it onto the griddle. Flip when browned on the bottom and cook until done. Enjoy with butter and Grade B maple syrup (it has a lot more flavor than Grade A), if desired.
UPDATE: Just to see what would happen, we left some batter in the ThermoWhip overnight and found that it thinned out a bit and was much less likely to clog, and also the pancakes developed larger bubbles to create a somewhat different texture. Both were good, but the original texture was more like a fine sponge while the pancakes from the batter that sat overnight felt airier. A week later the batter preserved in the canister under nitrous oxide was still good and maintained this same texture that it had after sitting overnight. (15 January 2010)