Usually I'm adept with all things invovling a skillet. I'd say there is no finer hand at frying and sauteing.
but pancakes give me the pip. I know the rules wait for a crisp edge and bubbles in the center. However most of the time I cannot for the life of me lift the damn things without them falling to pieces. So I get an assortment of burnt mush not pancakes. I'm having lots of trouble with the Moosewood cookbook's apple pancakes, since they do not bubble and fry in butter. What am I doing wrong?
I wonder if you're turning them a bit early, while the bottom surface is still too soft to hold together.
You really need to cook pancakes on a medium heat setting. Allow the pan to fully heat up, then add your butter, allow it to melt and then add the pancake batter. I find if you cook the pancakes on a higher heat, the middle never sets and you end up with burnt edges and mushy insides. I find when I have more patience to allow the pan to heat up, the middle sets enough that the flip is easy and the edges don't burn. Also, make sure that the pancake is smaller than the size of your pan so that you can fully get the spatula under the pancake with enough wiggle room to flip it.
Yes! It is so important to heat the pan fully BEFORE adding any fat, and then allow the fat to get hot before adding the batter. Also, medium, medium, medium heat....and patience!
(And shhhh, but I like crisp edges, too, even though pancakes aren't supposed to be crisp. The secret is lots of oil.)
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I agree that you are using too high a temperature. Flapjacks style pancakes should not be "crisp" on the edges. The surface should have bubbles throughout and appear to be getting dry, while the edges definitely look dry.
It is also important to let batter rest at room temp for at least 20 minutes before starting to cook.
This allows the flour to hydrate evenly, and the leavening to start working. The batter will bubble and should be briefly stirred again just before using.