My twenty inch cast iron grill pan sees service at least once a week (when we’re home, that is) on Saturday mornings as a pancake making workstation.
For at least a decade our family tradition is a fresh batch of these simple breakfast treats.
1 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 1/2 cups of white milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
The flour, sugar, and baking powder get mixed together in a medium bowl.
The egg is whisked in a 2 cup measuring cup, then I add the oil, vanilla and milk and mix again.
The wet and dry are combined, mixed lightly, populated with the chocolate chips, and let to sit for about 10 minutes to hydrate.
Batter is poured in 1/4 cup portions onto a hot cast iron grill pan and cooked to desired doneness.
We serve it all up with maple syrup and a hot cup of coffee.
My beloved twenty inch cast iron grill pan developed an ugly blemish over the autumn months.
A scar. A scab. A patch of failing seasoning crusted, bubbled and flaked off leaving a rough spot the size of a medium pancake on the middle edge of an otherwise awesomely seasoned piece.
This isn’t beauty-shaming. A good quarter of the grill was rendered useless for cooking by a spot of flaking seasoning.
I worked around it. At first.
Then I ignored it.
But it only got worse.
Three years ago I had cleaned this particular pan down to bare iron. I ran it through the deep cleaning cycle of the oven and burned off all of the seasoning. It was a mess. It took some serious love in the backyard and four rounds of reseasoning love to get it back into service as our Saturday pancake grill.
But a January mid-winter in mid-Canada is neither the time nor the place to strip a pan to bare iron.
Solution? Elbow grease, some steel wool, and an hour of grinding the blistering patch of dead seasoning into a smooth, bare spot. Then three rounds of hot-oven-baking-on some fresh carbon layers.
The results were successfully tested this morning… and those pancakes were delicious.