In a mixing bowl, beat the egg slightly and mix in the milk.
In another bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.
Using a whisk, blend the dry ingredients into the wet.
Stir in the cooled, melted shortening or the melted butter until well blended. (The mixture can stand for several hours. Keep refrigerated until 30 minutes before baking.)
Bake on a lightly greased hot griddle, or in a large skillet. (The griddle needs to be greased only for the first batch.) Take care not to overheat the pan. A drop of water should sizzle on the surface, but not dance across it. Try out one pancake before proceeding with all the batter.
Pour the batter into a measuring cup. (You should have 2 3/4 cups.) Use a scant ¼-cup of batter for each pancake. If the griddle is too hot, the pancakes will develop ray-like marks on their first side. Turn down the heat. The perfect cakes are high and fluffy and dry.
As soon as the tops of the pancakes are covered with bubbles that are bursting, flip them over. Bake until the second side is lightly browned.
Serve immediately. (If necessary, keep the baked cakes hot in a 200-degree oven while baking the remainder.)