Pancake


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This is the first time I’ve used blue corn in cooking. It’s been an important ingredient in Southwest cooking for centuries, but I only found out about it after Alexander introduced me to the beautiful blue corn tortillas so popular here. Pinon, or pine nuts, are another locally grown food and this recipe blends the two in an interesting pancake. The recipe suggested making an apricot-pinon compote and since this is a week of trying new things I decided to give it a go as well.

If making the the compote, do that first and keep it covered and warm while preparing the pancakes. You can also prepare it the previous night and reheat it in the morning.

For the compote you will need:

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/3 cup pine nuts

1 cup chopped fresh or dried apricots

1 to 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 drop almond extract

Prepare:

Warm the buter in a small skillet over medium heat and add the pine nuts. Saute until lightly toasted for about 2 minutes, taking care not to burn them. In a saucepan, combine the apricots, corn syrup, cinnamon and almond extract together with a cup of water. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, reduce to low and cook until the sauce is thick and spoonable. It should take about 10 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts and keep it warm until ready to be served.

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For the pancakes you should get:

1 and 1/4 cup pine nuts

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup blue cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

1 and 1/4 cups milk

2 drops almond extract

Preparing it:

Place 3/4 cup of the pine nuts in a food processor and pulse briefly to ground. Be careful not to pulse until it turns into a butter. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and pulse until it forms a coarse meal. Scrape down the sides and mix it up a little at times to make sure it all mixes well. Spoon this into a large bowl and stir in the melted butter until it disappears in the mixture. Add the wet ingredients and the remaining nuts and mix.

Warm a griddle or non-stick pan and cook the pancakes the usual way. When the pancakes are ready, serve them with the warm compote.

These pancakes turned out very well. The batter was more runny than what I’m used to, but the moment the batter hit the pan they set nicely. They were nice and fluffy with the whole pine nuts added a delightful texture. The compote was excellent. I ended up adding a quarter teaspoon of vanilla essence while I was cooking it as the compote had a slightly ‘dry’ flavor, the vanilla lifted all the flavors nicely and it made for a tasty accompaniment to the pancakes.

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This recipe is from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bil Jamison. It yields enough to serve 4 people.

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We start out the week with something simple. Buttermilk pancakes accompanied by a sauce of blue, black and red berries. I used to always mess up pancakes really badly. The reason for this lies in the word pancake. In South Africa a pancake is more like a crepe, in North America it’s what we in SA call a flapjack. For years I would grab pancake recipes online, try to make large thin pancakes, only to burn it and completely ruin breakfast. I discovered my mistake one morning last year and since things have been going a lot better.

This breakfast recipe includes two steps, first I’ll prepare the berry sauce and then the pancakes, serving them together while both are still warm.

For the sauce gather:

3 cups blueberries

2-4 tablespoons sugar

fresh lemon juice to taste

And for the pancakes collect:

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 large egg, separated

1 and 3/4- 2 cups buttermilk

To prepare the sauce, combine the berries, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5-10 minutes, the sugar should be melted and the fruit soft. Taste, add more sugar if needed, making sure it is also melted before removing from the heat. Stir in a couple of drops of lemon juice to taste and set aside. The sauce should be kept warm.

For the pancakes, stir the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl, scrape in the melted butter and stir until the butter disappears into the dry ingredients. Set aside. Beat the egg white until soft peaks appear and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk with 1 and 3/4 cups buttermilk until it becomes frothy. When ready, pour it in with the dry ingredients and butter mixture and combine well (but take care not to over mix). If the batter seems difficult to pour, add a little more buttermilk. Finally, fold the egg white into the batter.

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Heat a skillet, grease with some oil and cook the pancakes like you would any other pancake. When the pancakes are done, serve with the warm berry sauce.

I found the recipe extremely easy, even though it seems like there are more steps than usual. The batter was light and airy, resulting in nice fluffy pancakes. Adding the cornmeal gave it a nice crunch, without being overwhelmingly crunchy. The sauce was excellent. I ended up using only about 2 tablespoons of sugar and added a teeny bit of lemon juice to balance out the flavors. Using a variety of berries made for a slightly more colorful sauce and the black and red berries added a little more texture too. It’s the ideal recipe for a romantic surprise breakfast in bed.

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This recipe is from A Real American Breakfast by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bil Jamison. It yields enough to serve 4 people.

* Thanks like always to X for the pictures.

I was totally surprised to find an email from Suzana of Home Gourmets telling me my entry won the pancake challenge for this round of HHDD. Definitely not expecting that, so it was a big and very pleasant surprise.

As we are on the road at the moment and will be for quite some time I have to figure out how to host the next round. Suzana offered her kitchen to me (thank you!) so hopefully we can figure something out. Watch this space.

Thanks to Suzana for hosting a very fun and challenging round. It was a very fun challenge.

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This is probably one of the wrong-est things I have ever made. And it will also be the last thing I make for the HHDD challenge for a long time. Or anything else in a kitchen for that matter. I will probably only have access again to one again around December, but more about that in another entry.

Suzanna of Home Gourmets, winner of the Tiramisu challenge, picked pancakes as the task for this round. To me, pancakes seemed quite a challenge! Sure it seems simple, but I think that is where the big challenge lies, making something so simple interesting and fresh.

While worrying about everything that needs to prepared for the next big move, I was racking my brain about what to do for this challenge. I thought I could try to draw some inspiration from where I live again, but I’ve done that for the Choux round.

On Thursday we went to Vanilla Industry for coffee and I decided to try the vanilla crepe cake. As I was enjoying the layers of pancake and vanilla spread I thought, maybe I will not exactly make pancakes, but make a cake out of pancakes! A Nutella pancake-cake covered in sweet and rich almond flavored cream. So there is a good chance I completely missed the plot here, but I had fun. And its very very decadent.

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Here’s what I did.

For the pancakes you need:

2 cups (250 g) plain flour, sifted

3 tsp baking powder, sifted

1/3 cup (85 g) caster sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 cup (375 ml) milk

75 g butter, melted

pinch of salt

For the filling you will need:

a jar of Nutella

2 cups whipping cream

2 cups caster sugar

1 teaspoon almond essence

The pancake process:

Mix together the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another, combing them in the end and mixing well. I made the batter a little thinner to create a more crepe-like pancake. I also added some brown food coloring to the last third of the batter to make some darker pancakes. Cook the pancakes in a heated pan, slightly greased, and let them cool.

The filling process:

I whipped up the cream, essence and sugar until it was thick enough to serve as ‘icing’ for the cake. The I spread Nutella on the lighter pancakes and layer two light ones topped with a darker one. Spread a thin layer of the cream on the this one and cover with two Nutella spread ones again. Continue with this process and top it with a dark pancake. Cover the rest of the cake with a thick layer of cream and carefully move to the fridge to set. When the cake has set, slice and serve.

A warning, not that it’s not obvious I think, but this is extremely rich and heart-attack inducing. I think I actually gained weight while making it. Enjoy!

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On a completely separate note. Yesterday, after coffee, Alexander and I were walking around Siam Paragon when a girl approached us. It turns out she is a reader of both our blogs! Thanks for saying hi, it meant a lot to us even though we were both so surprised that we did not even ask your name or chatted a bit more. And thanks for reading!

And thank you to Alexander for the pictures.