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