Four days past Shrove Tuesday and official pancake day when just about every online foodie mag and blogger showcased a pancake recipe. So, here’s another pancake recipe! Red Bistro’s fave every Saturday brunch.
My excuse is that we were so busy eating up the Maltese celebratory sweet – that wanton carnival cake – that the Anglophile ‘extravagance’ using up eggs and butter went unnoticed.
My other mitigating circumstance blamed for our missing the ritual pancake day is that our family eats pancakes every weekend for brunch. There was no way I had the time on Tuesday to make a 10-deep stack of pancakes – one by one – in the mad-dash hour between 0615 and the school run. We like to enjoy them leisurely.
With the weekend coming up, I decided to make a more artful and creative pancake based on our favourite type, the American-style puffy pancakes. The holes soak up more of the naughty-but-nice toppings than the thin, crispier pancakes or so I am told by my son. American pancakes were a treat of my childhood. My father would bring back the packet mix (Betty Crocker brand, I think) in his suitcase from State-side trips. My parents had an enormous hob with built-in griddle which meant they could serve three kids quickly. Dad was far better at these pancakes than the thin large variety (one of which he flipped so high it got stuck on the light bulb once!). I always thought that this pancake came in packet mixes only and have for decades have missed out on this treat!
Carob honey, from last autumn’s harvest, is on our table right now. Dark and distinctive in flavour, rich and rewarding in looks, it makes the ideal accompaniment to a compote of pineapple spiked with ginger; a duo of flavours to boost the spirit on yet another day of unpredictable showery weather and chill wind. I grated in fresh root ginger and added a few chunks of crystallised stem ginger I had left over from Christmas baking. This demerara-coated power pack of ginger is a very wintry ingredient that I probably won’t want to use in a month’s time. There’s not a great deal of fresh local fruit around on the markets right now, in mid February, apart from strawberries and citrus, which I’ve used a lot recently. Pineapples are in the supermarket looking spring-like sunny yellow and green, so I eagerly buy them at their seasonal cheaper price.
In summer, if I do a cooked breakfast, we use other fruit from small apricots to figs but raw, and add a dollop of Greek yoghurt only. You can cook up any fruit you like to top the pancakes – whatever looks past its best in your fruit bowl. In summer, we forgo any extra sugar with the fruit, but today, after a week of dark early starts, the carob honey is comforting. The whole pancakes and fruit compote combo seems like a palliative to our chilled fingers and toes. J drizzles on more carob honey as I snap shots of the last crumbs of pancake. The last mouthful was dry, he said. These pancakes just soak it up. But to a youngster, seeing is believing and so on goes more!
All images © Liz Ayling 2013
American-style Pancakes with Carob Honey, Pineapple & Ginger Compote
Makes 14 small pancakes – American pancakes/griddle cake size.
250g all-purpose or plain flour
3 tsps baking powder
320ml full-fat milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp butter, melted gently
3 thick slices of pineapple, peeled, cored and chopped
5 chunks of stem ginger (dried crystallised or jar variety in syrup)
4cm root ginger, peeled and grated
3 tbsps orange juice
1 tbsp castor sugar (or less if using crystallised stem ginger)
carob honey or other honey, to serve drizzled over
Place all the pancake ingredients in a blender and whiz up til dry ingredients are blended in perfectly and smoothly. The mix should be far thicker than regular pancake batter. Adjust with cornflour or more milk if too runny or far too thick to pour, even slowly. Leave the pancake mix to rest for around 20 minutes in the fridge.
Meanwhile, make the compote by placing all ingredients in a pan over a medium heat. Stew the fruit down till the liquid in the pan is thickening a little. Turn off for now.
To make the pancakes, heat a thick-based shallow cast iron skillet or frying pan gently. Then add a very small slice of butter to melt. You just need to coat the pan but not see butter swimming in it; dab out any excess with kitchen paper.
Ladle a small amount of batter into the pan. Spread it out quickly by tilting the pan. When you see bubbles forming on the batter top, and that the top isn’t totally runny, it’s time to flip the pancake over to cook this side. Continue one pancake at time keeping the batch warm in a low oven. Don’t cover over as they will steam and go floppy.
Serve with the compote spooned alongside or on top and with honey drizzled over the stack.
The batter keeps 2-3 days in the fridge. Stir well before using.