Thursday, May 13, 2010

Perfect Pancakes

This is the thing to serve at 2:00 a.m., when friends have stumbled into your small apartment after an evening of imbibing. The pancakes are quick and easy to whisk together, even in a half-tipsy condition. And there’s a charming innocence in asking “Can I make you some pancakes?” that has the power to remove hours of alcohol-tinged debauchery. Eat them leaning against your kitchen sink and laughing, preferably with strong coffee.

And if you wake--a bit later than 2:00 a.m., I hope!--to a scene like this instead of a room full of bar-hopping friends:

Top the pancakes with blackberry sauce and Whipped Coconut Cream, or try one of the variations below, and serve leftovers wrapped around peanut butter and jelly.

To effortlessly release the pancakes before flipping, you’ll need a very thin metal spatula. It should be wide enough to slide under the pancake, and flexible for easy handling.

Buttermilk Pancakes
10-12 pancakes

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup non-dairy milk (I like almond)
½ cup coconut milk, soy creamer, or additional non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon agave nectar, maple syrup, or evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray, for pan

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Brush lightly with a teaspoon of vegetable oil or spray with a bit of vegetable oil spray.

In a bowl or 2-cup measure, combine remaining liquid ingredients, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry, and mix with a spatula, using a light hand to prevent tough pancakes. The batter will bubble up some; give it a good stir after this happens to dissipate any lumps.

Pour batter into prepared pan using a ½ cup measure, spreading it slightly. When bubbles begin to form and burst on top, slide a thin spatula underneath and release the pancake all around. It’s likely the cakes will stick a bit, but a quick loosening makes them manageable. Flip the cake, and continue to cook until slightly golden on the bottom, about one minute more.

Stack high on a plate, and serve warm, topped with syrup and smears of vegan margarine.

This batter makes excellent waffles with a crisp exterior and fluffy interior. Simply prepare as directed and cook in a waffle maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Chocolate Chip Pancakes or Waffles
Add 2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips with the dry mixture, tossing well to coat. Continue with recipe as directed.
These are particularly good—and very pretty—topped with raspberry jam and a dusting of cocoa powder.

Blueberry Pancakes
Gently rinse 1 cup fresh blueberries. Once the pancake has been poured into the pan, drop 8-10 blueberries directly into the batter. Wait for the bubbles to burst, then flip and continue to cook as directed.

Spiced Pear or Apple Pancakes
Peel and core 2 firm pears or apples. Slice the fruit crosswise into 1/4” thick rings, and toss them together in a bowl with: 1 tablespoon maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg.

For the Blackberry Sauce pictured above: in a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, a pinch of sea salt, the juice of half a lemon, and a bit of sugar or other sweetener. This will vary widely depending on the sweetness of your berries, so start with 2 teaspoons, and add by the teaspoon, tasting as you go, until you reach the desired sweetness.

Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook until thickened slightly. Don't allow the sauce to bubble for too long, as blackberry seeds can impart a bitter taste.


Mihl said...

I haven't had pancakes in ages and these look indeed perfect! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

VivaciousVegan said...

Joy, these pancakes look delicious!
I could just imagine the leaning on the counter after enjoying an adult evening. It has been years since I have had a drink....I would smell it and