Monday, September 13, 2010

Pear Pancakes

Sweet, golden pears. A perfect fruit to begin fall. I know, it's really a summer fruit, but for some reason, pears remind me of fall, just like apples. I love the texture of a firm, but ripe, pear - softer than an apple, but with a warm and sensuous flavor that wraps around your insides as it slides down. I love it! Why don't we cook with them more often? They seem to be relegated to crisps and crumbles and the occasional salad.

But, no! Pears are great for breakfast too! In a pancake. Not on the pancake (although that is good too) or around the pancake (also good), but cooked inside like it was always meant to be there. And it is. These pancakes are beautiful displays of pancake perfection.

Cooking pear pancakes
I had been planning on creating this recipe sometime this week, and when I woke up this morning, I was just thinking eggs and brown rice grits (that's for another post. They are too good not to talk about!). But when I saw the pear sitting there looking beautiful and smelling so ripe, I had to get into this fast.

And so I did.

The pancakes came out soft and tender, slightly different than my usual pancake, but so good. I added extra sweetener because I just thought they needed them and - wow! - I really love this recipe. I love the texture of the pear (and a pluot because I only bought one pear for this and realized later I would need two), slightly caramelized and snugly tucked into the top of the pancake, all soft and tender. These pancakes are sweet and delicious and even though I did have them with syrup this morning, they didn't really require it. They would be great with a little bit of honey-butter, some fresh fruit compote (I am thinking a ginger-raspberry!), a dollop of whipped cream or some frozen yogurt. They don't really require much. I would eat them plain too. They are really yum and I can't wait for you to try them or one of the variations!

Happy eating, everybody!

Pear (or Pluot!) Pancakes

Pluot Pancakes on the griddle

These soft and delicious pancakes with a thinly sliced piece of warm pan-fried fresh fruit in the top, offers a warm and decadent start to any morning. With a little bit more sweetener in the batter than regular pancakes, these griddlers are just as delicious without any syrup on top. Use fresh fruit that’s in season for an extra special treat and top with honey-butter, fresh fruit compote, frozen yogurt or a dollop of whipped cream.

Makes 12 medium pancakes

1 cup millet flour

½ cup almond flour

½ cup quinoa flour

1 tsp xanthan, guar or karaya gum

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp ground cardamom

½ cup water

¼ cup milk of choice

½ tsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

½ tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs, room temperature

½ cup agave nectar, honey or maple syrup

2 ripe pears or pluots

Oil for spraying pan

Bring flours to room temperature. If stored in fridge, place in glass or ceramic bowl and microwave for 30 seconds to warm. In a large bowl, mix flours, gum, salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and cardamom. Whisk to combine thoroughly. Set aside.

In a smaller bowl, whisk water, milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, eggs, and sweetener of choice. Whisk until mixture is slightly frothy, about 30 seconds. Mix wet ingredients into dry and whisk just until combined. Set aside and let rest for 5 -10 minutes. This will allow the flours to absorb the wet ingredients and the lemon juice to react with the baking soda and baking powder. It’s an important step; don’t skip it.

On a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, slice ¼-inch slices down the side of the pear, removing the smallest pieces (feel free to munch on these; that’s what I do!) and continuing to slice until you reach the core. Flip pear around and slice the other side in the same manner. You should have about 3-4 full size pieces from each side. Repeat with remaining pear. (I don’t throw away the pieces that have the core inside them. Some people cook with these, removing the seeds first. I don’t like the texture of the core, so I just cut it out and eat the pieces on the side of it. You could also use these pieces in the pancakes, if you want.)

Heat a cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium to low heat. When pan sizzles immediately after dropping a bit of water on it, spray a small amount of oil into the pan or place 1 tsp of butter, letting it melt. Place 2 or 3 slices of pear onto the pan and let cook for 1 minute, or until slightly softened and beginning to become translucent and caramelized. Flip and add more oil, if necessary. Place ¼ - 1/3 cup of the batter, depending on size of the pear slices, on top of the pear slices (batter will be thick), letting it fall around the edges until the pear slice is completely covered. Let cook until edges look golden-brown and slightly dry, about 2 – 4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side, about two more minutes, or until center is fully cooked.

Remove from pan and repeat with remaining pear slices and batter. Place hot pancakes onto a plate and cover with a tea towel until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Pear and Pluot Pancakes

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