I'm seriously thinking of opening a pancake bar. I mean, you can throw just about anything in there and they look great piled up high with something runny dripping down the sides.
Tomorrow is Shrove Tuesday, but don't ask me for a detailed chronicle of what that means. I know it's important to those it's important to. I also know that it signals the start of Lent, a period when people sacrifice indulgences for 40 days. And it's the day when lots of those indulgences are celebrated. Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday.
Well, in an attempt not to get too mardi, I've been searching for some creative pancake ideas to goodness-up the sweet versions. The Big Small has requested sweetcorn pancakes for dinner tomorrow, which he'll dip in some manner of sticky sauce. You can find a basic recipe here or a more interesting courgette, corn and cheese one over at Girl Versus Dough (I would replace flour with wholewheat spelt in either).
And as for the sweeties, I've had a go at a few new ideas over the last couple of days. My big pan has hardly been off the heat. First, I tried this recipe for Butternut Squash Maple Oat Pancakes from Skinny Fitalicious (that's got to be Amercian, right?!) I used the flax egg / vanilla options but must admit to playing about with the volumes of squash and oat flour that I added. Basically, there was more squash mush in half a roasted squash than required - but just a little - so I plopped it in. And I'd ground a bit more oat flour than I needed - but just a little - so I poured it in and stirred quickly, before I really saw it. Then I added some water as it was sooo thick. Like, you could totally drop them in the pan and then pull them up into a cross-section of the Sydney Opera House. (Why didn't I do that?)
They took aaaages to cook, and the tip to make them small so they flip more easily was a good one. They were very soft in the pan but I left them to cool on a rack and they firmed up. They're hearty and great for a not-so-sweet breakfast, with bonus veggie content! They are yet to be tested on The Smalls but I'll let you know what 'hilarious' comments they receive (The Smalls are anti-squash). [Update: "I actually like them. I can't even taste the butternut squash." - The Bigger Small, aged 3-and-a-half]
I've got plans for the other half of that roasted squash and those plans are these Pumpkin Quinoa Pancakes from Simply Quinoa. This girl uses quinoa in everything. Everything. Lots of recipes call for quinoa flour, which I've never used, but these have the cooked stuff in them and I have a tub waiting in the fridge. Fingers crossed I get a chance tonight. Haven't even washed the pan.
The other recipe I have my eye on is this one for Carrot Coconut Pancakes over at Self Proclaimed Foodie. There are loads of version around (search for Carrot Cake pancakes!) but this one ticks my boxes: oats, Greek yoghurt, applesauce, coconut milk and flour...I'm actually drooling atlittle just thinking about them! Fingers crossed I get a chance tonight...oh, wait a minute... [Update: I have these on the go NOW! They are taking an age to cook - about 5 minutes on the first side - but they are delicate and delicious. The Smalls are eating 'em much faster than I can make 'em.]
And then I made these. Chocolate brown, puffy clouds of yummm.
Chocolate Buckwheat Pancakes (GF)
with thanks to Gina from So...Let's Hang Out
With a base of buckwheat and cocoa flours, these are just so light and fuffy. The buckwheat flavour is strong at first but a lot less the next day and is not so overwhelming for those not accustomed to it.
I followed Gina's recipe but reduced the maple syrup to 3 tablespoons. I try to minimise the sweetener in most things but especially in pancakes as you reserve the right to drizzle some syrup over when serving.
Man, I could have just drunk the mix of wet ingredients. Phwoaar. Make sure you heed her instruction to combine the wet and dry mixes by gently. Buckwheat flour is very fine and will get you in the eye otherwise. The batter looks like a spoonable chocolate sponge cake mix. Mine was a little thick so I added a splash of water.
I used rapeseed oil instead of coconut in the pan. The bubbles appeared after a couple of minutes and, if you get the right moment, you'll see the wee guy puff up as he hits the pan on the second side, accompanied by a satisfying little hissss. A minute or two on the other side and the pancakes were ready.
These chocolate and buckwheat pancakes are thick and fluffy and look really naughty. The buckwheat flour gives them a distinctive flavour that I love. These will be our breakfast on Tuesday morning, perhaps served with some sliced banana and a few toasted hazelnuts. Happy Pancake Day! But try not to get too mardi...