Monday, January 12, 2009
Apple-Pecan Pancakes: An Homage to the Weekend Warrior
This weekend marked the third winter storm in Boston this season; second one of the year (the first of '09 being that cascade of ice that made sidewalk travel near impossible without a flame-thrower). I'm really not big on weekends, largely because they're not a part of my schedule - those of us in the food biz readily acknowledge that Friday through Sunday are when our monies come in. That being said, I miss out on a lot of those staples that the weekend warriors live for: the Sunday New York Times, immobile lines at any retailer or grocer, and that perennial favorite, brunch. Given that I pay my bills by working at one of Boston's slammin'-est breakfast joints, that last thing I want to do on a Sunday morning off is see how the gears turn at another brunch spot. So when it's in the cards, breakfast at home is kind of a big deal for me.
This was inspired by one of my New England-weathered friends. I whipped up these guys on Sunday as the snow kept falling and time kept creeping towards my clock-in. Those minute hands did seem to slow down as the aroma of cooked apples and warm cinnamon settled over the kitchen. The beauty about this breakfast treat is that the apples caramelize slightly when it's their turn against the pan. So deelish...almost enough for me to trade in the tips for a real-world, lazy Sunday. Ahem. Almost.
11/2 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 t cinammon
1/4 t nutmeg
1 T dry sweetener
2 T light vegetable oil (sunflower, canola)
1 1/2 c almond, rice, or soy milk
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into thin crescents
Whisk together dry ingredients. Add oil and milk, stir carefully until just mixed. Allow mix to sit 10-15 minutes (After years of making hockey puck hotcakes, I've concluded that these two elements - not over-mixing and settling time - are the key to light, fluffy pancakes).
Spray a pan with non-stick spray and heat over a gentle medium. When a spritz of water dances off the pan, it's hot enough. Add half a cup of batter and plop some apples slices and pecans on top. Watch for bubbles to form; when they've all popped, it's time to turn. Flip carefully and cook for about 4-minutes on the other side, or until the apples brown and you catch the fragrance of toasted nuts and baked apples. Serve with butter and maple syrup. Makes 5-6 plate-sized pancakes.