Happy New Year everyone~! I hope you all had a blast taking the first step into round 2018. As always, with the first couple of days of every year, quite a number of well-deserved hangovers and well-intentioned new years’ resolutions have probably gone out of the window for a lot of people already – which reminds me… time to get working on my “treat yourself with a breakfast worth getting out of bed for more often” resolution~!
There’s so many yumtastic dishes to be found almost exclusively in a serious breakfast scenario, but that sort of opulent breakfast is a rather rare event – way too rare for my liking. I decided that, this year, the time has come to either put some more effort into weekend breakfasts than to… skip them – or to find another way to translate some of those typical breakfast-dishes into everyday-ones.
When I went through the planning-phase of the breakfast-shindig at our place, the annual Welcome- or eat the new year January 1st shabang, I kept and extra eye out for dishes perfectly fitting into that sort of category, and it didn’t take me more than a blink or two to nail down the first perfect match: Pancakes! And, for once, I already knew exactly, what kind of pancakes I had to plate up to wow my overnight-guests to full awareness after a long night~!
Just a few months ago, I had one of those lightbulb moments that sent me running into the kitchen for no apparent reason and made me pick up, take apart and reassemble this rather inoffensive little recipe off of the Chef’s Guild’s menu…
…into something else entirely. And the result of that particular random-tuesday-afternoon-kitchen-craze was exactly what I wanted to see on the first breakfast (banquet) table of the year – a stack of fluffy buttermilk pancakes, perfectly suited to either wake you up with a smile on your face or to give you a much needed hug on a rainy afternoon when combined with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The amounts listed will net you 3-4 breakfast-appropriate servings~
The Apple-Buttermilk Pancakes
If you’re planning ahead for a breakfast following a possibly turbulent night, whipping up the dough and stashing it away in an airtight container at the back of your fridge the evening before might be a good way to cut down on half-asleep-early-morning prep-time. Keep the apple bits, also best stored in an airtight container after a quick toss with a few drops of lemon juice to keep them from browning, nearby as well.
½ Braeburn Apple, peeled, cored and very finely diced – the Braeburns are my personal favorites for the job because of their zingy freshness, you could also use Fujis or Gala Apples for a bit more sweetness, but make sure they’re not extraordinarily juicy representatives of their kind.
1 Large Egg
100g Self-Raising Flour – or simply add ½ Tsp of Baking Powder and a pinch of Baking Soda to 98g of plain flour
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Pinch of Salt
1 Pinch of Brown Sugar
A Bit of Butter for the pan
1) Sift the flour – or flour & powder combo – into a large mixing bowl and press a well into the center of the floury mountain with your knuckles.
2) Crack the egg into that well and sprinkle it with the salt and sugar.
3) Roll up your sleeves and get to work whisking the mixture into a smooth dough while adding the buttermilk and maple syrup in a slow and steady trickle.
4) Keep at it until the dough slides off your whisk or the back of a test-spoon in a silky-smooth and lump-free sheet.
5) Cover your mixing bowl with a dry kitchen towel and set it aside for 20-30 mins, allowing the dough some time to R&R to thicken up and get ready for the apples.
6) Once you’re about ready to get the pancake-show on the road, gently fold the apple bits into the dough.
7) Lightly brush a 14-16cm DIA pan – or one of those even smaller, gimmicky pancake thingies in case you just happen to have one flying around in your kitchen – with a thin layer of butter and set it onto medium heat. If you’re in the mood for smaller or fancily shaped ones, place heatproof dessert rings, sunny-side-up shaping-gizmos or large cookie cutters in your pan and fill those instead.
8) Once the pan has caught up with the temperature of the stove, ladle or pour in just enough of the dough to comfortably cover the bottom of the pan, about ½ cm high. As for the thickness of your disk: poke and prod the apple bits until they’re all a) evenly distributed and b) flat on their faces, so to speak. They shouldn’t be peeking out of the dough too far.
9) Help the dough along by tipping the pan until it’s evenly spread out around the apples.
10) Just on a side-note: the Number One law of crêpe- and pancake-physics – the first one will go south… or up in flames – does apply and it brought a friend. With the baking powder doing it’s job fluffing up the dough and the pan probably needing more time than it would seem, chances are your first one will take a bit longer than you would expect and it might turn out a bit pale. Don’t judge the temperature or time needed for the second one by that example or you’ll probably burn that one to a crisp in what seems to be the blink of an eye. So, don’t let that slow-poke lull you into a false sense of safety, keep an eye on the pan and, in case you’re not a regular in the pancake business, go by these pointers for temperature and pan-time:
• While you’re pouring in the dough, it shouldn’t start setting before you’re done arranging the apples and, on the other hand, it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two to settle into a pancake, easily sliding around in the pan at a gentle shake.
• Time-wise, the right moment to flip the pancake has come when the side facing up looks a bit bubbly yet dry, and a quick peek beneath reveals a mouthwateringly golden disk with a few dots of caramelized apples. Flip them and give them 1-2 mins on the second side before sliding them out onto a warm plate.
11) Cover the growing stack with a paper towel and a layer of aluminum foil while you’re finishing up the rest of the dough.
The Blueberry Compote
You may think this combo might be a bit of a fuss to make first thing in the morning, but the compote is one of those convenient dishes that, more or less, cook themselves while you flip some pancakes in between sips of your coffee or tea. You could also cook it up the day before and serve it cold, but having it ooze down your stack of pancakes freshly made and still hot really takes the crown~
3 Tbsp Liquor 43
2 Tbsp Dark Honey
1 Tbsp Water
1 Splash of Lemon Juice
1) Place a heavy-based pot on medium heat.
2) Pop in ½ of the blueberries along with the Liquor 43, honey and water. The booze will cook off but in case you prefer to skip it, replace it with 3 Tbsp of fresh orange juice, ½ Tsp of Orange Zest and the seeds of ¼ vanilla pod. Not the same, but close enough~
3) Allow the lot to simmer away, undisturbed, for 10 mins – simply give the pot a gentle shake at the half-time mark to make sure nothing’s sticking where it shouldn’t.
4) Add the rest of the Blueberries and the lemon juice, gently fold in the new additions and give the lot another 5 mins on medium heat.
5) Have a look-see and decide whether the compote’s still too runny for you – in that case, set it onto low heat and allow it to poof out more moisture. If it’s too far out on the jam-side of things for you, fork through the berries and see if breaking up a couple of the ones still intact takes care of the issue. If that doesn’t work, add a bit of orange juice.
6) Keep the compote warm on very low heat until the pancakes are ready~ Personal note: close the lid and make sure there’s no spoon in easy reach…
Assembling The Dish
Lemon Balm Leaves
More Blueberries in case the compote mysteriously lost a great deal of it’s volume somewhere down the line…
Opt: Your Favorite Vanilla Ice Cream
1) Stack up the pancakes on individual plates and lightly dust them with the icing sugar.
2) Spoon the compote on top of the stacks and add a couple of blue and green dots to each serving – the lemon balm isn’t one of those “best picked off” deco items, by the way~ As soon as it comes into contact with the hot compote, the leaves add a wonderfully refreshing aroma both to the compote itself and the air wafting around your faces as you dig in!
Oh and, just in case you’ve been wondering about the stray blob of ice cream… I know I mentioned this one working perfectly as a dessert or delicious, soul-warming treat, but! There’s absolutely no better date and occasion than January 1st (or your birthday, for that matter) to have ice cream for breakfast~! It’s going to be a happy year, indeed!