Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sourdough Pancakes Recipe with optional Strawberries in balsamic glaze

Pancake Tuesday needs something a bit beyond the regular old powder from a box kind of griddle cake.  So today, I decided to make sourdough pancakes.

Sourdough pancakes with strawberries in a balsamic glaze
I realized the butter kind of melted while I was taking the photo,
oh well, tastes just as good.

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of pancakes.  American style pancakes are too sweet and fluffy.  The British ones, all flat like thick crepes that you eat rolled up with lemon and sugar, are just too big a serving size for me.  And just about any pancake are too heavy and too many.  The recipes make too much and encourage me to eat and eat and eat!

So over the last three days, I spent almost all my spare time searching for a sourdough pancake recipe that I would enjoy eating.  And what did I find?  Recipes that made way too many pancakes.

I decided to come up with my own recipe.  I wanted a runnier batter as a nod to the English Pancakes of my youth, but something that still resembled drop scones and American style pancakes.  This is what I came up with.  This will feed two greedy super-hungry people, or up to four more reserved people.  Makes just the right amount for 3 people in my opinion, with a couple of cakes left over for seconds.

The key to this is to have your sourdough sponge (or runny starter) at room temperature and well fed.  If you are making this in the morning, feed it the night before.

Sourdough Pancakes

1/2 cup sourdough sponge, active and bubbly, not too stiff.
1/2 cup milk (or milk like liquid  if you like rice milk or soy milk or whatever)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs melted butter
1/2 tsp maple syrup
pinch salt
1 egg
1/2 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 tsp water
just about time to flip now

  • In a medium bowl, mix together all but the baking soda/water. It will be a bit runnier than regular pancake batter.
  • Heat up the frying pan/griddle.  Make sure it's nice and hot so that when a splash of batter hits the pan it starts to cook right away, but not so hot that the grease smokes.  Speaking of grease.  I'm of the firm opinion that pancakes taste best when cooked in lard.  I like to use a mixture of about 4 parts lard and 1 part butter to grease my griddle.  But to each their own.
  • When the griddle is ready and everything else is ready, mix the dissolved baking soda into the batter.
  • Now ladle, spoon, poor out your batter into the pan.  Keep in mind these will spread out a bit more than you may be use to, so leave room between the cakes.  
  • When the bubbles burst and don't close up again, flip the cakes.  It will take about 30 seconds to a min for them to cook on the other side.
  • You can serve them as you cook them or stick them in the oven (at about 250F) to keep warm while you finish cooking the rest, then serve them all together.  
Affordable cooking: YES.  I estimate it would be at most $1 for the entire batter, so that's somewhere between 25cent to 50 cent per person.  

But it really goes better with fruit.  Since Pancake Tuesday is out of season for most fruit, add another $1 per person, then maybe a couple of rashers of bacon, so for a complete meal, including toppings, I would give about $1.50 to $2 per person.  You can cut this down a lot if you use fruit that are in season.  Maybe make an apple and rhubarb stew with a touch of honey and nutmeg instead of the strawberries imported from the other side of the world (I'm not proud of that part, but it's a holiday, and I almost never buy fruit out of season).

Here's a simple and rather healthy way to make strawberries taste amazing.  I think the first time I saw this is on a Nigella Lawson cooking show.  It may seem weird to combine these two together, but give it a shot.  Even The Ancient with his excessively sweet tooth gobbles this up like it's made of sugar.  

Strawberry side dish for pancakes

Strawberries (at least two berries per person)
Balsamic vin

  • cut the strawberries into fairly small chunks, make them irregular shapes to maximize on the surface area.
  • drizzle a small amount of balsamic vin on the strawberries
  • mix
  • if you put too much vin, add a tiniest pinch of salt, and mix again
  • let it sit for at least five min while you cook the pancakes
  • done
It is so sweet and so easy.

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