A food item I have a serious thing for as of late, it’s safe to say they are something of an obsession since I have spent countless hours over the last four months trying to figure out how to whip up the perfect silver dollar. I probably spend as much time on this particular conundrum as I do working, or searching for that must have summer jumpsuit, or watching episodes of Sherlock over and over and over again.
Although there is no such thing as ever watching too much Sherlock.
Anyhow, my recent love for pancakes is something that took me by surprise because I HATED them as a child. Oh yes, mine was an an axe-grinding, stomach roiling, contempt for the breakfast staple others loved. I despised pancakes so much, in fact, that I went to great lengths to avoid eating them. A monumental challenge because in my childhood home pancakes were prepared, without fail, every goddamned Saturday.
But naturally I didn’t let that get me down. It took some time but I eventually became a Saturday-breakfast Houdini in that I perfected hiding unwanted pieces of breakfast in my napkin, up my sleeve and, shamefully, down my pants. I learned how to pin a smile to my face as I rocked up to breakfast in pyjamas with pockets or a book in my hand–did you know that thinner pancakes, if properly placed, can fit perfectly between the pages. However, once those tactics became too messy (I mean, syrup in your pyjamas is not easy to cover up) I started to dupe my parents into letting me leave the table with my plate. I asked to eat in my bedroom because I had homework to do.
The truth was I had cut a small hole in the bottom of the mesh screen of my bedroom window, which allowed me to toss the pancakes out, one by one, into a crowd of evergreens and firs. And for the better half of a year I worked in tandem with a wild fox who seemed to be more than happy to come by and take care of the evidence for me.
My downfall however, was the Saturday when I got sloppy and didn’t scan the outside perimeter prior to pulling back the screen and flicking my wrist. Alas, it was the day I nailed my father in the face with a piece of spongy, syrup covered, flapjack.
But I digress, the tossing of the pancakes is a story for another day.
Now that I’m older and wiser I have come to appreciate the amazingness of pancakes. This is because they have the ability to kick-start the weekend in a way an omelette or bowl of porridge can’t. Like crêpes they can be sweet, savoury or a little of both. And yet they don’t need a fanciful filling to get the job done. They come as they are, laden with every little bit of goodness you pack into them. They can be big and fat, or super thin, or big and thin, or small and fat. They can be ANYTHING you want them to be. Want yours with spelt flour? Go for it. Prefer sorghum? It’s all yours. Like ’em bare? Do it! Feeling sophisticated? Try them with homemade compote or, even, some cashew cheese. You can do what you want with pancakes knowing full well that they will bend. Yield. Accept whatever you impose on them.
Pancakes are also awesome because they are nonconformist, and because they aren’t waffles. #hatersgonnahate
And so, without further ado, here is a gluten-free, dairy-free pancake and sugar-free (at least in the pancake itself) recipe to spice up or strip down as you like. I tend to add enough turmeric so mine have a slightly yellow cast, and I serve them with *real* maple syrup, and a homemade pomegranate/apple compote that might even be better than the pancakes.
Intolerant Pancakes (Dairy-free/Gluten-free/Sugar-free)
Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 – 20 minutes
Serves: 2-6 (Depending on how many pancakes you eat in one sitting. Since I have a habit of eating all the pancakes this recipe serves 2-3 people at my place.)
1 cup of buckwheat flour (finely milled if possible)
⅓ cup of oats
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
½ tablespoon of turmeric
½ teaspoon of nutmeg
½ teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking powder
⅓ cup of olive oil
½ – 1 cup of water (depending on how runny you like your batter)
Blueberries, bananas or apples, or whatever fruit you’d like
*Optional items: ⅓ cup of ground cacao nibs, hemp seed or nuts AND/OR ½ cup of ground flax and pumpkin seeds. Another addition is 1 teaspoon of vanilla (but since I put this in my compote I don’t add it in the pancakes).
Making the cakes
Step 1: Preheat oven to 100 degrees Celsius/220 Fahrenheit. Put an empty dish in the oven or line a tray with baking paper. We’re going to put the cooked pancakes in the oven and keep them warm until all the batter has been used.
Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients in a big bowl: flour, oats, salt/baking powder and spices.
Step 3: If you’re going to add extras like flax, pumpkin seed or hemp, pulverise/sprinkle them in now to the dry mix.
Step 4: Make a well in your dry ingredients and add the olive oil, eggs and water. Mix until combined.
Step 5: Add last minute ingredients at this point: cacao, nuts, vanilla, rum (yes, rum). Be bold. Have fun.
Step 6: Turn on your stove burners to medium/high and add a half tsp of sunflower (or other high heat oil) to your pan(s). I bought two fantastic, perfectly pancake sized, ones from IKEA for $5.00 each and I adore them. They were, hands down, one of the best purchases of 2015.
Step 7: Ladle the batter into your pan and wait until the first holes start to appear on the topside of the pancake. If you’re adding any fruit do so while the batter is still slightly wet.
Step 8: Flip over when you see several air holes on the top of the pancake or when you notice the outer edge is more solid than it is liquid. Cook on the other side for 1-3 minutes.
Step 9: Remove from heat and place the pancake in the oven to keep warm.
Step 10: Add a bit more oil to your pan and keep on ladling and flipping until you’ve gone through all the batter.
Step 11: Take out of the oven, arrange on a plate, add some compote and syrup. Eat. Enjoy.