Pancakes move on to lunch and dinner

April 16, 1995|By Jane Stacey | Jane Stacey,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Thousands of years have passed since humans first learned that adding water to crushed grain and heating the mixture on a flat surface would produce a delicious bread-like food. With the discovery of leavening and honey and other sweeteners, the pancake's place in almost every culture's cuisine was assured.

In China, the pancakes are rolled thin by hand, steamed, stuffed with meat or vegetables, and folded for serving. In Japan, they are studded with chopped oysters and served with a hot chili dipping sauce. South Africa and Bulgaria both have pumpkin pancakes; Finland boasts a baked version.

Endlessly versatile, pancakes -- and waffles -- are now served at any time of day as snacks, side dishes, main courses and desserts.

Dutch Babie

A close relative of the popover and Yorkshire pudding, the Dutch Babie rises and falls as it bakes, so the center stays soft and eggy. The crater-like shape makes it perfect for filling with fresh or cooked fruit.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups milk

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

powdered sugar, for dusting

sliced fresh nectarines and blackberries, for topping

Put butter in 9-inch pie pan and place in oven at 375 degrees to melt.

Meanwhile, combine flour, granulated sugar, milk, eggs and salt in large bowl. Using electric mixer set at medium-high, beat mixture 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until smooth. Remove pan from oven and carefully swirl to evenly coat bottom with butter.

Pour batter into pan. Bake at 375 degrees until edges have risen and are crisp and golden brown, and center is set but still soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut pancake into wedges. Top with nectarines and blackberries. Serve immediately.

Sourdough Pancakes With Sorghum Syrup

Although the sourdough starter takes several days to fully establish itself, it can be used after about 8 hours, but the sour taste will not be as intense. If you can, plan ahead so the starter can ripen for 3 to 5 days.

Makes 10 to 12 pancakes

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup whole-wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

3/4 cup Sourdough Starter

2 large eggs, at room temperature

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon honey

butter and sorghum syrup, for topping

Combine both flours, baking powder and salt in medium bowl.

In separate bowl, whisk together milk, Sourdough Starter, eggs, butter and honey. Pour mixture into dry ingredients, stirring quickly to form smooth batter.

Heat griddle or large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot, or until few drops of water sizzle on surface. Lightly grease griddle.

For each pancake, pour about a quarter-cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook until many bubbles appear on surface and edges look dry, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Before turning pancakes, lift edges to check that undersides are golden brown. Turn pancakes and cook until undersides are golden brown, 35 to 45 seconds longer.

Transfer pancakes to baking sheet. To keep pancakes warm, loosely cover with foil and place in 200-degree oven. Repeat with remaining batter. Transfer pancakes to warmed serving plates. Top each serving with butter and warm sorghum syrup.

Sourdough Starter:

2 cups warm water

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

In medium nonreactive bowl, combine warm water, yeast and honey. Let stand about 10 minutes, or until it becomes foamy. Using wooden spoon, stir in all-purpose flour and whole-wheat flour until smooth.

Transfer mixture to nonreactive container, large enough to allow starter to double in bulk. Cover and let stand in warm place 3 to 5 days, stirring mixture at least 3 times daily. It will rise and fall, remain bubbly and have pleasant sour smell.

When starter develops flavor and aroma that are pleasing to you, it is ready to use. Starter will keep indefinitely if stored, tightly covered, in refrigerator. If it develops orange or pink color, discard it.

Once starter is made, it must be replenished at least once every 2 to 3 weeks to keep it alive. To replenish, remove 1 cup starter and discard it. Add 1 cup flour and 1 cup tepid water to remaining starter, stirring until smooth. Cover and let stand in warm place 8 to 10 hours before refrigerating it again.

Apple, Potato and Sausage Waffles

Makes 8 to 10 waffles.

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

3 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 tablespoons butter, melted

6 ounces cooked pork or turkey breakfast sausage, crumbled

1/2 cup peeled and chopped cooked potatoes

1/2 cup peeled and grated apples

maple syrup, for topping

chopped apples, for topping

Heat waffle iron. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl.

Whisk together milk, egg yolks and butter in small bowl. Pour into dry ingredients, stirring with a few quick strokes to form lumpy batter. Stir in sausage, potatoes and apples.

Place egg whites in medium bowl. Using electric mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using rubber spatula, gently and thoroughly fold egg whites into batter.

Lightly spray or grease grids of waffle iron. Follow manufacturer's instructions. Spoon about a half-cup of batter (amount varies with size of iron) onto hot iron and spread it almost to corners of grids. Close lid and bake 2 to 3 minutes, or until waffles are golden brown, edges look dry and they do not stick to grids.

Transfer waffles to oven, placing them directly on rack so they will stay crisp. Repeat with remaining batter. Transfer waffles to warmed serving plates. Top each with syrup and apples.

Jane Stacey is the author of "The Best of Waffles & Pancakes: A Cookbook" (Collins Publishers, San Francisco), from which this article is excerpted.

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