Mom's the guest of honor

Entertaining

Entertaining: Pancakes with a strawberry sauce should get the day off to a perfect start.

April 29, 2001|By Betty Rosbottom | Betty Rosbottom,Los Angeles Times Syndicate

On this Mother's Day, if you are lucky enough to be close by, nothing is more thoughtful than making your mother the guest of honor at a home-cooked meal.

This year I've planned a breakfast that is perfect for either young kids or grown-ups to prepare. The centerpiece of the menu is Cinnamon Pancakes With Strawberry-Orange Sauce. Simple morning fare should accompany the griddlecakes: crispy strips of bacon or sauteed ham or sausage links, glasses of fresh-squeezed juice and cups of steaming coffee or tea.

The strawberry sauce -- made by cooking chopped fresh berries, sugar, orange juice and zest until thickened -- is pureed and finished with added sliced strawberries. The pancakes are assembled with the usual ingredients, but light brown sugar in place of granulated sugar gives them a more interesting flavor and ground cinnamon provides an unexpected and delicious accent.

The recipe yields a dozen 4-inch griddlecakes, which should serve four nicely. However, if you have a larger family or a group with expansive appetites, you can double or triple the recipe as desired.

Oh, yes -- after this delectable meal, don't forget to do the dishes. All mothers love that.

Cinnamon Pancakes With Strawberry-Orange Sauce

Makes 12 (4-inch) pancakes or 4 servings

SAUCE:

1 1/2 pints (3 cups) fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled

4 to 5 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (color portion of peel)

1 / 4 cup orange juice plus more if needed

PANCAKES:

1 1/2 cups flour (unbleached all-purpose flour works well)

1 / 4 cup packed light brown sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

3 / 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk plus 2 to 3 tablespoons extra if needed

2 eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

powdered sugar

4 mint sprigs, for garnish, optional

To prepare sauce, thinly slice half the strawberries and place in medium heavy saucepan along with 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, orange zest and juice. With potato masher, meat pounder or wooden spoon, crush berries well. Place saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook and stir until mixture bubbles and thickens, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Taste and stir in remaining 1 tablespoon sugar if needed. (Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cool, cover and refrigerate. Reheat when ready to use.)

To finish sauce, slice remaining berries and stir into warm sauce. If sauce is too thick, thin with additional orange juice.

To prepare pancakes, in large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

In separate bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the milk, eggs and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter. Pour liquid ingredients into dry mixture and whisk to combine. If mixture seems too thick, add remaining 2 to 3 tablespoons milk.

Heat griddle or large, heavy skillet set over medium heat until hot, then brush with just enough remaining melted butter to coat surface. Working in batches, pour batter onto hot griddle by 1 / 4 cupfuls. Cook until bubbles appear on top, and bottoms of pancakes are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown on other side, about 2 minutes. Remove to warm platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. (Do not stack pancakes or they will steam and become flabby.) Continue, adding more butter to griddle as needed and cooking pancakes in batches.

To serve, arrange 3 overlapping pancakes in middle of dinner plate. Ladle generous amount of warm strawberry sauce in center and dust generously with powdered sugar. Garnish with mint sprig. Repeat to make 3 more servings.

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