Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pancakes with Sweetened Banana (Hotcakes)

Pancakes are thin, flat cakes prepared from a batter and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are cooked one side and flipped partway through to cook the other side. Depending on the region, pancakes may be served at any time, with a variety of toppings or fillings from jam, fruit, syrup or even meat.

English pancakes have plain flour, eggs, and milk as three key ingredients. The batter is runny and forms a thin layer on the bottom of the frying pan when the pan is tilted. It may form some bubbles during cooking but the pancake does not rise. They may be eaten as a sweet dessert with the traditional topping of lemon juice and sugar, drizzled with golden syrup, or wrapped around savory stuffing and eaten as a main course.

On the other hand, American or Canadian pancakes (hotcakes, griddlecakes or flapjacks) are pancakes which contain a raising agent such as baking powder; proportions of eggs, flour, and milk or buttermilk create a thick batter. Sugar and spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg are added. This batter is ladled or poured onto a hot surface, and spreads to form a circle. The raising agent causes bubbles to rise to the uncooked side, when the pancake is flipped. These light pancakes are served at breakfast topped with syrup, butter, peanut butter, jelly, jam, fruit or honey. It can be made sweet or savory by adding ingredients such as blueberries, strawberries, cheese, bacon, bananas, apples or chocolate chips to the batter.

In the Philippines, pancakes or "hotcakes" as they commonly called are also served with maple or corn syrup, margarine and sugar or condensed milk. They are usually served for breakfast, but there are roving street stalls that sell smaller hotcakes topped with margarine and sugar as an afternoon snack. I have a childhood memory of this delicious food which I used to eat in our school’s roadside eateries. I like it very much that I always look forward to school recess just to be able to eat it. :-)

Most families and kids for that matter, now have easy access to this food as it is readily available in instant packages which can be bought from groceries and supermarkets. All you have to do is mix the content with water and presto you have the batter. My son is among those who enjoy this instant food. For me though, the one prepared from scratch is still the best and probably the safest as far as ones health is concerned.

To prepare a pancake, we need the following ingredients: 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used wheat flour which the one common here in Sri Lanka), ¼ cup white fine sugar, 2¼ tsp Baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, 2 cups buttermilk, 2 large fresh eggs, ¼ cup melted butter and ½ tsp salt. Sorry, I forgot to take photos. :)

If you only have milk and not buttermilk, as is always my case, you have two options: 1. Either to just use the fresh milk and be satisfied by with good pancake or 2. Be more creative and turn the fresh milk into buttermilk and have a better pancake. If you choose the latter, go and start your research on how to turn milk into buttermilk. Just kidding :-), here is how I do it. With the 2 cups of fresh milk in a non-reactive bowl, just add 2 tbsp white vinegar and wait for several minutes……..until curdles form…….it will happen……….science tells us it will………..and presto, buttermilk in no time.

Basically you just have to mix everything to form into batter. In a mixing bowl sift the flour together with baking powder and baking soda. In another bowl mix the sugar, salt and melted butter. Add the eggs one by one while continuously stirring. Add the flour mixture and stir further you attain a well mixed batter. Remember, I said well mixed, not over-mixed. :) You want your pancakes to be light and airy, right?

Prepare the griddle or just the over-used but still very effective (a.k.a. highly seasoned and non-sticking) frying pan. Heat it on low flame and add a small amount of butter or margarine. Pour about half a cup of the batter and cook the first side. Flip partway through to cook the other side. Transfer to a plate and continue with the next pancake.

Continue cooking until you have stacks of golden hotcakes in the plate. The rhythm of doing it will be developed as you go on with the same repetitious task of cooking over and over again………until you run out of batter. c“,)

Top the pancakes with whatever toppings you fancied about. As discussed above, there are a lot of toppings to choose from. Possibilities are endless. For me though, I intend to top this with sweetened bananas which I have cooked earlier following the recipe in this previous post. This time however, I cut up the bananas to smaller sizes to fit as toppings. Drizzle the banana hotcakes with maple syrup and be prepared to drool.

Serve in individual plates. Enjoy! I am not so much into sweets, but yes, this is sumptuous. My son will envy me for this……….his favorite. c“,)

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