Friday, March 9, 2012

Day 62: The Celiac Pancake Adventure

For those of you who regularly follow this blog (not many, I know--I'm not in Public Relations, what can I say?), you'll probably remember my celiac cupcake adventures. This time, however, I tried to tackle one of the America's most popular comfort breakfast foods: pancakes. Now my mother has this truly amazing sourdough starter from Alaska that she's been using for years (no joke--she's had it for a while) that she uses for her waffles and pancakes, but unfortunately, that has gluten in it, which my beloved sister can't have anymore. 

SO, while doing my research, I adapted a glutenous recipe for ricotta pancakes which didn't use a lot of flour anyway, so I just substituted coconut flour. The thing you should know about coconut flour though, for those of you culinary inventors, is that it reacts much differently than other gluten-free flours, such as almond flour and garbanzo-bean flour, which you can pretty much make a clean substitute with no adjustments in the other recipe ingredients. Coconut flour (which has more fiber than the others) is much denser, so you have to adjust the liquids accordingly; otherwise, you will end up with a crumble mixture which is fine for molding into pie crusts, but not smooth enough for other batters such as cupcake batter and pancake batter. 

Therefore, if you truly wish to tackle this doozer of a recipe (my sister loved the results, even though I accidentally forgot to label my container of pancakes and she didn't take her Lactaid pills, resulting in some gastrointestinal problems later that day), keep that lovely tidbit of information in mind while you follow my recipe and you can add more liquid if you like your batter to really be smooth or just work with what you have. For those of you fellow Jews out there, my sister described them as a combination of pancakes and the Jewish cheese-filled crepes called 'blintzes,' hence the name of the recipe.

Gluten-Free Coconut Ricotta 'Blintz' Pancakes
Makes about 8 small pancakes

3/8 c. coconut flour
3/8 c. almond meal/flour
1 c. unsweetened almond milk
¾ c. unsweetened coconut flakes
¼ c. raw stevia
4 eggs separated
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum powder
½ tsp almond extract
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ginger paste
1 tsp lemon zest
2 handfuls chopped walnuts (about ½ cup)

1 tbsp vegan buttery spread, margarine (Earth Balance is a good brand), or Pam's non-fat butter spray

Topping 1: Lemony Yogurt Cream (Dairy option)
1 c. 0% plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla

Topping 2: Balsamic Syrup (Non-dairy option)
1/2 c. Balsamic vinegar
1 packet raw stevia

Garnishes (per pancake):
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/8 c. chopped walnuts

1 packet of stevia

1) Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a fork to remove the crumbly bits.
2) Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until they become frothy and form stiff peaks.
3) Add the ricotta, almond milk, egg yolks vanilla and almond extracts, ginger paste, lemon zest, and walnuts into the bowl with the dry ingredients and whisk together.
4) Fold in the egg whites with a large spoon.
5) Spray a large skillet with Pam's butter spray or the margarine to coat the bottom of the pan and turn the burner onto a medium heat level.
6) Spoon in about 1/4 c. pancake batter into the skillet with a large ladle and press down the pancakes with a large spatula--the batter won't be as liquidy as normal pancake batter unless you add more almond milk.
7) Cover the skillet with a lid and let the pancakes bake for a few minutes in the skillet.
8) Using the spatula, carefully flip the pancakes to bake on the other side (it may help to use two spatulas--that's how I tackled not having the pancake crumble while flipping, which occurred with the first pancake flip). 
9) Cover the skillet again and let the pancakes bake on the other side--repeat for the rest of the batter, letting the pancakes cool on a large plate before serving onto individual plates.
10) Prepare the first topping option by combining the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside OR
in a small skillet or sauce pot (I have a small pot for sauces but a skillet/saucepan will work as well), heat up the balsamic vinegar on medium high heat until it starts to bubble slight, stirring it with a wooden spoon so it doesn't burn, and then adding the stevia when the mixture turns into a syrup on the spoon.
11) Divide the pancakes onto separate plates and top with either one or both of the topping options (I used just the dairy-free, balsamic syrup before I thought of the dairy one after photographing the pancake). 
12) Sprinkle the lemon zest, chopped walnuts and stevia on top and serve immediately!

*Note: These are hearty pancakes, so one pancake is pretty filling and may be the right portion size per person--they should be about the size of the palm of your hand (well, I have small hands, but you get the picture--they're the size of a small bagel, like Lender's brand of frozen bagels, not the enormous-sized ones you see at bakeries today). 

Enjoy and Bon Appetit!

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