Pretty much everybody likes pancakes for breakfast. There’s something cozy and heartening about the simple pancake that both satisfies hunger and lightens anxiety. It’s warm, it’s smooth, it’s sweet and isn’t that just what we want our lives to be like?
Admit it. When pancakes are the breakfast menu, you smile inside.
Think how you’ll feel when you pair the common pancake with healthy fruit, like pears, berries and apples, or with nutritious protein, like eggs. Not just pleased at the tasty pancake and syrup, the fruit and protein additions carry a healthy dollop of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, which is just what the doctor, literally, ordered in this age of covid concerns.
But no. Eating tasty pancakes will not guarantee you are spared from ill health. However, a diet rich in proper nutrition is a cornerstone to building good health habits and a strong immune system, say the experts, so the recipes below are meant to encourage the health aspect of the popular pancake.
Pleasing and mouth-watering on its own, the real benefits of these pancakes are in the fruit and egg additions. And because those additions add even more tastiness to the “cake”, that’s something to smile about as you begin your day.
Caveat: Drowning your pancake with extra sugar-laden syrup and fat-full butter could block all the good nutrients from protecting you.
CARAMELIZED PEAR PANCAKE
It’s the pear’s turn to shine
4 Tbs. (2 oz.) unsalted butter
4 cups (1 lb.) diced, peeled or unpeeled pears, (Anjou or Red Bartlett are a good choice for size and tastiness)
2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 oz. size) whole or half and half milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup (5 oz.) all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack in the lower third of it. In a large frying pan (about a 12 inch diameter), melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the pears and brown sugar, turning a few times with a spatula or large spoon, until pancakes are just crispy-tender, about 4 minutes. Place lemon and cinnamon in a small bowl, stirring to blend. Sprinkle the pancakes evenly with the lemon juice – cinnamon mix and stir to combine. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, lifting the pan slightly and swirling it until the butter
melts and coats the bottom and sides of the pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Sift the flour and salt over the mixture and whisk until blended. Carefully pour the batter over the hot fruit. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Dust the top with confectioners’ sugar (optional). Serves 6.
OATMEAL PANCAKE EGG SANDWICH
Add hearty, healthy oatmeal to pancakes to double the goodness
2 C all-purpose pancake mix
2/3 C milk
1/2 C quick-cooking oats
Berries, Apples, Pears, optional
Heat oven to 450ºF. Mix all ingredients until soft dough forms then stir vigorously for 30 seconds. Drop batter by scant tablespoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and center tests dry. At this point you can serve warm with jam, peanut butter or honey or use in a breakfast sandwich.
For a breakfast sandwich, fry, scramble, or poach an egg, one per sandwich, while pancakes are baking. Put egg on one pancake and top with a slice of cheese, if desired. Season the egg half and cover with another pancake to make the sandwich. Makes about 6 sandwiches.
Tip: Add variety to the pancake sandwiches by introducing them to fruit. Pick a favorite berry, apple or pear and cut the fruit, as needed, into a warmed skillet. Add a bit of butter and water to the skillet and heat fruit until soft. Sprinkle with spices of your choice and lift from pan with a slotted spatula to drain off liquid. Fruit can be added with or without egg in the sandwich, but with the cheese alone.
HONEY PEAR ROLL-UP PANCAKES
There’s a sweet pleasure in every bite
2 C milk
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 Tbls melted butter
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 pears (can use canned pear halves)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C honey
Nutmeg for seasoning
For the filling, cut pears into large chunks. Mix 1/2 C water, two tablespoons sugar and one teaspoon cinnamon in a small pan and heat on medium until the liquids reduce and thicken. Sauté cut pears in the sugar and cinnamon mix until soft, stirring to heat all sides.
Whisk eggs, milk, flour, melted butter and sugar together in a bowl until smooth. Heat a small non-stick skillet on medium heat, and ladle a small amount of the egg batter into the pan creating a thin layer across the entire surface a bit thicker than for a crepe. Keep pan on low heat for 4-5 minutes or until edges are golden and pancake can be easily flipped over. Heat other side of the pancake for an additional 2-3 minutes until golden.
Meanwhile, warm honey slightly in microwave or small pan. Remove pancake from the pan to a plate and spoon the cooked filling onto the middle. Roll pancake under, tucking both ends underneath. Top with warm honey and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
Note: Apples are usually used for pancake filling, and you can substitute apples in this recipe. Or, to increase the delight, use both. Also, try spicing your pancakes up with colorful, flavorful, berries (cut them up, if large, like strawberries) added to the sauté pan just before the fruit is finished softening. You can also add flavor, and crunch, by adding chopped nuts to the fruit filling before rolling the pancakes.
Tip: Use flavored honey for even more tastiness.
By Jean Redstone