Mixed berry pancakes with honey berry topping. Photographer: Zbigniew Bzdak/TNS
Breakfast factors in all our weekend plans. We happily travel for a great skillet of spicy eggs, tower of golden pancakes, platter of inventive French toast. I have my favourite spots all over the country.
But, really, our favourite spot for a great breakfast with friends is the kitchen table. The whole family enjoys cooking together to start the day right. It’s even better when weekend guests join in the fun.
Both of these pancake recipes might seem like a lot of work because of all the directions, but I am trying to guide you through to foolproof pancakes, so you and your company have a great time. And you taste the pleasure of homemade breakfast.
MIXED BERRY PANCAKES WITH HONEY BERRY TOPPING
3 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons plus 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 bags (16 ounces each) frozen mixed berries, about 8 cups total
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 to 4 tablespoons honey, plus more for serving
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, plus more for cooking
1/2 cup vegetable oil such as expeller-pressed canola or sunflower oil, plus more for cooking
6 large eggs
2 1/2 cups skim milk
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt, plus more for serving
1. Mix flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large container. Store covered, up to a couple of weeks.
2. For the honey berry topping, put 1 bag of the mixed berries in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high, stirring a couple of times, until berries are softened but still cold, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the honey. Add more honey to taste. Refrigerate, covered, up to 2 days. Serve at room temperature.
3. When you are ready to cook, heat oven to 200 degrees; place a baking sheet with a wire rack set on it in the oven. Let the remaining bag of mixed berries sit on the counter to soften slightly.
4. Put the 1 stick butter into a microwave-safe bowl; cover loosely with wax paper. Microwave on high (100 per cent power) until melted, about 45 seconds. Stir in the 1/2 cup oil.
5. Whisk eggs smooth in a large bowl. Whisk in skim milk and the 1 cup yogurt until smooth. Whisk in butter-oil mixture. Add dry ingredients; whisk gently just until all dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix, or your pancakes will be tough. Gently fold in the contents of the remaining bag of mixed berries.
6. Heat 1 or 2 large nonstick skillet(s) or a nonstick griddle over medium heat until a drop of the pancake batter bubbles furiously when dropped on the surface. Lightly oil and butter the cooking surface. Spoon out about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Spread the batter with the back of the spoon, so it is thinned out a little. Cook until a few bubbles break on top and the bottom is golden, about 2 minutes. Gently flip pancake over; cook until second side is golden, 1 to 2 minutes more. Keep oiling the cooking surface and adjusting the heat as you go along, so pancakes are golden and not overly browned.
7. Transfer cooked pancakes to the wire rack on the baking sheet in the oven. Keep warm until enough are cooked to serve. Serve pancakes with the honey berry topping and more yogurt.
FAVOURITE BAKED APPLE PANCAKES
Pumpkin pie spice makes a snappy alternative to cinnamon. Always measure your skillets across the top for the accurate diameter. For the apples, try Honeycrisp, SweeTango, Golden Delicious, Gala or Granny Smith.
6 large firm apples
3/4 cup each: granulated sugar, packed dark brown sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups skim milk
8 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
Powdered sugar or maple syrup
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, slice in half and core the apples. Slice about 1/4 inch thick. Mix apples, sugars and cinnamon in a large bowl.
2. Put the milk and eggs into a blender; blend to mix. Add the flour and salt; blend briefly to moisten the flour. Do not overmix.
3. Heat 2 large (10-inch), heavy, ovenproof skillets over medium heat until hot. Add half of the butter to each pan; allow butter to melt (watching so it doesn’t burn). When melted, divide the apple mixture between the pans. Cook and stir until apples are slightly softened and the sugar mixture creates a thickish syrup, 5 to 10 minutes.
4. Remove skillets from the heat; arrange the apples so they evenly cover the skillet bottoms. Slowly pour the batter over the apples, dividing it evenly between the pans. Do not stir.
5. Immediately transfer skillets to hot oven. Bake until pancakes are puffed and golden, 20 to 25 minutes. The pancakes will deflate as they cool, so serve immediately. (You can leave them in the turned-off oven for a few minutes.)
6. To serve, cut into large wedges and flip each wedge over onto the plate so the caramelised apples are on the top. Pass powdered sugar or syrup.
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