Friday, October 12, 2012

Pear pancakes

and then there were four

I woke up this morning thinking about the six remaining pears on my kitchen table.  They need to be used today.  I've already made pear cupcakes and pudding cake this week, so I wanted to use them for breakfast and make something at least marginally nutritious.  I considered adding them to oatmeal or making crepes, but eventually I decided on pancakes. 

I usually use the basic pancake recipe in my Betty Crocker's Cookbook (the one Mom bought me about 20 years ago after I went off to college) and alter it in whatever way comes to mind: toasted nuts, fruit, spices, etc.  Today I substituted 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour and added 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract as well as 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

Even though I have a few dozen fancier cookbooks, I still refer to this book often for basic ratios and recipes (oatmeal cookies, for example).   I've always been a messy, somewhat disorganized cook.  On the pancake page, there's a big oil stain at the top that matches the one on the facing page.  Over the years I've improved a great deal, but this book definitely has its battle scars.  I'm no stranger to getting halfway through a recipe and discovering that I'm missing a vital ingredient. Fortunately James is generally willing to make last-minute trips to the store.

Okay, enough babble, on to the pear pancakes!  Here's the rough recipe for the pear topping.  I didn't measure or write down anything :

2 firm but ripe pears, peeled, cored, and sliced about 1/4 inch thick
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup real maple syrup

Put all of the pears in a large bowl. Combine all of the spices in a small bowl, break up any clumps then add them to the pears and toss to combine.  Melt the butter in a saucepan or skillet that's big enough to hold all the pears with a bit of room to spare.  Once the butter starts to bubble, add the pears and stir.  Cook just long enough to warm the pears through, then add the maple syrup and bring to a simmer.  Remove form the heat and set aside.    Now make your pancakes in whatever way you like, whether it's from a box or from scratch. Spoon the pear topping over them.  The pears will break down a bit as they sit in the hot maple syrup, but that's okay.  They'll still be delicious.

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