In writing my first post of the New Year, it was my intention to come up with something earth-shatteringly deep and relevant to say. A little older and (hopefully) a tad wiser, I’m finding myself steering away from a lengthy blog entry, and feel compelled to stick to basics instead. Hello 2017! Keeping things simple is my new mantra!
Speaking of basics, turning my comfort food switch on is something I do easily – both in times of celebration as well as when I find myself navigating the waters of uncertainty (I’ll keep my opinion of the current political climate to myself thank you very much). I can’t think of anything that’s more comforting than a thick, fluffy pancake drenched in dark, amber syrup straight from the sap of a Canadian maple tree.
As usual, my eight-year-old son was the inspiration behind this recipe. When planning his birthday celebration last November, much like the year before, pancakes were at the top on his must-have party food list. This pear and vanilla pancake recipe sneakily incorporates fresh fruit into our family brunch favorite. I have kept the bones of the recipe similar to my strawberry pancakes with a few minor changes to alter the taste. Feel free to swap half of the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour to add bit more of a bang for your nutritional buck.
Pear Vanilla Pancakes (makes 20 to 24 pancakes)
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tablespoons ground flax (optional)
- 2 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk mixed with 1 cup plain yogurt
- ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled OR coconut oil
- seeds from ½ a vanilla pod OR 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 small fresh ripe pears, peeled and grated
- A great quality maple syrup to serve
- Fresh pear slices or poached pears (recipe below) to garnish
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, ground flax, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, set aside. Combine the egg, milk/yogurt mixture, vanilla, pear, and melted butter. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined (batter should be lumpy – do not over-mix, or your batter will be tough). Add additional milk to thin the batter, only if it is too thick.
Pour or spoon about ¼ cup batter into a circle (roughly 3 inches) onto a hot, lightly greased griddle or a heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat about 2 minutes on first side until the pancakes have bubbled surfaces and edges are slightly dry (check the bottom to make sure they are golden brown). Flip the pancake over to the other side and cook until brown. Serve warm with fresh or poached pear if desired.
For the Poached Pears:
- 4 pears, peeled, cut in half, core and seeds removed
- 3-4 cups water (or enough to cover the pears)
- ¼ cup sugar (you can add a bit more if you like it sweeter)
- ¼ cup honey
- A generous squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 vanilla pod split lengthwise (optional)
Cover the peeled pears with water with a squeeze of lemon to prevent browning.
In a small pot, bring water, sugar, honey, vanilla, and a squeeze of lemon to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has been dissolved.
Remove the pears from the water, and add to the simmering sugar syrup. Cover and let simmer gently for 20 to 30 minutes to an hour, until the pears can easily be pierced with a fork. Let cool slightly and serve with your pancakes.