Saturday, April 13, 2019

Lighten Up with Lemon Pancakes, Honey and Tea

By Cal Orey

Pancakes and I have a history. I’ve wolfed down hotcakes and bacon in the Deep South. A few weeks ago, I dined on fancy hotel room service flapjacks with maple syrup in the Northeast. This week I’m celebrating light and fluffy silver dollars with a light lemon twist at home.

Sure, we’ve all enjoyed ‘em at pancake houses to coffee shops. But I’m talking about good home-style buttermilk pancakes changed up a bit. I learned how to make this traditional treat by living on the South Shore and listening to a neighbor’s advice.
A few years ago, one Tahoe local (a millennial) befriended me. She was a mom, wife, and taught me some ropes of living in the mountains. One day in her kitchen I told to her that I purchased pre-packaged pancakes (like those toaster waffles in the freezer aisle at the store). She laughed. Worse, I added that I also grabbed a budget-friendly store-bought syrup with a household name. She looked at me, shook her head, and then darted, “I love to cook. Why don’t you make your own hotcakes? You’ll taste the difference.” I was quiet, feeling a bit guilty for avoiding pots and pans.
During my anti-cooking phase, I blamed my pancakes in a box on too many deadlines and not enough time. In hindsight my kitchen-friendly friend was right. Homemade pancakes are easy and fun to create. As time passed, I’ve morphed into a pancake bakeress. I’ve put together  varieties, using different flours, sweeteners, fruits and nuts. At last, I’ve created a sweet springtime buttermilk pancake with citrus notes and honey. It’s a perfect back to nature hotcake inspired by living in the sierras.

Lemon Pancakes with
Chamomile Tea 
and Honey

½ cup cake flour, whisk or sifted
½ cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large brown egg, organic
½ cup low-fat buttermilk (premium brand)
½ fresh lemon, juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon European style butter, melted (save more for topping)
Confectioners’ sugar (optional)
Honey (for drizzling)
Lemon slices and mint leaves (for garnish)

In a bowl combine flours, and baking powder. Add egg, buttermilk, juice, vanilla, and butter. Stir well until mixture is smooth. Use a 1/3 to ½ measuring cup for scooping the batter onto a nonstick pan. The art of making the perfect pancake includes: Do not use butter in a pan; warm up the pan slowly to medium heat. Turn over when the pancake bubbles.  Sprinkle pancakes with sugar. Drizzle with organic honey, add a pat of butter. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves. Serves four to six. (Yes, you can double the recipe.)

So yes, it is worth the trouble whipping up light and fluffy pancakes in the comfort of your kitchen. Why? The first bite of home-style pancakes is hot; even better you can taste the layers of real ingredients. The texture? Fluffy like a Tahoe snow flurry in the spring. I will tell you that doing it yourself is the way we do in the mountains. It works.

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