Sunday, August 14, 2011

Almond Pancake (Gluten- and Dairy-Free)

Ever since I’ve gone off gluten, dairy, and corn, I’ve been pretty happy with my brown rice, rice cakes, lots of meat and chicken sausages – and of course, plenty of fruits and vegetables. But this morning, maybe because of the dreary weather outside, I had a serious craving for pancakes. Which for me, is pretty rare. A hot pancake, scented with almonds, vanilla, cardamom, and cinnamon. And a topping of warmed strawberries, sliced plums. Yum. And easy for the average Joe. But minus wheat, corn, and dairy for me meant off to the kitchen for some experimenting!

I’ve got a stash of amaranth and almond flours in my fridge. Amaranth is very dry - unlike moist almond flour which is essentially ground almonds - so I knew the two would need to be used together. Plus, the sweetness of the almond flour would be a nice balance to the super-nutty taste of amaranth. At first, I didn’t like the flavor of the batter (it’s not mild like white flour), and realizing I hadn’t put any sugar in it yet, I added some spices, vanilla sugar, and a dash of almond and vanilla extracts. Oh, and the last tablespoon of my flaked coconut that has been sitting in my pantry for a while (I’m not supposed to really have it – but once in a while I’ll indulge. It’s SO good). As I had about a cup of batter – fine for one – I considered making one large pancake, and then a mixture of fruits, syrup, and strawberry spread to go on top. Even if it didn’t turn out as I was hoping it would, it’d taste great. Lucky for me it also ended up being beautiful, too.

For the pancakes:
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
Pinch of salt
Pinch of baking powder
Pinch of baking soda
1 teaspoon (plus more if desired) sugar
Cinnamon, to taste
Cardamom, to taste
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1 egg, whisked well
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
A splash each of almond and vanilla extracts
1/4 cup plus more as needed rice milk

In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork. Add the egg, 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, extracts, and blend. Add the milk a bit at a time, constantly stirring to create a batter that is liquid enough to pour. Set the batter aside.

Heat a sauté pan over high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Once the pan is hot, stir the batter and pour it in, shaking the pan so it distributes evenly. Turn the heat to medium and let it cook until bubbles begin to form around the sides and it lifts away from the pan when shaken, about 5 minutes. Flip and turn to low.

For the fruit topping:
6 strawberries, frozen
1/4 cup water
3 teaspoons strawberry spread
1/4 cup maple syrup
Handful roasted almonds or almond butter
1 plum, sliced

In a small saucepan, combine the berries and water. Bring to a boil, slice the berries in half once defrosted and bring back to a boil. Add the spread and syrup, mix well, bring to a boil, and reduce to low while the pancake cooks.

To serve, place pancake on a plate. Top with almond butter, if using. Add plum slices and almonds, if using. Ladle out strawberries and place on top. Drizzle strawberry syrup on top and enjoy immediately.

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