Recently Sundays seem to have become Pancake Day in our house. Weekday mornings are always a mad rush, and Saturday mornings the kids have their respective sporting activities, so don’t want to be weighed down by a heavy breakfast. I used to do an Arabic breakfast on Sundays but with all the wonderful fresh berries around lately, pancakes seem better suited.
I never used to like American-style pancakes. And I still don’t like them plain. The place that turned me around was Beebo’s in New Orleans. Beebo’s was this charming little hole-in-the-wall café on the corner of Freret and Lowerline, across the street from the student digs I shared with my posse of Central American ‘bodyguards’ (as they liked to call themselves). They were actually a bunch of pussycats and really great guys.
Weekends always included a breakfast at Beebo’s, and Beebo was famous for his banana pancakes. You could smell the banana and vanilla wafting out the door and down the street, and we’d sleepily follow our noses to a table on the terrace. There we’d sit under the banana palms, with a cup of chicory coffee, waiting for our fill of Beebo’s magic. I learned some time ago that Beebo’s is no longer there. Whether a victim of Katrina or the economy I don’t know, but it was a sad thing to hear. If anyone out there happens to have a photo of Beebo’s, or know if they re-opened elsewhere, please drop me a comment!
So, most of the time when I make American pancakes I make them chock full of bananas and with a splash of vanilla, like Beebo did. But sometimes, like when I’ve got fresh raspberries galore, I mix things up a bit. The raspberries pop a little in cooking and release their juices, which makes the pancakes soft and gushy and totally divine.
These are a snap to make and also happen to be relatively low-fat (especially if you don’t slather them with butter afterwards). All the fruit in there makes them juicy enough – you barely need a drizzle of syrup on top! Also, the recipe can easily be used for English-style pancakes, or crêpes, if you prefer. Simply increase the amount of milk until you have a smooth, runny batter. In that case, instead of putting the fruit in the batter, you just roll it into the cooked pancake.
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsps baking powder (omit this is using self-raising flour)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- At least 2 cups of raspberries (or other fruit) – 1 for the batter and 1 for topping
- Mix all the ingredients except the fruit together in a mixing bowl
- Add 1 cup of raspberries and stir them in gently
- Heat a lightly greased griddle or frying pan to medium-hot
- Use a ladle or large spoon to make 4 small pancakes (each will need about ½ cup of batter) at a time. Try to make sure each one has an even proportion of fruit.
- Cook until you start to get large bubbles coming to the surface.
- Test the bottom for colour – if they are golden brown, then carefully flip them over.
- When both sides are nicely done, remove them to a serving plate.
- Stack 2 pancakes on each plate, top with the extra fruit and drizzle lightly with syrup.