Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gourmet Pancake Toppings

Cara Valla, sous chef at San Francisco's The Fifth Floor, has some amazing ideas for what y'all should be putting on your pancakes:

In my mind there is no meal more luxurious than brunch. Food prep is a snap so you can still sleep in,  the menu can be almost anything from sweet to savory, light to heavy, and best of all it is a socially acceptable excuse to drink before noon.  Chill a bottle of champagne, make sure there is OJ in the fridge and call a few friends cause brunch is about to happen!!

Butter and maple syrup, maybe a little powdered sugar - who doesn't love that? But if you'd really like to impress your guests, try one of these gourmet toppings - or all three.


2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Nonstick cooking spray or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1) Whisk together the eggs and buttermilk in a medium sized bowl.
2) Stir in the melted butter.
3) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. 
4) Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until just combined — don't worry if there are a few lumps.
5) Lightly grease a large sauté pan or griddle with the nonstick spray or butter
6) When the pan is hot enough that a drop of water will bead and pop, spoon out 3 Tablespoons of batter per pancake. Cook the pancakes until the tops look dull and a few of the bubbles pop, about 3 minutes. Turn the pancakes over and cook for another minute.

Hold pancakes in a heated 200F oven until ready to serve.

Chocolate, peanut butter, and bacon topping:
1) Cook your favorite bacon until nice and crispy, then drain and let cool on paper towels (Reserve fat because next time you make these pancakes you can substitute bacon fat for the melted butter!).
2) Spread a thin layer of peanut butter on each pancake, or sprinkle chopped, salted peanuts.
3) Drizzle pancakes with dark chocolate syrup.
3) Cut bacon into small pieces and sprinkle over pancakes before serving.

Banana flambe topping:
The flambe won't take long at all to cook, so make your pancakes first and keep them warm in a 200F oven while you cook up the bananas.
2 bananas, sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp banana liqueur (or Cointreau if you prefer)
1/4 cup rum

1. Slice bananas and brush with lemon juice.
2. Heat butter and brown sugar in pan and add bananas.
3. Sprinkle with cinnamon and cook until bananas just start to get tender.
4. Remove from heat and add alcohol.
5. Tilt pan just slightly over flame to ignite alcohol (it will flame up so please BE CAREFUL).
6. Cook until flames die out (meaning all the alcohol has cooked out).
7. Serve on top of pancakes to your adoring guests.

Dark chocolate, orange, and candied ginger topping: 
These are my three favorite things in the world to put on just about any sweet breakfast item or dessert: shaved dark chocolate, orange zest, and chopped candied ginger. If you are having a lot of people over and want to have options, just make a generic pancake batter and then invite your guests to add these toppings to taste.  Loving the idea of a topping buffet? Here are some other flavors you could add:
shaved white chocolate
fresh raspberries
lemon zest
toasted almonds
ricotta cheese
real maple syrup
flavored butter*

*Making your own flavored butter is simple! Just let your butter sit out until it gets to room temperature, and then fold in some added flavor (you can use a rubber spatula for a small amount or a Kitchenaide mixer with a paddle attachment if you're working in quantity). Try adding salt, swirling in honey, or mixing in your favorite seasoning (cinnamon, powdered ginger, nutmeg, etc.).


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