Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pineapple: Sinful Pancakes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         Every March 1 the International House of Pancakes hosts National Pancake Day when they give away free pancakes. I’ve never been, but it’s a nice idea. National Pancake Day coincides, roughly, with Shrove Tuesday, a day of indulgence prior to atoning for one’s sins, by fasting, during Lent. Or so I’ve heard, being pretty much of a heathen myself. Fasting is not part of my moral outlook.

Nevertheless, I do like the idea of indulging in pancakes, so on March 1 I joined the party by making pancakes at home. Yes, it’s taken me that long to get around to writing this. It’s not that I’m not thinking about it, or not cooking and taking photos; it’s the sitting down to put it together that takes so much time. Thankfully, photos will wait.

I love pancakes, as other pancake posts on this site attest. I just counted them, and there are four: here, here, here, and here. (And that doesn’t even include the posts on thick and thin johnnycakes.) Since I try not to repeat myself too much (this gets harder as we get older, as we all know), that tally of posts is an indication of just how much I do love the fried little disks. I’d eat them every day, occasionally interspersed with French Toast (I really should do an entry on that) if I could. Or rather, if I didn’t think it would be better for me if I didn’t. Because of course, one could, and has. When I make pancakes, I eat them for days in a row, in part because the batter improves as it ages in the refrigerator. I confess I have gone through some periods where I ate pancakes every day for months. But yes, I did gain weight. Time to stop.

The run-up to National Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday also happened to coincide with a discussion I was following on the wonderful food forum, e-gullet, in which was described something I had never heard of before: a casserole made of pineapple and cheddar cheese. This sounded disgusting to me at first, and chemically suspect, from a food science standpoint. But I became persuaded from various comments that this was a combination worth trying. I also happen to be in the South at the moment, and since this casserole seemed clearly to be one of those Southern aberrations and I am very much a when-in-Rome sort of person, the deal was sealed. I bought the ingredients.

But then National Pancake Day came along to distract me, and the casserole idea went out the window, at least until the next time I make a ham (the dish to which the pineapple-cheddar casserole is purported to be a traditional accompaniment). Why not pineapple-cheddar pancakes instead? Indeed.

Pineapple-Cheddar PancakesOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

These are a bit like my favorites made with farmer’s cheese. Like them, they contain very little flour, need to be cooked slowly and thoroughly, and are very moist inside. This  particular batter will not keep; it would ferment. Serves 3-4.

1 cup fresh cored pineapple, cubed
½ cup 2% cottage cheese
1 large egg
1 T firmly packed light brown sugar
½ cup packed shredded very sharp cheddar, such as store cheese
½ c a-p flour, approx.
1 tea baking powderPinapple pancakes cooking
¼ tea baking soda
¼ tea salt

Pulse the pineapple in the food processor with the cottage cheese until smooth (there will be some pineapple shreds remaining). Stir in the remaining ingredients in the order given, adding enough flour to make a soupy, thickish, but not stiff, batter.

Heat a griddle to medium (about 350F if you are using electric); you may need to lower it a little as you cook. Butter the griddle and drop or pour the batter into small rounds,  about 3-4” in diameter. Cook for 1-2 minutes, checking by sliding your spatula underneath; if too dark, lower the heat. Do not try to turn until the spatula slides easily across the bottom. Turn, and cook until the second side is brown and completely cooked. Serve with maple syrup.

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