Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fluffy Buckwheat Pancakes

Oh buckwheat, how I adore thee… let me count the ways.

1 Buckwheat crepes (also called gallettes) with spinach, mushroom and cheese
2 Toasted and cooked whole with caramelized onions and potatoes
3 Mixed with garbanzo flour and quinoa flour in baked goods – buckwheat is gluten-free too!
4 Raw buckwheat soaked and sprouted, then dehydrated into the cutely named ‘buckwheaties’

What, only 4 ways? Well now there’s 5. Buckwheat pancakes I love best. I love them not just because they are so sweet and toasty and fabulous, but because they were the first thing that Mark asked me to make this past Sunday morning. Actually, I think they were the first words he spoke at all to me. Eyes open. Yawn. A kiss. “Will you make buckwheat pancakes?” I smiled, because unimaginably, this was the exact thought that ran through my mind right before he asked that question. We do that a lot.

I’m used to making pancakes. I’m the pancake improv queen. I can scat and doowop those cakes with the best of ‘em. I never use a recipe. I see what I’ve got and throw it in the bowl. Sometimes it works out… and well… sometimes it doesn’t. After Mark and I moved in together, I started making pancakes right and left. I now had someone to cook for (a.k.a a victim ripe for my experimentation.) He’s been through dense vegan whole wheat cakes, fluffy white and wheat cakes, pancakes with blueberries not-quite-cooked-through, buckwheat cakes flatter than, um, a pancake. Needless to say he’s been through many pancakes, but you won’t hear any complaints from him. Good or bad, they’ve all been covered in real maple syrup and slathered in butter, which perfects any imperfection.

A few weeks ago I decided to become a bit more systematic in my experimentation. In other words, I needed to find what was working and write it down. Over time I sensed that the lightest and most blissful pancakes came when I used yogurt and baking soda. It’s no wonder as the yogurt’s protein gives the cake structure, and it’s acidity activates the baking soda so effectively to give a good rise. I remember my mother using yogurt in her pancake batter when I was growing up. It must be key.

With forced fastidiousness, I plopped down a pencil and paper next to my morning batter-making and came up with this. After all the batches of pancakes Mark has ‘endured’ he’s always said “yum” or “good job” or “you’re the best, Pancake Girl” but this time, he had no words. He only gave a guttural “Ughhhhaaaaaahhhhh” and followed it with an “MMmmmmm.” I’ve never seen him in more pleasure over a pancake (and he’s a french toast guy.) It’s the ultimate. We both agreed. You’ll never want for another pancake recipe again. Heck, you may never make another pancake again that’s not buckwheat.

So this is number 5, but I think you’ll agree it’s number 1.

Fluffy Buckwheat Pancakes

The first time I made these I used nonfat yogurt and came out with a dry product. Don't use it! Stick with a lowfat yogurt, a brand I like is Nancy's Organic. You could substitute the white spelt flour with a white wheat flour and you'd probably be safe. Try topping them with berries, bananas or even some maple sweetened yogurt for a power breakfast.

1 cup lowfat yogurt
1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice or sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons water
1 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup white spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons butter

Mix together the first 8 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine well and then add the flours and baking soda. Beat well to smooth the lumps. Heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat and add the butter to the pan. Pour batter out 1/4 cup at a time for medium-sized cakes. Top with real maple syrup and moan. I know, they're obscene, aren't they?

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