Eric Akis: Pandemic pancakes for two

Eric Akis

In past years, when pancakes were on the menu at my house, I’d often served them to a table full of family and/or visiting friends. I’d get out my large electric griddle, cook a large batch of them, and everyone got to start their day with a hot and appealing breakfast.

When the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, that, of course, changed. I was no longer having a crowd of folks over for pancakes, but that didn’t stop my wife and I from craving them once in a while. And the first time we did, I decided I would downsize my preferred recipe for them, creating one that yielded two — three pancakes each — servings.

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The last time I did that I decided to switch things up and flavour my pancakes with orange and coconut. I also added some yogurt to the batter, which made the pancakes quite tender and appealing when cooked.

Once plated, I usually top pancakes with butter and maple syrup, and you can certainly do that here. But this time I decided to be a bit more adventurous and top them with spiced rhubarb compote. B.C.-grown rhubarb is now in season, rhubarb works well with orange and coconut, and it turned out to be a tasty thing to do.

Orange Coconut Pancakes with Spiced Rhubarb Compote

These tender, orange -and coconut-flavoured pancakes are topped with sweet and tangy rhubarb compote. The generous amount of baking powder used in the batter makes the pancakes quite light and appealing.

Preparation: 10 minutes

Cooking time: four to five minutes

Makes: 6 (4- to 5-inch) pancakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 Tbsp medium, unsweetened coconut flakes

• pinch salt

1/4 cup +1 Tbsp milk

1/4 cup thick Greek-style yogurt

1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

• soft butter or vegetable oil spray

• Spiced Rhubarb Compote (see recipe below and Eric’s options)

Place flour, sugar, baking powder, coconut and salt in a bowl and whisk well to combine. Place milk, yogurt, zest, juice, vanilla and egg in a second bowl and beat to combine.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Let batter rest five minutes.

Preheat a non-stick, electric griddle to 350 F, or set a large non-stick skillet or cast iron griddle over medium heat (see Eric’s options). When hot, lightly butter or oil spray the cooking surface. Pour on 1/4 to 1/3 cup amounts of the batter, creating six, about four- to five-inch round pancakes, leaving a two-inch space between each one.

Flip the pancakes when small bubbles appear on the surface of them. Cook for two minutes more, or until the centre of the pancake springs back when gently touched.

Plate the pancakes and top, to taste, with spiced rhubarb compote (see Eric’s options).

Eric’s options: If you don’t care for rhubarb, or don’t have time to make compote, no worries, simply serve the pancakes with maple syrup and butter. If you don’t have a griddle or skillet large enough to cook six pancakes at once, cook the pancakes in batches in a smaller skillet. Keep the cooked ones warm in 200 F oven until all are ready. If desired, beyond the compote, you could also top the pancakes with a dollop of yogurt or whipped cream.

Spiced Rhubarb Compote

In-season B.C. rhubarb, cubed, simmered, spiced and cooled; yielding a sweet and tangy compote you can spoon on pancakes.

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About seven minutes

Makes: About 1 1/2 cups

1/4 cup orange juice

2 Tbsp water

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground ginger

• tiny pinch ground cloves

1/8 tsp salt

2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut 1/2-inch cubes (see Note)

• maple syrup or warm honey, to taste (optional)

Place all ingredients, except rhubarb, in a small pot and whisk until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook one minute. (The mixture will be thick, but will loosen once the rhubarb is added.)

Mix in the rhubarb and return to a simmer. Very gently simmer the rhubarb, lowering the heat if needed, until tender, but still holding its shape, about five minutes. (Do not overcook the rhubarb or it will fall apart and look unappealing.)

Remove from the heat and cool compote to room temperature. Taste the compote and if you find it too tangy, sweeten it a bit more, if desired, by mixing in a little maple syrup or honey.

Transfer compote to a tight-sealing jar and refrigerate until needed. Compote will keep about a week. Beyond pancakes, the compote could also spooned over such things as yogurt, granola and ice cream.

Note: Four medium stalks of rhubarb should yield the cubed amount needed here.

eakis@timescolonist.com

Eric Akis is the author of eight cookbooks. His columns appear in the Life section Wednesday and Sunday.

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