Yesterday morning was particularly unappealing in our corner of the world – windy, rainy and rather gloomy. This, of course, was the perfect opportunity for an indulgent breakfast treat: buckwheat and cottage cheese pancakes! Mummy loves pancakes and they tend to be her usual choice when having breakfast out. This has often proved to be a less than memorable experience though, as she has often been served pancakes that were cold, tough and chewy. Worse still, on one particularly unpleasant occasion, they tasted as though the ratio of flour to baking soda had been reversed.
All the more reason to get it right for the first batch at Bistro Gerard, Chef Gerald thought, so he and his Mummy proceeded to do some research into the science behind delicious pancakes. One of the most interesting snippets we’ve found out is the fact that when mixing together the wet and dry ingredients you’re only supposed to make sure they’re just combined. Lumpy bits are natural at this stage of the pancake batter and some (not all) of them will even miraculously disappear if you leave it to rest for about 10 – 15 minutes or so… We have also found out that taking the time to whisk the egg whites separately and incorporate them into the batter at the end really does make a difference to the final outcome: the pancakes were beautifully light and fluffy.
In terms of ingredients this time around, we wanted to experiment with the same brand of organic cottage cheese we used for the Pumpkin, Passionfruit and Ricotta Cake recipe, and we decided buckwheat flour would be a must for making these an even healthier and more delicious treat. These would, of course, pair up perfectly with some fresh berries, however these aren’t in season here at the moment, so we settled for some stewed apples and berries instead.
For the fruit mixture, you will need:
4 granny smith apples, cored and cut into 1 cm dice
8 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
300g frozen or fresh mixed berries of your choice
Heat a small sauce pan over medium heat, add the diced apples, cover with a lid, and reduce heat to low. Cook four about 3 – 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to release their juices. Add the berries and chopped dates, and bring to the boil. If using frozen berries, stir frequently to ensure they cook evenly and also because the dates may make the mixture rather sticky. The total cooking time here really depends on your preference – ideally you wouldn’t want the fruit to break down completely, and there will be some excess liquid in the pan, however this will be delicious when seeping into the fluffy mound of pancakes. Serves 4.
These pancakes were inspired by this recipe, however we our recipe is quite different and therefore listed below.
For the pancake batter, we used:
3 eggs, separated
150 g (good quality, preferably organic) cottage cheese or ricotta
Approximately 300ml milk (you may need some extra if the batter is too thick)
250 g yoghurt
125 g white flour
125 g buckwheat flour
2 tbsp organic raw sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla essence
Grated zest of one lemon
Oil or butter, for frying
Sift the flours, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the cheese, egg yolks, sugar, grated lemon zest and vanilla until well combined.
Mix the yoghurt and milk in a jug and pour over the cheese/egg mixture. Mix again thoroughly.
Fold in the flour mixture and mix until just combine. Lumpy bits are normal – resist the temptation to overmix J
Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the eggwhites and whisk until soft peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the pancake mixture. This will still be quite dense, so you may need to add a little extra milk until it reaches your desired consistency. Once this has been achieved, leave the batter to rest for about 10 – 15 minutes.
Heat a frying pan over high heat – it will be hot enough when a few drops of water thrown in will move around on the surface for a few moments before evaporating. Add a little oil or butter, ensuring that the whole surface of the pan is covered, then reduce the heat to low and ladle approximately ¼ cup of pancake batter. When bubbles start appearing on the surface, it is time to flip or turn the pancake over and cook for another 40 seconds – 1 minute on the other side. Repeat the process until you have used up the batter. Frying times will vary slightly depending on your cooktop and frying pan, so it’s best to keep a close watch on them. Makes approximately 12 large or 16 medium size pancakes. Arrange a stack of pancakes on each plate, spoon some fruit mixture on top, drizzle with some maple syrup and serve.