Thursday, August 12, 2010
Posted by Kate at 8:47 AM
These days, many of our meals seem to have stories behind them.
We've had red raspberry canes producing for the last two years. Problem is, the berries have no sweetness to them at all. My husband found them utterly insipid, while I thought they had flavor, just no sugars. We were going to give them this one more year to see if their first year's production, last year, was just off because they were young or because 2009 was such an atrocious gardening year. If things didn't improve, they were for the chop, to be replaced by something that earned its space in the sun on our modest lot. Nothing much changed this year, except for them producing more heavily.
It about killed me that we had raspberries going to waste. I didn't particularly enjoy eating them, it's true. And we didn't really have enough at any one time to merit breaking out the canning equipment. Finally I decided to harvest them and just turn them into a simple raspberry sauce. The sample I put in my husband's mouth floored him. He couldn't believe it was from our red raspberries. The black raspberries that came ripe back in June have won his heart, but the red raspberries have disappointed him mightily. Heck, honey, all you gotta do is add sugar. Given the unbelievable deliciousness of the raspberry sauce, it seemed like the obvious thing to do was to reproduce the raspberry-oatmeal pancakes from a favorite little breakfast place I used to frequent back when I used to frequent breakfast places. My husband says that I have an infallible memory for food, such that I can remember meals in detail years, even decades later. In fact, I can sometimes even recall what he ate, when it differs from what I ate. Let's just say that favored breakfasts indulged in repeatedly don't lose their spot in my memory banks.
My version of oatmeal pancakes called for buttermilk, prepared oatmeal, and some oat flour to mix with all purpose. Let me tell you - these require neither butter nor maple syrup at the table; they're that good. I don't have a little ketchup bottle to drizzle out the sauce all pretty-like. But a rustically ugly-charming splooge of spooned-out raspberry sauce over dusted powdered sugar has its own style. I wouldn't really call this a harvest meal, since only the raspberries and the eggs are from our own production. I'll just call it awesome instead. My recommendation is to make up both the sauce and the pancake batter the night before you want pancakes. It's a decadent thing to wake up in the morning and have these waiting for you in the fridge.
For the raspberry sauce:
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
3/4 cup sugar (or less, to your taste)
For the pancakes:
1 cup rolled oats, ground into 3/4 cup oat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for the pan)
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup cooked oatmeal, cooled
2 large eggs
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Make the sauce: Rinse the raspberries and drain them, allowing a little water to cling to them. Place them in a small saucepan and add the sugar to them. Place the pan over medium-low heat. Mash the berries and sugar together with a potato masher or a fork, just until the sugar is blended with the mashed fruit. Heat gently for about ten minutes, until no granules of sugar are visible when you look at a thin layer of sauce on a spoon. Cool the sauce. It will thicken slightly. It can keep for 1 week in the refrigerator.
Prep the pancakes: Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk the butter, buttermilk, cooked oatmeal and eggs together until thoroughly combined. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Do not overmix. Allow some lumps of medium size to remain. Let the batter rest for at least 15 minutes. For best results, cover the batter and chill it overnight. Thin it with additional buttermilk or milk, one tablespoon at a time, if it has thickened up too much while resting.
Heat a cast-iron skillet or heavy pan over medium heat for a few minutes, then turn down to medium-low. Brush the pan generously with melted butter using a pastry brush or paper towel. Quickly pour in about 1/3 cup of batter, to make a pancake about 5" in diameter. (If the batter does not spread well, thin with additional buttermilk.) Cook 2 or 3 such pancakes at a time. Once bubbles begin to form all over the top of the pancake, flip the pancake and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Re-apply the butter to the pan before cooking the next batch. Continue cooking until all the batter is used. Makes about 12 medium pancakes
Pancakes can be kept warm in a very low oven (175 F/80 C) if you wish to serve everyone at the same time. Arrange each serving on a plate, dust it with powdered sugar, and drizzle the raspberry sauce over the pancakes. Serve warm. Eat. Die happy.