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Weekly Alibi Morning-After Food

The Art and Science of Great Pancakes

By David Jacobs

OCTOBER 18, 1999:  You are now the kitchen magician. Last night you decided that vegetarian lasagna was off the menu, and bravely treading on new culinary ground, you whipped together some of that Seafood Paella Salad I told you about a few issues back. Then you ran out to your favorite locally owned music store, purchased that Chet Baker CD and bought a great bottle of wine. Now it's the morning after. How are you going to continue to impress that someone special? Here's a little breakfast that might do the trick. First, you need to know the five steps of great pancake making:

1. Never, never, never over-mix your wet and dry ingredients. Leaving the batter a little lumpy is a good thing.

2. Make sure your pan is at the correct temperature. Put a few droplets of cold water onto your griddle. If the droplets bounce and sputter, you're ready for action. If the droplets vanish quickly, the pan is too hot, so turn the burner down. If the droplets sit there and boil -- well, you can figure that one out.

3. To obtain beautiful, perfectly circular pancakes, do not drop the batter from on high. Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of your batter from the tip of your spoon, holding it very close to the surface of the griddle. This will allow the batter to spread out evenly. (Note: Step No. 3 is for all you engineers who want perfect circles, or for those of you who like to eat pretty, round things.)

4. Turn your pancake only once. When do you turn it over? Wait for the bubbles to stop forming at top of the pancake, which will take about 2 or 3 minutes. Then turn it over and let it cook for about half as long.

5. Cook one pancake first to test the thickness of your batter. If necessary, thin pancake batter with a little water, or thicken it with flour.

The Dancing Chef's Legendary Blueberry-Peach Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cups flour, sifted prior to measuring
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons double acting baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Zest of one lime, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries
  • 1/2 cup peaches, medium diced
Makes about 12

Sift flour prior to measuring, then resift with baking powder, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, combine milk, sour cream and vegetable oil. Mix liquid ingredients quickly into the dry ingredients, making sure not to over mix! Give it a few quick strokes and that should do the trick. The batter will probably be very thick, so read Step No. 5! Allow your batter to rest, covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 6 hours. If you don't have time, then just let the batter rest while you cook your bacon. Now carefully fold in zest of lime, blueberries and peaches. By the way, any berry and soft fruit combination will do. Employ your imagination when combining flavors!

Serve with syrup and bacon. Did you remember to make the coffee first? Bon appetit!

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