Monday, January 17, 2011

Breakfast in the Tropics

Here in Minnesota, we are firmly entrenched in that bleak time between celebrating the birth of a new year and anticipating spring. The landscape looks like a black and white photo. Not like an Ansel Adams, but with too much white. Way too much white. White up to here. One needs a hardy constitution and a good attitude to get through the winter. Or a vacation somewhere warm.

You may be like me, however, waiting out the season with no room on your to-do list (not to mention means in the bank account) for a tropical excursion. In that case, a rejuvenating boost from some tropical flavors might just have to do. That’s why I made these Coconut Pineapple Pancakes. That, and because I had half a cup of coconut milk left from the can I opened to make this soup, and Harry was out of town, so I could put as much coconut in my breakfast as I wanted without him having to find something else to eat. (For those of you playing along at home, he still hates coconut.)

It was when trying to decide what other liquid to use to make a full batch of pancakes that it occurred to me to use the can of crushed pineapple I had sitting in the back of the cupboard. (It came to me as if in a sweet and balmy tropical dream.) I used an egg as well, but didn’t add any other fat, since the coconut milk has some of its own, and the pineapple was going to make things pretty moist already. I also didn’t add any sugar, allowing the crushed pineapple, which was packed in syrup, to bring its own sweetness. I also stirred in some sweetened shredded coconut, one of my favorite foods in the universe, tropical or otherwise.

This dish was one of those lucky occasions when I actually guessed right on the liquid and dry ingredient proportions and came up with something quite good. This made me really happy, since the measurements were very convenient (1 can crushed pineapple, the remnant of a can of coconut milk when 1 cup was already used). They are more dense and moist than well-made, fluffy buttermilk pancakes, but not heavy, leaden or soggy. I cooked them slightly slower than I usually cook pancakes, sensing that the fruit was making them pretty dense, so they could have time to cook on the inside before getting too dark on the outside.

And the flavor? Well, I wish I could say they were a tropical island on a plate, but I’ve never been to a tropical island, so I can’t be sure. They do taste wonderful, however, especially to a coconut-lover like me. The pineapple and coconut go as well together as I’ve come to expect, and their flavors are prominent in every bite, especially, somehow, if there is plenty of butter accompanying that bite. Did this breakfast whisk me off to an exotic tropical paradise? I’ll have to assume so. It made me almost as happy, anyway.

Coconut Pineapple Pancakes
If the pancakes do not seem to be cooking thoroughly, reduce the heat and cook them more slowly, or place them in a warm oven to cook through completely.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup light coconut milk
1 (8.5 ounce) can crushed pineapple
½ cup shredded coconut (I used sweetened)

1. Preheat an electric griddle or frying pan to 325 F, or preheat a frying pan or griddle on the stove on a little below medium heat. Preheat the oven to about 200 F to keep the pancakes warm before serving.

2. In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together to combine.

3. In another medium-size bowl, combine the egg and coconut milk. Whisk to beat the egg and combine the ingredients well. Stir in the crushed pineapple.

4. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in the shredded coconut.

5. Scoop ¼ to 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and drop onto the preheated pan. Cook until the bottom is browned and bubbles begin to surface on the top of the pancake. Flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until the second side is brown and the edges appear dry. Hold finished pancakes in the oven until ready to serve. Serve with butter and maple syrup

Makes about 8 3”-4” pancakes. Leftovers can be refrigerated and rewarmed, but they will not have quite as nice a texture.

Other recipes like this one: Double Banana Walnut Pancakes, Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, Coconut Cranberry Quick Bread

One year ago: Spaghetti Squash Salad with Greek Flavors

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