Sunday mornings are what I look forward to all week long. Sleeping in, being lazy, readingThe New York Times, and best of all: making a real breakfast. I’m a breakfast fanatic. Unfortunately, running back and forth between work and school makes it nearly impossible to enjoy anything more exciting than instant oatmeal on a weekday.
My go-to, proper breakfast tends to be a fried egg over cheese grits, but when I’m feeling indulgent, I make pancakes. Pancakes are wonderful; they require a few ingredients, cook quickly, and can be topped with a variety of sweet and savory combinations.
This past Sunday I was feeling creative and instead of the traditional batter, added some extra flavor and spice by incorporating cinnamon, maple syrup, and brown sugar. I had a few apples lying around that had seen better days. I chopped them up, sauteed them with butter, dried cranberries, and maple syrup. A little kitchen creativity resulted in a tasty warm apple compote to make my pancakes even more indulgent.
This batter can be made ahead and used up to two days later if stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator. The compote will last even longer. You could also top the pancakes with some of my Cranberry-Pear Chutney.
For the pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 stick unsalted butter
For the compote
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 apples, peeled and diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Photo: Tara O’Keeffe
For the Pancakes:
1. Sift together the dry ingredients.
2. In a large bowl, beat the milk and eggs together. Stir in the maple syrup and and mix until combined.
3. Slowly add the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly combined.
4. Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and melt until it begins to bubble. Pour on a small amount of batter and make a sample pancake to test the heat of your pan and the consistency of your pancakes. If they burn quickly, turn down the heat. If they don't hold together well, add a bit more flour.
5. When you're ready, get the pan hot, add the butter, and pour in enough batter to make two 4-inch pancakes. When the top side of the pancakes begin to bubble, flip over carefully with a spatula and cook until the bottom side is golden brown. Be sure to add more butter for each batch.
6. Place cooked pancakes on a plate and keep warm in a low temperature oven until ready to eat.
Note: Your pan will be significantly hotter after you make your first batch, so be sure to control the heat and lower the temperature if necessary for future batches.
For the compote:
1. Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the apples, and cook until golden on all sides.
2. Add the next 5 ingredients and cook at a gentle simmer until the apples are tender and the liquid has reduced to a syrup-like consistency.