Thursday, April 17, 2014

Raspberry Pancakes with Almond Powder and Ricotta Stuffed Raspberry

I know, I know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  But during the week I do not drag my body out of bed early enough to make breakfast.  On work days I'm more of a brush teeth, brush hair, run out the door kind of gal.  

It's different on the weekends though.  For weekend breakfasts I love playing around making a variation of pancakes, eggs, french toast or oatmeal.

For now let's talk pancakes.

What's the best fruit in a pancake?  Blueberry?  Raspberry?  Banana?  Something else?  This recipe combines raspberries, almonds and dark grade B maple syrup to keep things simple, but jazz up the flavors of a basic pancake breakfast.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I like that buttery taste of fake maple syrup.  My dad and brother have always loved the real stuff and weren't quiet about pointing out my inadequate preference.  The ingredients in my fake syrup are water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar syrup, cellulose gum, salt, artificial flavors, caramel color and various chemical preservatives.

The real stuff found in most grocery stores is grade A syrup.  It takes 40 gallons of sap to make a single gallon of maple syrup, so there's a pretty significant increase from the cost of the fake stuff.  There are three subgrades of grade A syrup based on translucence: light amber, medium amber and dark amber.  

But recently I discovered grade B maple syrup and I have been converted.  Grade B is darker and thicker than it's A grade counterparts.  It's referred to as a cooking syrup as it's commonly used to add greater depth of flavor to baked goods.  I prefer its deep caramel and maple flavors poured right on my breakfast or even directly in my mouth.  It's so good!  I did find Grade B syrup harder to locate.  It wasn't available at Wegmans, Trader Joes or Premier Gourmet, but I did find it online with no problem.  I was told that B is harvested later in the maple season, which runs February to April, so it may have seasonal availability locally.

The ingredient list in grades A and B syrup is simple.  One ingredient: pure maple syrup.

The almond powder is made by processing whole almonds in the food processor.  If the almonds continue to be processed after the powder stage, they will eventually turn to paste resulting in almond butter, something I haven't tried yet.

I keep a stash of almond powder, stored in tupperware, in the cabinet to use on the fly.

Almond Powder
1 cup
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a food processor.  Process to the consistency of a granular powder.

These stuffed raspberries would be even prettier with a little mint leaf on the plate.

After the berries were stuffed, I had some extra ricotta mix which I spread as filling between two pieces of french toast.

Ricotta Stuffed Raspberries

1/2 cup
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 lemon zested
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients.  Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag or plastic baggie with a small hole cut into the corner.  Pipe the ricotta into the center of each raspberry.

I garnished each plate of pancakes with extra almond powder, a ricotta stuffed raspberry, a slice of banana and a syrup filled pipette.

Raspberry Pancakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 1/4 cup almond powder (recipe above)
  • 1 cup raspberries - halved
Whisk the eggs and milk together.  Add the Bisquick and almond powder, stir to combine.  Pour each pancake onto a hot, buttered griddle.  Once bubbles can be seen rising in the batter, press several raspberry halves into each pancake.  Flip the pancake to finish cooking through.

(I like to drop a spot of batter on top of each raspberry before I flip the pancake over.  The raspberry will burn easily and the extra batter gives the fruit some protection from the heat of the pan. It also makes that second side of the pancake look a little nicer.)

Keep finished pancakes warm in a low heat oven while the remaining batter is cooked.

This dish was served at the Pasta, Passion and Pistols party
 with a soft-boiled scotch quail egg.


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