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Ideas for your weekend brunch
A twist on a classic
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Looking out of my window, all I can see are grey skies and rain slowly bouncing off the roof of the house next door; it’s miserable, it’s cold and I am over it. It’s the sort of weather that demands a little hibernation, cosying up inside, cooking something delicious, and enjoying a weekend movie marathon. And what better way to kick off a cosy weekend than a batch of fluffy pancakes with copious amounts of maple syrup? But, could we also make the whole thing a little less traditional?
The classic pairing of pancakes with maple syrup, and a little butter of course, doesn’t really need playing around with, it's close to perfect. But I can't resist, I can't look at a classic dish and not feel the urge to play around, to give it a little twist. For this recipe, the pancakes themselves are kept classic, incredibly light and fluffy. The maple syrup, however, we’re going to have a little play around with, we're going to infuse it with coffee. You're probably going to serve the pancakes with a big mug of coffee anyway so why not caffeinated the maple and give the dish an extra punch of flavour? To infuse the maple with coffee, you first need to start with a good quality syrup; personally, I use dark maple syrup which is classified as having a ‘robust’ flavour, one that can stand up to another strong flavour like coffee. If you want the coffee to dominate you could use a lighter maple syrup, but I love the two flavours playing together in tandem.
If you don’t know, maple syrup is categorised via its colouring and its resulting flavour. The lightest is golden which means it has a delicate flavour, this is the syrup collected at the start of the harvesting season. It then goes up through amber, having a rich taste, dark, having a robust taste, and very dark, having a strong taste; this is the syrup collected at the very end of the season.
For the pancakes themselves, I am going with thick fluffy pancakes, the perfect vehicle for soaking up the infused syrup. These are made very simply by mixing together the dry ingredients and wet ingredients, holding back the egg whites so they can be whisked up and folded through the batter, creating an incredibly light and fluffy pancake batter. To make the pancakes I like to use my Wilfa Smooth Mix Hand Mixer, simply because when I am in the kitchen first thing in the morning, before that first coffee of the morning has hit, the last thing I want to do is whisk egg whites by hand. The Wilfa hand mixer does this job in seconds and it helps ensure the whites are properly whisked, ensuring the lightest possible pancakes.
Light And Fluffy Pancakes with Coffee Maple Syrup
Coffee Maple Syrup
150ml dark maple syrup
20g very coarsely ground coffee
250g plain flour
4 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
350ml whole milk
45ml unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, separated
Pinch of cream of tartar
To make the infused maple syrup add the maple syrup and coffee into a small saucepan and place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Once the syrup has come to a simmer immediately turn off the heat; if the maple is cooked for too long it will start to reduce and become thick and grainy. Pour the syrup through a fine mesh sieve to remove the ground coffee. Using a spoon press on the back of the coffee, to extract as much of the syrup as possible. Pour into a jug and set aside while you make the pancakes.
For the pancakes batter add the flour, 3 tbsp of the sugar, the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large bowl and whisk together to combine. Make a well in the middle of the dry goods and pour in the milk, butter and egg yolks. Whisk together, just enough to bring everything into a smooth batter. Don’t worry if there are a few lumps; it is better to under-mix a pancake batter than over-mix, less mixing means a lighter pancake. Add the egg whites and the cream of tartar to a large bowl and, using your Wilfa Smooth Mix Handmixer, whisk together until the mixture becomes bubbly, looking a little like a bubble bath, then slowly rain in the remaining sugar, whisking as you do so, and whisk until the egg whites hold soft peaks. You don’t want to whisk to stiff peaks, because it makes the whites harder to fold into the batter and you’re more likely to lose more of the air you’ve just whisked into the whites. Working in thirds fold the egg whites into the pancake batter until no streaks of egg white remain.
Add a small amount of butter to a non-stick frying pan set over low-medium heat. If you have a large griddle pan this is the ideal time to use it, if not using two frying pans at once will help you cook this large amount of batter quicker. Ladle in some of the batter and cook until the edges of the pancake look set and the bubbles appearing on the surface of the pancake no longer fill in when they pop. Flip the pancake and cook a little longer until both sides are equally browned.
Serve a stack of the pancakes with a pat of butter and a very generous glug of the maple syrup. Adding some crisp streaky bacon is also a very good idea.