Photo by Judith Hausman
Well, I think my appetite is fully winterized. I’m craving all those cozy comfort foods that make the kitchen smell good and can be eaten while sitting by the wood stove. I’ve already made lentil soup, grilled-cheeses sandwiches and hot cereal; I’m planning for venison stew, pot pies and shortbread cookies, too.
Because it gets dark so very early now, I want to stretch the morning meal a little, at least on weekends, by making some homey cornmeal-apple pancakes. The crunch and sunny color of cornmeal partner so well with apples (and ginger or cinnamon), which I slice thinly and place on each pancake before I flip it. I also depend on a terrific no-stick griddle I’ve had for years to pretty much eliminate additional oil for cooking, but a hot pan and a thin film of oil should work well, too. The trick is not to turn the pancakes too early; watch for bubbles across the whole surface before you do.
Serve with applesauce, apple butter, and real (only ever real, please) maple or sorghum syrup. Any extras can be kept in the fridge and re-heated in a toaster oven the next day.
This batter and technique work well with blueberries in season as well, but use nutmeg for the spice instead.
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 2 cups buttermilk OR 1 cup milk and ½ cup plain yogurt, mixed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 cup all-purpose or part whole-wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ginger or cinnamon, optional
- 1 to 2 apples, cored and thinly sliced
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients — except apple slices — well. Ladle about ¼ cup batter per pancake onto a lightly oiled griddle or fry pan. When the surface just begins to bubble, lay two to four thin apple slices on that surface. Cook more until the edges look firm and the surface is evenly bubbled. Flip each pancake carefully and cook another 30 seconds. Makes about 20 pancakes, fewer if they are larger.