Sunday, 13 April 2014

Secret of The Hidden Pancake

Fritelle Dolce con Pistacchie & Limone, a modo Coreano
Pistachio & Lemon Pancakes "Korean-Style"

What better way to start a sunny Sunday than with a stack of yummy, healthy pancakes! Healthy you say?!! Sure, I say! And why ever not? All you need to know, to be able to make them, is a little Korean secret I picked up whilst surfing down the information superhighway of the interweb, all the way to Korea... 

...and though I don't understand a word of Korean, and have no idea what the lovely little old lady on the film I saw was saying, I saw what she was doing- and that was plenty for me! Nice, little fluffy pancakes with hardly a drop of butter or oil... I liked that! In fact, I liked it a lot!

There is little... or no difference at all in the way I made the batter for these little beauties... there is just one little difference in the way they were fried that made it possible to make them fat free... the little difference that made these into "hidden" pancakes... but we will get to that in just one second ;-)

First things first- the ingredients for 10 itty-bitty but oh-so-yummy little pancakes! Believe it or not, all it took was 2 eggs, 1 1/2 cups of flour, 3 cups of plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon of ground pistachios, 1 teaspoon of baking powder and a handful of whole pistachios. Oh... and don't forget that honey... yummy!

Before we get started, lets chop those lovely purple-green pistachios in half and pop them into a dry frying pan to get them slightly toasted- just 2 minutes or so will do- we just want them to become a little drier and crisper, but not to get toasted, as they will otherwise lose their wonderful color.

Whilst that is happening, finely chop 2-3 strips of lemon zest, ready to sprinkle over our pancakes to give them a zingy citrus flavor... That'll wake 'em up!

The prep-work couldn't be any more straightforward... split the eggs and whisk the whites into a nice, thick, fluffy snow and whisk the yolks up with the flour, baking powder and yogurt. Were you expecting anything else? Nah! It's easy-peasy stuff and that's good! Sweeten with a little sugar, Stevia, whatever you prefer, but don't overdo it... after all, there is that yummy honey yet to come when the pancakes are ready...

Preferably using a hand-whisk shaped like an unhappy chick, stir the egg-yolk batter into the egg-whites, little by little and careful not to overdo it and stir the fluffiness out of the whites... You wouldn't like it if you got badly beaten, would you? At this point, add half of the ground pistachio into the batter- but keep the rest for later... because along with the chunky pistachios, the lemon zest and the honey, they are what are going to make your pancakes ultra-awesome!

Check to see if your chick is smiling. If he isn't, but the batter looks nice and smooth, then turn him upside-down like this and pretend he is smiling. Still looks miserable, doesn't he? Oh well- into the sink with him and on with the show for us!

So- the BIG revelation as to why these pancakes are known (by me), as "hidden pancakes... and I hope you are ready for this... is because they are made with the lid on the frying pan. That's right. "Big deal" you may think- but I don't know about you, but it is not something I would normally think of doing. The thing is, that by keeping the heat and humidity in whilst the pancakes cook, you speed up the process and give them a different consistency, making them seem more as if they are baked and not fried... and I like that thought!

So, the method is this... pour just a little neutral cooking oil onto the pan and then wipe it over with a paper towel, just giving it the slightest coating, then get the pan nice and hot before beginning. Spoon in the batter, just 2 tablespoons of batter per pancake and then put on the lid and allow them to cook/steam/fry- you decide what you want to call it, for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, they should be nice and set on the base, so that you can flip them over easily. I used a wooden spatula, but the lady in the video did it using chop-sticks, which looked very cute and cool... but I couldn't quite manage!

In any case, once they are flipped, press them down firmly, return the lid and let them finish for 2 minutes from the other side... and that's it! 

Once the pancakes are done, we can start making them yummy, by adding the remaining ground pistachios and the lemon zest, before we drizzle them lightly with lovely golden honey... hmmmm! Now don't they just look delicious?

Yes, they DO look delicious- but only half as delicious as they will after adding the chunky, crunchy half pistachios, a little more lemon zest and a last extra trickle of honey on top! 

Actually, to be honest, I didn't add all that much honey at all- maybe 2 teaspoons in all- and for my taste, that was all that was necessary. As with all things, even if these do look decadent, it is all a matter of balance. It would obviously be easy to add more honey, you could drench the pancakes in it if you prefer... but that is just overkill. And it is not necessary. I am not going to dictate to anyone- but for me- less is more as long as it still looks and tastes as delicious as this!

So there you have it- my healthier little pancakes for a sunny start to any day. As I said, these are a little different, a little firmer, but a lot healthier and trust me- every bit as delicious as they look. Because the flavor is simple, it is fresh and that is more than enough for me! 

I hope it is for all of you good people too! Enjoy!

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