Saturday, May 11, 2013
One of life‘s greatest pleasures is cooking delicious food for the people you love, and then watching their delight. Food has a special power to convey to those around us just how much we care about them.
That‘s why, apart from the flowers and the presents and the fun activities we‘ll all share, I most look forward to joining my young sons, Oliver and Alexander, this Mother‘s Day morning in preparing breakfast for their mother, Gelila.
There‘s a special art to working in the kitchen with children. First of all, you need to make a recipe that they‘re sure to enjoy eating -- even if the main goal is to cook it for their mother. (Of course, the dish should be something she‘ll like, too!) Next, it shouldn‘t be something too complicated to prep or involve tools that call for handling with extra caution. Measuring and stirring are far wiser choices than chopping and slicing!
Finally, the cooking method should be straightforward and deliver results quickly, while also avoiding potentially hazardous contact with hot objects. I wouldn‘t deep-fry anything, or even simmer or boil anything for too long, on Mother‘s Day morning. Child participation should be fairly simple, with tools that are easy and safe to handle, and paternal supervision is mandatory to make sure that little ones stay safely clear of hot objects.
That may sound like a lot of rules, but I can boil them down to just a few brief words: Keep it simple. Keep it safe. Keep it delicious.
And I have a perfect, favorite recipe I‘d like to share for this coming Mother‘s Day morning that follows those rules: my Sour Cream Pancakes with Fresh Berry Syrup.
Almost everybody I know loves pancakes. They‘re easy to make: Just stir up a batter, let it rest awhile so the flavors and textures develop, and then scoop it onto a hot griddle or pan, and cook until golden brown on both sides. The payoff comes quickly -- just a few minutes of cooking per side, and they‘re ready to eat.
I‘ve added a few easy touches that mike this recipe extra-special. Some sour cream gives the batter a hint of tanginess, and its acidity results in extra-tender cakes. And warming some fresh berries in pure maple syrup yields a topping that‘s as simple as it is impressive.
And the kids can play a role at every stage: measuring ingredients, stirring the batter, and then carefully pouring it onto the griddle and flipping the pancakes. (Be sure to supervise them carefully to keep hands and clothing safely clear of hot surfaces.)
That‘s it: A wonderful breakfast-in-bed treat for Mom. I‘ll leave the rest of the Mother‘s Day planning to you!
SOUR CREAM PANCAKES WITH FRESH BERRY SYRUP
Makes 12 pancakes, 4 to 6 servings
SOUR CREAM PANCAKES:
2 large cage-free eggs, separated
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup nonfat milk
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for cooking
1/2 cup pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
FRESH BERRY SYRUP:
1-1/2 cups pure maple syrup
1/2 cup mixed fresh berries, plus extra for garnish
For the pancakes, put the egg yolks on a small mixing bowl, reserving the whites in a separate clean bowl. To the yolks, add the sour cream, milk, and melted butter. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
In a larger mixing bowl, sift together the pastry and all-purpose flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and, pour in the egg yolk mixture. Whisk just long enough to blend the wet and dry ingredients, but do not overmix.
With the clean beaters of a hand-held electric mixer at medium speed, beat the egg whites until they‘re stiff enough to hold firm peaks when the beaters are lifted out, but are still shiny and moist-looking.
Stir a dollop of the egg whites into the bowl of batter. Then, with a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining whites until just a few streaks of white remain.
Preheat the oven to its lowest setting while you leave the batter to rest for about 15 minutes.
Heat a nonstick griddle or a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Brush the surface lightly with butter.
Using a 1/4-cup measure to scoop up the batter, pour individual pancakes on the griddle. When each pancake is golden brown on one side and its surface is covered with small bubbles, after 1 to 2 minutes, use a wide spatula to turn it over; cook the other side until golden brown. As the pancakes are done, transfer them to a tray lined with a clean kitchen towel and keep them warm in the oven.
While the last batch of pancakes is cooking, prepare the Fresh Berry Syrup. Put the maple syrup and the berries in a small saucepan. Warm them together over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is warm and the berries have just begun to soften and give up a little of their juices.
To serve, arrange the pancakes stacked or overlapping on individual warmed serving plates. Pass the syrup-berry mixture in a serving bowl, or spoon it over the pancakes before serving. Garnish with extra berries.