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fig, walnut and oatmeal pancakes

In breakfast, sweets, year-round on 17 January, 2012 at 8:15 am

Just a quick little post today – I was trying to write this last night but my heavy eyelids claimed victory and I sunk into bed before 11 for the first time in 2012 (hooray!). And now it’s morning and I’m battling the clock to get to work on time. And I have plenty more pancakes to write about (!!) so I thought I’d better get on with this one. So, without further ado, I present Pancake #2.

If you recall, I started the year off with a little pancake project. On the first day, I made these crispy-edged little cornmeal griddlecakes, inspired by a Mark Bittman recipe in the New York Times. I didn’t really plan on making pancakes the next day, but I was intrigued by the idea of making pancakes with all kinds of different (non-flour) ingredients. So on the second day, I went back to that New York Times article and found this recipe for oatmeal pancakes. So began the Pancake Project – because if I’m eating the same thing (more or less) two or more days in a row and experimenting with ingredients and methods it’s more than just laziness or falling into a routine, right? It’s a project.

I’ve based these pancakes on Mark Bittman’s method of first cooking the oats before using them to make the pancake batter. The result is wholly different from the kind of oatmeal pancakes I’m used to – normal flour pancakes with some oats mixed in – and results in a pancake that’s far more dense and moist than you’d normally expect. They’re pretty much the opposite of the pretty stack of golden pancakes I’d made the day before, and the antithesis of anything you’d find in, say, an American diner.

I almost never order pancakes in restaurants because I often find myself underwhelmed – they’re so often too big, too floury or stodgy, or just plain boring. But these I could get used to. And okay, I’m not saying these don’t have a bit of stodge to them, but it’s good stodge – good, hearty, (dare I say it?) healthy stodge: plenty of fibre and protein (the more nuts, the better) and interesting texture and so much more flavour than the big, flabby flour-fests* that so often leave me disappointed.

So. I really encourage you to make these pancakes. They’re nowhere near fluffy, but they’re awesome. Also, because they’ve got cooked oats in them, they’re a bit porridgelike in consistency – but in a good, fried-in-a-skillet way. Perhaps it’d be a good way for porridge haters to get their oats? Let me know if you give it a try.

*er, okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh. There are plenty of really delicious traditional flour pancakes out there. But I have had my share of decidedly average ones. Don’t tell me you haven’t.

FIG, WALNUT & OATMEAL PANCAKES
(adapted from this recipe by Mark Bittman in the New York Times) 

1/2 cup rye flour*
1/4 rolled oats
(here, I used the “quick cook” type – the smaller flakes)
1  tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked whole rolled oats
1 tbsp honey
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts
1/3 cup chopped dried figs

First, cook some oats – just in water is fine – I used about a cup of oats to get more or less two cups of cooked oatmeal. Let it cool a bit.

Meanwhile, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, oats, baking powder, salt) in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg and milk, then stir in the cooked oatmeal and the honey. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently to combine. The mixture will be thicker than you might be used to for pancake batter, but you should be able to get thick, gloopy ladlefuls of it pretty easily – if it seems too thick, just add more water; if it seems too thin, add more flour. Fold in the walnuts and the fig pieces.

Cook in an oiled skillet (cast-iron is great) over medium heat, making sure the skillet’s nice and hot before you add the batter. Flip when they’re golden-brown on the underside and little bubbles appear on top (this may be less noticeable than with normal pancakes because of all the stuff that’s in the batter, so if in doubt, check the underside). I found 3-4 minutes on one side and then about 2-3 on the other worked well.

Serve with butter and honey.

*(or any flour, really, I just had rye and wanted to give them a bit more depth. I imagine buckwheat’d also be great)

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  1. I love your pancake project – I may well try these at the weekend. You are right about the stodgy pancakes – last 3 lots at different cafes have been nothing to write about. Maybe you should start your own breakfast truck and just sell delicious pancakes for all those foot stomping commuters across Wellington Harbour. I’d be there in the queue if you do!

  2. I can’t wait to see pancake number 3!

  3. I lve the addition of fig and walnuts to your pancakes, definitely my kind of flavours. I never make pancakes but if you keep your project going I will certainty be encouraged.

  4. We love pancakes around here and I’m intrigued by the cooking of the oats before making them. Sounds wonderful!

    • I was intrigued, too – and it turned out really well. They are kind of half-porridgey, half-pancakey if you get what I mean, moist and definitely substantial! But quite good.

  5. It’s like multigrain bread, in pancake form – I love it! I might make these for dinner tonight, since the man is away, and isn’t breakfast for dinner totally a thing? Keep up the good work Mika, fighting the good pancake fight so the rest of us don’t have to! :)

  6. Yum. While I was reading this post I started thinking these pancakes would be good with a side of bacon. A kind of savoury sweet combo, like they do with bacon and maple syrup in North America.

  7. Maybe I could have them for lunch, and yes, I wouldn’t get the in a restaurant either, homemade is better, but not for breakfast! I can’t eat so much at breakfast :-).
    Or maybe a really late brunch? Perfect!

    Ciao
    A.

  8. I share your view on the restaurant pancakes and I like your pancake project Mika! I like the sound of these very much – and figs and walnuts sound like excellent things to add in too :-)

  9. Loving all the pancakes….adding figs seems to makes lots of things taste quite wonderful :)

  10. A pancake project – what a great idea! I’m a huge Mark Bittman – I often make his Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. These look great, and might be just what I need to overcome my porridge phobia.
    xo

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