Being a scientist is both a blessing and a curse. I’m grateful that I have acquired some of the analytical thinking skills required to weigh the evidence at hand. I like thinking about causality and recognising alternative explanations for phenomena.
But I also have the annoying habit of applying scientific thinking to my everyday life. I have to stifle my desire to cite research papers in casual conversation, or point out errors in logical reasoning. Being a scientist sometimes makes me a pain in the ass.
But it also equips me to approach adapting recipes for Keira in a systematic way. The scientific method shares a lot in common with recipes. Writing a recipe requires much of the same type of information as the method section of one my academic papers (or that dissertation I’ve been avoiding…). When I tweak the ingredients to make a recipe baby-friendly, I try to play with only one ingredient/variable at a time. If something goes wrong, I want to know what variable caused it.
When Kim asked for a pancake recipe suitable for Keira, I remembered a recipe for apple pancakes by Smitten Kitchen. I had only made them once before, but they were totally killer – really, just warm apple, enrobed in enough batter to look like pancakes. My method for making them baby-friendly was simple. I swapped out the all-purpose flour for gluten-free flour (following the ratio provided by the Gluten-Free Girl), and dropped the sweetener. Yes, technically I changed 2 things, but I knew that the sweetener was just an embellishment that my baby niece doesn’t really need. If you want a sweeter pancake, just add sweetener to the batter or the final product.
To start baking gluten-free foods in earnest, I recommend putting together a batch of gluten-free flour mix. You can buy pre-made versions, but they tend to rely heavily on less wholesome flours than what I’ve opted for below. I followed the ratio provided by the Gluten-Free Girl. If you want to play around with her recommendations for flours, go ahead! I focused on flours that I knew Kim would be able to get across the pond.
To make a 500gm batch of gluten-free, all-purpose mix, I whisked together the following:
150g oat flour
100g buckwheat flour
100g brown rice flour
75g arrowroot starch
75g potato starch
This recipe makes enough for a few batches of pancakes, so feel free to scale it up or down.
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
130g (1c) gluten-free flour mix (see above)
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
200mL (3/4c) plain yogurt (remember when we made our own?)
1 large egg
1 medium-large sweet apple, grated [Notes: I used a Golden Delicious, which weighed 170g. I don’t peel mine, because I like the added texture and colour from the peel, but you can peel yours]
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Combine the yogurt and egg, and then add them to the flour mix.
Stir to mix everything together. Add the grated apple and stir everything together.
Heat and grease your skillet. I use a large cast iron pan and just grease it with a small piece of butter. It’s a well-seasoned pan, so it doesn’t need any more fat during the cooking process.
When a drop of water will sputter on the pan, it’s ready for your pancakes.
Scoop the batter by ¼ cup portions, leaving enough room for them to spread. You’ll want to spread the batter a bit when they hit the pan, because they don’t spread well by themselves.
When bubbles form and then start to pop (after a couple of minutes), flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or two.
The apple flavour comes through best when the pancakes cool a bit, so try to wait a minute before devouring them. How you top them is up to you, but here are a few suggestions:
- Plain (the best way, in my opinion!)
- Maple syrup (classic)
- With a good, old cheddar (seriously)
This recipe makes about 10 medium-sized pancakes. I’ve noticed that these pancakes tend to be a bit dry on the second day, so plan accordingly.