Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Persimmon Pancakes with Almonds (or Without)

Stack of Almond Persimmon Pancakes
Great with Maple Syrup or Butter

Recipe adapted from the Missouri Botanical Garden

I love visiting botanical gardens. As members of the UC Botanical Gardens at Berkeley, my family members are graced with free admission to hundreds of botanical gardens throughout the US. This means walking in nature just about anywhere that we travel domestically, including large cities. St. Louis’ Missouri Botanical Garden, which we have not yet explored, provided this recipe in its fascinating Foodology blog. Research specialist (and foodie) Andrew Townesmith created this recipe when he found some wild American persimmons during a late fall camping trip.  Townesmith has tasted over 450 edible wild plants in conjunction with his work at the garden’s William L. Brown Center, which explores the relationship between human cultures and food plants. Nice work if you can get it!

Stack of Pancakes Viewed from Side
Closeup of Deliciousness
American wild persimmons are similar to Hachiya persimmons but typically have large seeds. Like Hachiya persimmons, they must be super-soft to be enjoyable. Otherwise, though technically edible, they have a disagreeable astringency caused by tannins. Read my Hachiya persimmon post for preparation details.

Bowl of Batter with Lumps and Bubbles
Lumpy Batter is Best, Don't Over-mix it
Something was a little off in the original recipe (for non-camping situations), because the pancakes stuck to the pan and didn’t hold together. After two trials (and I hate to see a good pancake go to waste), I added another half cup flour, as in Mom’s apple pancakes. That did the trick, though persimmon still makes the batter stickier than plain pancakes. Be sure to use enough oil in the frying pan.

Pancakes Cooking on First Side, with Almonds Sprinkled on
Sprinkle Nuts onto Cakes, Don't Add to Batter
For variety I added some almonds (pecans would be great too), and for flavor a dash of cinnamon. Don’t overdo the cinnamon, because the persimmon flavor is very subtle. To intensify the persimmon flavor (and use up more persimmons from my frozen/thawed stash) I also made a thick persimmon sauce that can be spread between the pancakes. Recipe for sauce coming later this week!

Another view of Pancakes stacked on plate
Perfect Pancake Brunch
Persimmon Almond Pancakes
makes about 12 – 14 pancakes

½ cup persimmon pulp
1½ cups flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1 large egg, at room temperature
   cups milk plus a little extra, at room temperature
2 tbsp. melted butter
Sunflower or other high temp oil
~½ cup finely chopped almonds or pecans, optional
Maple syrup and/or butter for serving

Remove seeds, if any, from persimmon pulp. Mash persimmon pulp.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Set aside.

Beat egg with fork in medium bowl until fluffy. Beat in persimmon pulp. Beat in 1½  cup milk and cooled melted butter.

Preheat pan to 350 degrees.

When pan is preheated, mix together wet and dry ingredients. Don’t overmix, lumpy batter makes fluffiest pancakes. Batter should be thin enough to pour. Stir in ¼ cup milk if needed to make in thinner.

Pour about 1 – 2 tbsp. high heat oil into frying pan and distribute evenly (I mop it around with a paper towel). Pour in batter ¼ cup at a time to make pancakes (I use a measuring cup).

Sprinkle each pancake with about ½ teaspoon of chopped almonds or pecans.

You’ll see bubbles forming in the surface as pancakes cook. Wait until you see bubbles covering the surface, then lift edges with spatula to see if under surface is browned. If so, flip pancake and brown on the other side. Remove to serving platter. You might want to use a heatproof platter and keep it in a 100 degree oven until all pancakes are ready.

Continue making pancakes 4 at a time (or however many fit on your pan or grill) until all batter is used. Serve pancakes with maple syrup and sprinkle with leftover chopped pecans or almonds, if desired.

Orange Persimmons in Yellow Egg Mixture with Dry ingredients in Background
It's All About Persimmons

No comments:

Post a Comment