gâteaux de pan

by Alexandra

Pancakes: one of the world’s favorite breakfast treats.  Over here, we country folk all seem to have the same idea of the “perfect pancake:” Mmmmmm, light, fluffy, yet buttery and moist all the same. Doling out the description is no difficult task, but achieving that buttery flavor without infringing upon the fluffy texture is quite the conundrum. The key, my friends, lies outside the box pancake.

In an effort to be healthy, many of us are tempted to ditch the butter or oil in our cooking and serve our children a plate of “commando” concoctions that are indeed lower in fat but also lower in flavor. This fool-proof method keeps that irreplaceable buttery flavor, but in a balanced, healthy way. The trick? Omit the butter from the pancake batter itself, but put it in the pan while cooking! I know it sounds like a heart attack, but I promise, it’s the way to go. Try it, and I guarantee you’ll never go back.

These caramelized banana pancakes are true to the grains they’re made with, boast a naturally caramelized banana filling and have that perfect fluffy texture and buttery flavor.

Caramelized Banana Pancakes 
3/4 cup whole milk (2% works too)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
2 large, very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon real butter, no substitutes! (3 teaspoons)
In a measuring cup, combine the milk and the vinegar. Mix well and set aside to curdle for at least 15 minutes. Allow the egg to rest on the counter during this time, to allow it to warm up to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk for at least 2 minutes, to ensure that everything is combined. When the milk is done resting, whisk in the egg and vanilla, and pour the mixture all at once into the flour mixture. Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until the batter is moist, but still has small lumps. Set aside.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Meanwhile, slice the bananas, roughly 25-30 slices per banana. When the pan is hot, melt 1 teaspoon of the butter and ensure that the entire pan is coated. Arrange small clusters of banana slices on the pan, about 6 inches apart (5-6 slices per cluster) and spoon about 3 tablespoons of batter over each cluster. Cover the pan and cook for about 90 seconds. When the pancakes are very bubbly and becoming firm, flip, taking caution not the disrupt the banana patterns, and cook for an additional 60-90 seconds. Remove pancakes to a plate (keep warm in the oven, on the lowest setting) wipe pan clean with a paper towel, and repeat procedure two more times, buttering pan between rounds. 
Makes: about 9-10 pancakes. Serve warm.