Let’s start by making one thing clear, we certainly aren’t gluten-free here at the farm. Way too much baking going on. And grilled cheese sandwiches, along with pasta, are a constant fave with the kids (and the adults). That said, we don’t have any politics on the subject. We know a number of people who are gluten-free by choice, and that’s cool. We also have family and friends with celiac disease. And they need to eat when they stop by. So, with that in mind, we do some gluten-free cooking now and then, just to have some options.
With savory dishes, we have plenty of good gluten-free recipes to work with. But with baking, it is more of a challenge. In our experience (and we are by no means experts on the subject), it is rare that you have a recipe that works with wheat flour but is then easily adapted to using non-gluten flours. So in the end you have a whole separate group of gluten-free baking recipes. And that’s a bit of a fuss. But there are exceptions- and this recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes is one of them.
The cool thing with this recipe is that you can use either rice flour or wheat flour and leave the rest of the recipe unchanged. And both versions work just as well. The key is the use of buckwheat (not wheat at all, but a wild herb- who knew?) and cornmeal to add flavor, and whipped egg whites to add volume. What you get is the big nutty flavor of the buckwheat and cornmeal, but the fluffy texture and tenderness of a traditional pancake. Good stuff. So good that our kids love them, and they would certainly tell us if they didn’t. Pancakes are serious business in these parts.
We adapted the recipe from the Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, Tea Cookbook. Based on recipes from Rose Carrarini’s Rose Bakery in Paris, this cookbook is one of our favorites for cafe-style baked goods and snacks. The recipes work and it is a well-designed and photographed book, worth a look.
As for the pancakes, they are equally tasty in regular or gluten-free form (hard to tell the difference). The only thing that may be a bit surprising is the dark brownish-gray color of the batter from the buckwheat. But the batter crisps ups and browns nicely, and you end up with very attractive pancakes. They taste great with the traditional butter and syrup, but the extra nutty flavors go particularly well with strawberry or raspberry jam. In fact, if you have any left over, you can toast them and serve them with buter and jam the next day. Just like toast. Like we said…good stuff.
(Adapted from the Rose Bakery)
Notes Before You Start:
- Buckwheat flour is available in most gourmet markets or health food stores. It is also available in the gluten-free section of many markets.
- The recipe calls for superfine sugar. If you don’t have superfine sugar you can use regular sugar or blend it for 30 seconds in your food processor. Presto! Superfine sugar.
What You Get: Excellent buckwheat pancakes in regular or gluten-free versions.
What You Need: No special equipment required.
How Long? 20-30 minutes. Anytime dish.
- 4 large eggs, separated
- 1 3/4 cups (400 ml) whole milk
- Scant 1 cup (100 ml) plain yogurt
- 1 cup (150g) buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup (70g) rice flour or all-purpose flour. Use rice flour for gluten-free
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Unsalted butter, for cooking
- Butter, maple syrup and/or jam
- In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks, milk and yogurt until smooth.
- In a large bowl, sift together the buckwheat and rice flour (or all-purpose flour). Add the cornmeal, baking powder, sugar and salt.
- Add the milk mixture to the flours and stir gently until just combined.
- In another bowl. Beat the eggs whites until stiff peaks form. Then add the egg whites to the batter and gently fold until combined.
- Place a large nonstick skillet over medium low heat. When hot add a piece of the butter and spread it over the pan. Pour in the batter to you desired size of pancake. Cook on one side until golden brown underneath, 2-3 minutes. Then flip and cook another minute, until the pancake is firm and cooked through. Repeat, adding butter as needed.
- Serve hot with butter, maple syrup and jam.
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