OK–so bananas aren’t local (though I did recently see a post on Minnesota pineapples!) and neither is nutmeg. I needed a way to use the going-brown banana I picked up at a gas station on my way from to the cities last week. It ended up so deep in my bottomless purse, I only just found it a couple of days ago.
[Yes, I know you’re thinking, first non-local fruits and now buying food at gas stations? What’s going on, here?]
Well, let’s say I’m operating on the “waste not, want not” principle.
This recipe is adapted from the Fannie Farmer cookbook. It’s comfortably lodged in my memory now, which is good because I packed that cookbook in a moving box yesterday morning.
1 over-ripe banana, mashed into a bowl. Add to the banana 1 egg, beaten; 2 tablespoons brown sugar; 2 tablespoons melted butter, a capful of vanilla extract (about a 1/2 teaspoon?), and a cup or so of milk.
The original recipe calls for only about a half cup of milk. That’s not even close to enough. Add a cup and then once you mix together the batter, add more if needed.
In a separate bowl, combine 2/3 cup white flour and 1/3 cup whole wheat flour, plus 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and about 1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg.
If your baking powder is over a year old, please throw it out and start fresh! I did this recently and bought fresh at The Granary–the difference in rise is astounding! If you use pre-grated nutmeg, use a little more–the ground stuff loses flavor fast.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Add more milk if the batter is super-thick, but don’t thin it down to the point that it’s watery. These pancakes should be fluffy–but not so fluffy that they don’t cook in the middle.
Hopefully, you were heating up your griddle or pan while you were assembling the ingredients. Butter (or oil with a bland-flavored oil) your heated cooking surface and drop the batter by 1/4 cup measures (I just use a serving spoon) onto the pan. Flip them when they are nicely browned on the bottom.
You might not want to have the heat up super-high for this recipe, or the brown sugar/banana combo will make your cakes burn. Serve these with real honest-to-goodness grade B maple syrup, or I’ll tell your mama you’re skimping on the good stuff.
These pancakes remind me of a banana French toast breakfast with Matthew Wencl at the Volunteer Park Cafe in Seattle back in August of 2009. They don’t make me misty-eyed, as that delicious dish did, but they’re pretty darn close. Some caramelized pecans and a schmear of orange-scented mascarpone between two cakes might just take you there.
So, now there’s no excuse to waste that banana in the bottom of your handbag (or wherever you put it) ever again. And hey, make your flour, dairy, egg, and syrup local if your bananas aren’t!