Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pancakes, Again (it's Maple Syrup Season)

Last Sunday, Chase's Daily was serving the most adorable blueberry-cornmeal pancakes. They were off limits for me, so I made due (*sigh*) with a tofu scramble burrito, but since then I've been trying to duplicate those pancakes without using eggs or gluten.

Maine Maple Sunday is this weekend, so pancakes are timely. (On the Maine Maple Producers Association website there's a map that'll help you locate participating sugarhouses.) This spring warmed up early and stayed warm, and that's lousy weather for making maple syrup: sap runs when the nights are below freezing and the days are about twenty degrees warmer. Syrup will be scarce this year, and prices may get as high as $70 a gallon. In true locavore style, many people around town have sap buckets hanging from their own trees (one of my more eccentric neighbors has even tapped a utility pole). Unfortunately our maples are Norway, not Sugar, and they had some funky virus in the fall so I wouldn't eat anything leaking out of them, anyway.

Developing recipes without gluten takes a lot more trial and error than I'm comfortable with. It hurts my soul to throw away rubbery reject pancakes, even when they're not fit for human consumption. At least I've learned one important lesson from this week's pancake trials: corn flour makes things dense, and has no business in pancakes. Corn meal is where it's at.

These pancakes aren't light and fluffy like the ones I posted earlier this month. They're thin, and the edges are wonderfully crunchy. They're like a slightly sweet cornbread; fruit and maple syrup are the perfect accompaniment. Though I originally set out to make cornmeal pancakes with blueberries, I actually prefer them with raspberries. Use any type of berry, or skip the fruit altogether and serve them with vegan margarine.

Gluten-free Cornmeal Pancakes

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons brown rice flour

¼ cup + 2 tablespoons tapioca or potato starch
½ cup corn meal

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt
⅔ cup rice milk

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup berries (optional)

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Mix dry ingredients—rice flour, potato starch, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt—in a medium bowl. Add rice milk and oil and whisk until just combined.

Spray or lightly coat skillet with oil. Pour batter onto skillet 1/4 cup at a time. Sprinkle a tablespoon of berries on top of each pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes, until bubbles form on top of pancakes and edges look dry. Flip, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes, until undersides are browned.

Yields four 6-inch pancakes


  1. I'm not excited to hear about the price increase on maple syrup, but beautiful pancakes! I've also had good luck subbing corn flour for regular flour before, but the tapioca/rice mix is a good idea!

  2. Those pancakes look delicious! I wish I had that plate in my hands right now! And I find it incredible that maple syrup isn't even more expensive, considering what it is. Amazing stuff.
    Eco Mama

  3. Holy cow, those look perfect!!! I cannot wait to try these babies out - I wish I could make them right this second....

  4. I like the idea of cornbread in pancake form — with crispy edges, oooo. Your photo makes them look so tempting in their pool of maple syrup, I might have to tap a utility pole myself! :)

  5. Hi. I really like your blog. My soul also suffers when i'm forced to throw some inedible experiment away. I haven't been able to muster the strength for all the trials and tribulations of gluten freedom.vegan and gluten free is really where it's at.anyways i'm going to keep enjoying your blog and perhaps,perhaps i'll start my own one of these days!

  6. Yum! Screw fluffy pancakes! I think I'd take these crispy ones any day! *Bookmarked!

  7. My favorite go-to recipe for pancakes involves cornmeal and raspberries (originally blueberries) from EDBV! Yours look mighty nice as well!

  8. Sigh, local maple syrup, what a treat! Definitely a rarity for most people... But oh, those pancakes look like a special luxury, too!

  9. Those pancakes look awesome! I so wish I could eat corn products right now :(

  10. These look so thin and crispy, I want them for breakfast tomorrow morning. Lovely photo!

  11. Oops! Use 2/3 cup rice milk, not 1/4 cup!

  12. Oh wow, I wish I lived in a place with such an abundance of maple syrup!

  13. I <3 cornmeal. In fact the corncakes that IHOP discontinued were my favorites from there. Anyway, I'd love to have these for breakfast any day.


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