Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cornmeal Pancakes

It's Sunday morning and nothing seems more appropriate than pancakes. I usually make banana or lemon ricotta cakes but I found a recipe for cornmeal pancakes in the LA Times web archives last week that had been adapted from the 1943 Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer and I was intrigued. The last time I had cornmeal pancakes was at this tiny spot in Hermosa Beach (CA) called Martha's 22nd Street Grill (just "Martha's" to the locals) and I have been attempting to replicate them ever since.  There is a trick to cornmeal pancakes that one must know before perfecting them: always precook the cornmeal before you make the batter so that the texture is soft and corncake-like not gritty and tough. These pancakes are great with butter and jam or warm syrup. I served mine with tons of fresh strawberries on top...I'm a sucker for fresh berries on pancakes. 


Cornmeal Pancakes 

2-4 servings 

Ingredients

1 c white or yellow cornmeal
1 t salt
2 T butter
3 T honey
1 c boiling water
1/2 c half and half or milk
1 egg
1/2 c AP flour
2 t baking powder

Method
1. Combine the cornmeal, salt, butter and honey in a large, heavy bowl. Pour the boiling water over the top and whisk well to combine. Cover tightly and let stand at least 10 minutes.
2. Measure the milk into a measuring cup. Add the egg and beat well with a fork until smooth. Stir this into the cornmeal mixture.
3. Sift together the flour and baking powder and stir into the cornmeal mixture with a few swift strokes.
4. Heat the griddle until a few drops of water dance and skitter across the surface. Butter or grease the griddle lightly, then pour the batter in one-third cup measures. Cook until bubbles stop appearing and the top surface appears slightly dry, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook just until the center feels set and no longer liquid, 1 to 3 more minutes. This makes about 8 pancakes.
5. Serve immediately with syrup or jam, or keep warm on a cookie sheet in a 200-degree oven.

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