When I set my mind towards this month’s The Spice is Right: The Perfumed Garden, I wanted to make a savory recipe, such as roasted chicken with rose petals or a lavender-infused potatoes au gratin, but I never really got around to it. The one thing I did make, I wasn’t completely happy with: it was a lamb stew with spring vegetables that included lavender along with herbes de Provence and tarragon, but I found that the wine I used with it was too sweet, and the flavor of the stew was unbalanced. Had I been able to use a generous grinding of fresh black peppercorns in it, the imbalance would have been corrected, and perhaps even more than corrected, made delicious, but, with my allergy to pepper, that was not to be.
So, today, on the deadline day, here is the hostess, making her recipe and hoping for the best!
I ended up making brunch for Zak, Morganna, her best friend, Britanny (who is staying with us for a week) and myself. I decided on pancakes and based my recipe upon the one I blogged about last summer: Fresh Blueberry Pancakes. However, I changed it about a great deal, and in doing so, made an entirely new recipe.
I left out the lemon zest and substituted 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds, which I ground into a powder in my mortar and pestle. I kept the cardamom, as I love the way it tastes with lavender, and substituted out the cinnamon for dried ginger, which is another favorite partner for lavender.
As for the flour, I experimented some more.
I have finally gotten my hands on some of the King Arthur Flour Company’s “White Whole Wheat” flour. It is whole wheat, compeltely unbleached, but instead of being made with red winter wheat the way most whole wheat or graham flour is, this flour is ground from softer white winter wheat. It is reputed to have a milder, less robust flavor than regular whole wheat and is supposed to have superior baking qualities, rather akin to all-purpose flour.
King Arthur’s website suggests that bakers substituted this flour for half of the all-purpose flour in any recipe in order to boost the nutritional quality of the baked good without compromising taste and texture.
I had been waiting until I found a local supplier of this flour to try it; I have ordered flour from King Arthur directly, but have had some bad luck with backs bursting during shipping, which makes an awful mess. The company has always been good about replacing the broken bags, but still–it is messy and wasteful.
I was thrilled to see it at Kroger’s this past week, so I snapped up a bag of it and decided to use it the next time I had a chance.
Which was today.
I used it half and half with the all-purpose flour, and did not detect much difference in the result. The pancakes were still light and fluffy, though they had a bit more of a chew than the blueberry recipe I based it on, which only had 1/4 cup of traditional whole wheat flour in it to give a nutty flavor. The flavor was very mild, however, and it made a good backdrop for the lavender and spice flavors to come through.
As for the strawberries, I thought of cooking some sliced ones into the pancakes, but knowing how much juice they release under heat, I decided against it. Instead, I cut up a quart of them, added a tablespoon of raw sugar and a half tablespoon of rosewater, and allowed them to macerate while I made the pancakes. The rosewater at that level is barely detectable as its own flavor (unless you make a habit of analyzing flavors, as I do), but it greatly enhances the inherent floral sweetness of the berries themselves.
All in all, the pancakes were a success. I feel confident that I will be making them again in the near future, and after this trial, I am looking forward to more baking and cooking tests of the white whole wheat flour.
Lavender-Cardamom Pancakes with Rose-Infused Strawberries
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 tablespoon rosewater
1/2 +1/8 cup all purpose flour
1/2+1/8 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds, ground into a powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter, melted and allowed to cool slightly
canola oil spray
Mix together sliced strawberries, raw sugar and rosewater in a bowl; allow to sit undisturbed while making the batter and pancakes.
Heat oven to 170 degrees, and warm plates as well as a serving platter therein.
In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients well. In a measuring cup or smaller bowl, mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla until well combined. Mix the two together with a rubber spatula until a smooth batter forms. Whisk in butter until the batter is thick and very smooth.
Heat skillet over medium heat, and spray with canola oil spray.
Pour batter onto skillet in equal amounts (I use about a 1/4 cup of batter per cake) and cook until bubbles come to the surface of the batter, break and stay open around the edges. Flip pancakes with a spatula, and cook for a few seconds more on the second side, at least until the hissing of steam escaping stops. Check underneath for a golden brown color–if it is too pale keep cooking a bit longer.
When done, remove from pan and put on serving platter in oven to keep warm and continue until all the batter is used.
Makes about a dozen 4″-6″ diameter pancakes.
Top with a generous amount of macerated berries.
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