Thinking Inside the Box: Sweet Potato Flapjack Tuesday
Today is Pancake Tuesday (a.k.a. Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras). I’m not exactly a religious person and I certainly don’t give up anything for Lent. I do, however, adore an excuse to eat pancakes.
I’m in the middle of my series What’s in the Box? Tips for Dealing with Your Weekly Organic Produce. I’ve therefore stayed inside the box and have added sweet potato to my favorite flapjack recipe: “Four-Grain Flapjacks” from The Joy of Cooking, 75th Anniversary Edition: p. 644.
Why sweet potato? Because there were FIFTEEN of them in my most recent organics box. FIFTEEN! What do you do with FIFTEEN sweet potatoes? Unfortunately, this recipe uses only one of them but that’s one more than yesterday’s recipe did.
I’ve tweaked the recipe in other ways as well and I can’t tell you how much we love the results. I can tell you that last weekend when we tested these twice (two sweet potatoes down, woot! woot!), both times we ate them ALL. Sad because pancake leftovers are a wondrous thing (individually wrap them and put them in the freezer for quick and easy mid-week breakfasts. Just unwrap and microwave or put in the toaster to defrost and warm). But a good sign as far as developing a great pancake recipe is concerned.
Yields 14-16 pancakes
These are high-rising pancakes with a cake-like texture and a comforting pumpkin-spice flavor. You can use one large ripe banana (2 small ones) in place of the sweet potato (just don’t go microwaving the banana! It’s fine in the batter raw. Do mash it though).
- 1 medium sweet potato (about 1/2 lb)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (uncooked oatmeal)
- 1 tbsp packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp each of ground cloves, ground ginger, nutmeg and cardamom
(Leave out any of the spices that you don’t have, increasing the amount of the others slightly. Or, use 1 tsp total of pumpkin pie spice instead of the cinnamon-cloves-ginger-nutmeg-cardamom combo.)
- 1 and 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 eggs, whisked together lightly
- squares of cold butter and more maple syrup to serve
Poke the sweet potato all over with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on high for 2-4 minutes, until it yields sweetly to the tines of the fork.
Use a pairing knife to peel the skin off of the sweet potato (protect your delicate hand from the potato’s heat by wearing an oven mitt). Place the flesh into a small bowl and use a fork to mash it until smooth.
In a medium bowl, combine the mashed sweet potato with the milk, melted butter, maple syrup and the whisked eggs.
Add the liquids to the bowl of comfortingly spiced flours. Stir briefly to combine (try not to over-mix the batter; everything just needs to be moistened). This batter yields high cake-like pancakes so don’t be worried if it seems thicker than normal pancake batter.
Preheat oven to 170F (This is optional. I do it to keep the pancakes warm so we can sit down together for a feast once they’re all cooked. I also pour some maple syrup into a heat-proof casserole dish and put it in the oven alongside the pancakes. This warms the syrup slightly making for a better butter-melter and a worse pancake-cooler. Transfer the syrup to a gravy boat to serve.)
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Ladle in 1/3 cup dollops of batter (spread the batter out slightly). Note that these pancakes have a tendency to brown (and then blacken) quickly. Check the undersides more often than you normally would. When the bottoms are lightly browned (2-ish minutes) flip the cakes and cook them for another minute or so, or until the bottoms match the tops.
Eat the pancakes as they’re cooked or place browned pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet and transfer it to the warm oven. Ladle more batter onto the skillet, cooking as directed above. Continue making pancakes until there aren’t any pancakes left to be made.
Serve with cold squares of butter and drizzles of warm maple syrup.