Fresh Peach Pancakes

Growing up, my mom made pancakes every single morning. I could always count on oat nut chocolate chip pancakes, loaded with butter and maple syrup, when I rolled out of bed. My mom would make the batter ahead of time and keep it in the fridge, ready to go every morning. The cast iron griddle was a permanent fixture on the stove. 

Okay, so maybe it wasn't every morning like it is in my head, but it definitely was more often than not. So go ahead moms: Take a deep breath. You're not the only mother constantly feeding her kids pancakes and hot dogs. It's all part of growing up

Fast forward to present day. Given my breakfast pedigree, I should be a pancake wizard. But I have a confession. I make HORRIBLE pancakes. There. I said it. French toast, waffles, eggs…not a problem. Always on point. My pancakes, however, are a different story. They always fall apart and taste so bland that only a heap of butter, whipped cream, berries, and maple syrup make them edible. 

The following recipe, adapted from America's Test Kitchen, is my pancake lifesaver. They come out perfect every time. While my pancakes might still look…"rustic", the taste is sublime. The secret? Butter in the batter. It creates a crunchy crust while keeping the inside fluffy and moist. 

Peach Pancakes (parenthesis is recipe x 1.5)

1 (1.5) Tbs fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 (3) Cups milk
1 (1 1/2) tsp vanilla extract
1 (1 1/2) Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 (1/2) Cup wheat flour
1 (1) Cup oat bran
2 (3) Tbs sugar
1 (1 1/2) tsp baking powder
1 (1 1/2) tsp baking soda
1 (1 1/2) tsp salt
1 (2) large egg
3 (4-5) Tbs unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1-2 (3-4) tsp vegetable oil
1-2 (3-4) fresh peaches, sliced thin*

*can leave skin on, the fuzzy texture disappears when cooked

1. Combine lemon juice and milk in medium bowl, let sit while mixing other ingredients (at least 10 minutes). In large mixing bowl whisk flour, wheat flour, oat bran, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. In a small mixing bowl, mix melted butter, vanilla, and milk until completely combined. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour in butter/milk mixture. Gently fold/mix into flour mixture leaving a few lumps, be careful not to over mix!!
3. Heat griddle (non stick pan, cast iron pan, whatever you prefer) over medium/hot heat, lower heat and add a small slab of butter, let melt completely and coat surface. Pour batter over butter pan, place one layer of thin peach slices on batter. When large bubbles form in the batter flip over cake and cook until golden brown (as seen in the pictures, these do not come out bisquick style with a smooth glossy finish, they are real rustic delicious pancakes). Serve with butter and maple syrup, maybe some whipped cream??

Pot de Creme

Oh pot de creme.. there's really never much to say about it except that it is the perfect tiniest richest desert. After a classic french meal (or any meal for that matter) the only thing I want is a few small bites of a rich dark pot de creme. Even though it is usually in the winter when rich, dark, and creamy is all anyone wants to eat, this particular week in New England has been cold and rainy leaving me craving pot de creme. 

The recipe is quite simple and quick, the only problem I was having was the humidity caused the chocolate to get a little wet and didn't blend in as well as it does in a dry environment. That said, I made it this winter and it came out perfectly. So, as long as you strain the mix before putting it in ramekins or demitasse cups it should set perfectly smooth. Also, there are no cherries in this recipe, they happen to be in season and I thought would look perfect sitting on top or mixed in after. I don't know if anyone has tried putting fruit in pot de creme but the water in it made me nervous, so on top they went!

Pot de Creme* (serves 4-6 depending on ramekin size)

2 C heavy whipping cream
1/2 C whole milk
5 ounces semisweet dark chocolate**
6 large egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 C sweet cherries or other fresh berries (optional)

*adapted from epicurious
**I used 1, 3 ounce 83% cocoa chocolate bar with 5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips to keep the sweetness down

1. Preheat oven to 325. Over medium heat, add heavy cream and milk to medium sauce pan, bring to a slow simmer. Placed roughly chopped chocolate and chocolate chips to medium bowl, pour hot cream mixture over chocolate and let stand 3 minutes.

2. In a separate bowl add egg yolk, sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla, whisk until combined (should only take a few seconds).
3. Slowly whisk chocolate and cream together, once combined slowly add egg and sugar mixture to milk and chocolate. Whisk until combined. Pour into 4-6 ramekins or demitasse cups. 
4. Place cups in large baking pan, add water to pan until it hits just half way up the cups.*** Transfer pan to oven and bake 30 minutes until the center of the creme moves only slightly when jiggled. Remove from baking pan and let cool about 30 minutes. Refrigerate at least 4 hours prior to serving. Serve with whipped cream and cherry or any other fresh fruit.

***I find it is easier to place the cups in the baking pan, transfer to oven, then add water. It minimizes the risk of getting water in the creme.