There are a million stories in the allergen-free kitchen. Today, I freely offered up my heart, only to have it crushed, trampled, and spat upon.
Ever since Mr. Eos and Boy Scientist made a big batch of fragrant pancakes last week—eggy, dairyful, wheat-laden pancakes—I’ve been craving a stack of my own. I was even prepared to put up with a little sawdust, just to have something warm and pancake-like to drench in syrup.
Filled with hope, I spent yesterday combing recipes online, finally settling on this one for pumpkin pancakes. It sounded comforting, aromatic, and also friendly to a few substitutions (the usual: juice for milk, guar gum for xanthan, and maple balsamic for the cider vinegar). I even doubled the recipe in order to freeze some against bleak breakfasts of the future.
It came together like a dream. A bowl of wet; a bowl of dry; plop and stir. O.K., so, it turned a little thick and gummy. A lot thick and gummy. So what? Gluten-free baking is supposed to be kind of weird, right?
The first sign of real trouble came the moment the batter hit the pan. The blobs stood up, kind of like meringues or Hershey’s kisses or miniature Matterhorns. When it came time to flip them, they flopped. I wound up with two greasy scrunched-up gobs of mushy batter that went right into the trash.
No matter. I added some water and stirred to smooth things out. Now we’re cooking. I made them smaller, to aid in flipping, and I allowed them a good long time to set. Gorgeous!
Not so fast. Look closely. I tried three batches, cooking each longer than the last. Every last pancake came out virtually liquid inside. Blech.
Mr. Eos got into the act, adding a ton more water and spreading one out in the pan like a crêpe. Same mess.
Enough! Since the things seemed to want to be cooked for a loooonggg time, I dumped them in muffin tins and baked them. And baked and baked them, for close to 40 minutes.
They puffed up like balloons, and deflated when pierced with the cake tester. Humor, at last. Pumpkin popovers! And then I dropped the pan, knocking the wind out of every last pumpkiny sail.
And even so, no matter. For all that, the blasted things were STILL liquid inside.
I’m wondering if adding all that water actually made the batter get too heavy and fall back in on itself. Perhaps I should have tried one more batch of smaller pancakes with the really thick stuff and less oil. Or perhaps I should have been suspicious of a recipe that says, “The consistency here is a little different than your average pancake.”
Oh, well, I consoled myself by roasting a beautiful pan of tomatoes and onions for the tomato-basil bisque from Chloe’s Kitchen. That recipe alone is worth the price of the book. And it never fails.