The austerity of Lent always comes with a delicious little precursor. Call it Fat Tuesday, Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday, what have you – it means a chance to lop up all the butter while you contemplate your upcoming Lenten sacrifice.
My father, bless him, gives up alcohol every year. As I remind myself, he’s retired.
In past years, I’ve shared lemon yogurt pancakes with various embellishments, classic crepes with dulce de leche, cottage cheese and oatmeal pancakes with lemon curd, even little silver dollar pancakes with maple walnut drizzle.
This year I feel like a little crunch, and these cornmeal pancakes, punched up with orange juice and zest, are just the ticket.
And this gives me another opportunity to keep using my summer-bounty inventory. I top these pancakes with some homemade preserves, thinned with a little liquid to make a syrup. If I were making these for my dad, we’d definitely be talking a strawberry bourbon syrup. You can choose your own indulgence.
Just don’t forget the butter.
Crunchy orange-scented cornmeal pancakes with strawberry jam topping
Makes about 24 three-inch pancakes
1 cup yellow cornmeal
½ cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
¼ cup milk
juice and zest of 1 orange (about 1/3 cup orange juice)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Strawberry jam topping and butter, for serving
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a cooking rack over a baking sheet on the center rack.
Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, stir the yogurt, milk and orange juice until well combined. Whisk in the egg and stir until well incorporated. Pour over the cornmeal mixture and whisk until combined – take care not to overmix. Stir in the melted butter and orange zest. Let sit for about five minutes to activate the baking powder.
Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium high heat. When drops of water dance on the surface, use a tablespoon measure to scoop a generous dollop of batter onto the griddle. Use the back of the spoon to smooth out the surface to about three inches in diameter. Griddle until tops look dry and bubbles have formed an burst, about three minutes. Flip and cook for another minute, then transfer to wire rack in the oven. Keep them hot in one layer, if possible, to preserve the crunchiness.
Strawberry jam topping
Makes one generous cup
1 cup chunky strawberry preserves, or any jam from the fridge door
2 – 3 tablespoons liquid, such as orange juice, liqueur or bourbon
Spoon preserves into a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in liquid until you achieve the desired syrup consistency. Serve warm.