I have always loved a weekend brunch and before I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, we frequently descended on the wide selection of places in Chiswick (where we lived before our urban Peckham life) which served all day breakfasts. By this I don’t mean the English fry up, although that had to be available as the default for Jack, but rather pancakes, waffles, brioche, poached eggs on English muffins, kedgeree and the likes of the modern American / Aussie concept of brunch.Having to eat gluten free, this is no longer much fun. Partly because you have the whole hooha of eating out and the “I’m a Coeliac” speech which for me is a little involved before the first meal of the day. But also, the gluten free selection is always the same; eggs, bacon, yoghurt, fruit... basically what I have during the week and not the indulgent, “I wouldn’t bother to make this myself for breakfast” occasion I imagine.
So rather than miss out, I have taken to experimenting with making brunch at home, and one success I have been having is with pancakes. Whilst learning about the food in India, I discovered that they use gram flour (chickpea flour) for pancakes and although the flavour of chickpeas is a little savoury for my idea of breakfast this provides a base from which to experiment. What I have found was that most gluten free flours such as rice flour, Doves plain flour, buckwheat and corn flour all make great pancakes so long as you add enough liquid. I find that adding a touch of baking powder lightens the mixture, and leaving it to rest seems to help in making a richer batter too.
The recipe below is interchangeable depending on the flours you have to hand. When I was in India I used to make coconut pancakes substituting some of the milk for coconut milk producing a richer and moister breakfast base.
In terms of toppings, I go with the season’s fruit offerings, topped with yoghurt, crème fraiche or whatever’s in the fridge, but this morning’s winning combination was vanilla apple compote, with crème fraiche and maple syrup. I’m next going to try mixing stuff into the batter... pear slices with cinnamon, raisins and maple syrup or even the last of my frozen blackberries.
2tbsp Doves gluten free plain flour
2tbsp rice flour
2tbsp gram flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg lightly beaten
about 100ml of milk
Mix together the flours, baking powder, sugar and salt making a well in the centre.
Add the egg to the well and mix in the flours gradually.
Pour in about half the milk and mix in all the dry ingredients.
You want to get the mixture to a double cream consistency, so trust yourself and use your judgement. If you add too much liquid, whisk in a little more flour a little at a time.
Set the batter aside for 10-20mins to rest if you have time.
Heat a heavy based pan on a low heat and melt a small knob of butter in the pan. (most pans are non-stick as are mine, however I like the flavour it gives. Feel free to use a little sunflower oil instead.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the mixture onto the pan to make a scotch pancake size, and repeat depending on the size of your pan and how many you can fit in.
Cook on a low to medium heat and watch for bubbles to appear on the uncooked surface before flipping the pancake with a fish slice. This should take a minute or two.
Cook on the other side for a similar amount of time being careful not to overcook and dry out your breakfast.
Remove from the pan to a warmed plate and cover in foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
Devour with seasonal toppings and yoghurt, or whatever takes your fancy.