This recipe is inspired by my very dear friend Amie, an amazing mom to two very young daughters that I love to death and sometimes get to have dance parties with, decked out in tutus and tiaras, in their living room. One of Amie’s many impressive breakfast creations is a baked apple pancake. While I’ve never tasted it myself (gluten and dairy), it looks amazing, and the girls gobble it up.
By the way, I dare you to tell me that these aren’t two of the most precious children you’ve ever seen. And, come on, Ginger Ann and Lucy Jane?!?! They slay me. Though I hope Amie won’t for my putting a picture up with Ginger’s face covered in food. And I think about two minutes after the picture of Lucy I couldn’t save her beautiful sweater from the hot chocolate I ordered her. But Ginger looks awesome in those Yoko Ono sunglasses, no? I digress.
Anyway, Amie gave me her basic process for this pancake, and I locked it away to make for myself when the time was right. This morning, the time was right.
I decided to use Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix as the basis for the pancake so I can make these at my parents’ or boyfriend’s homes – which are the places I usually make such decadent things for breakfast. And while baked apple pancakes are divine, I wanted to work into the recipes the berries that are actually delightfully sweet right now (thank you, product of Mexico) with the tartness of organic lemon juice and the sweetness of xylitol.
A note on xylitol. I try to use sweeteners as little as possible when I bake which, I know, is blasphemous in most kitchens. When I do, I usually try to keep it to maple syrup, which has all the glorious nutrients of the trees it came from. But because I wanted to blend some sweetness in without the caramel flavor of maple syrup, I used xylitol. My doctor recommends this as a sweetener and, yes, I do always listen to what he says because he’s the genius that got me healthy again.
What is xylitol? It’s a natural sweetener that has 30% less calories, 75% less carbohydrates and causes relatively little change in insulin levels, so it’s safer for those with diabeties and hypoglycemia. It’s also great for teeth (in some toothpaste) and aids digestion. And it’s just as sweet as white sugar, with only a slightly larger grain, so it’s easy to use in baking. It can be found, affordably, at most natural health markets.
Now, to the recipe!
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/2 cups rinsed blackberries
- 3 Tbsp xylitol (or sweetener of choice), separated
- 1 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Pancake Mix
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or soy, cow, rice etc.)
- 4 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp starch (I used tapioca, but you could use corn or potato)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with a rack in the middle.
- Toss blackberries with 2 Tbsp sweetener or sugar in a bowl and let sit.
- Combine the pancake flour, eggs, baking powder, milk and 2 Tbsp lemon juice in a separate bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine, incorporating as much air as possible.
- Melt 2 tbsp butter in saucepan on medium heat. When melted, be sure to make sure all surfaces of the pan are coated.
- Quickly toss the blackberries in the butter, and spread out evenly in pan.
- Pour on the pancake batter, smoothing over until the blackberries are completely covered, and put pan (without a lid) into preheated oven.
- Meanwhile, in a (very) small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp xylitol (or sweetener of choice) and 1 tsp starch. Blend thoroughly with a fork.
- When the pancake has been baking for about 5 minutes, make a few slices in the top, pour on the lemon mixture, and return to oven.
- Continue baking for another 15 minutes or until slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and let sit for five minutes before running a metal spatula around the sides of the pan.
The Dusty Baker’s Notes:
Now, I used a 3.5 quart stainless-steel Cuisinart saute pan that could go easily from the stove to the oven. Other amazing options would be a cast iron skillet (yay!) or a Pyrex dish. If using Pyrex, simply melt the butter and pour it into coat.
To present the pancake, I recommend NOT flipping it to expose the blackberry top. There are a lot of delicious berries in this recipe, but because of the thickness of the berries, it’s not gonna be the most beautiful thing you’ve seen from that angle. Rather, I’d cut slices and present with the browned top exposed. You could also sprinkle the top with your sugar of choice after adding the lemon drizzle for a prettier finish.
This pancake was deliciously sweet to me – not too much that it tasted like a dessert, but enough that I actually didn’t use syrup with it. The sweet blackberries in a light and neutral pancake compliment each other well, along with the tang of lemon. To pump it up a notch, I’d using the zest of an entire lemon in the pancake batter (this was a step I had completely forgotten I wanted to include that I’ll definitely try when I make this again this weekend).