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Ginger-Pear Pancakes

Ginger-Pear Pancakes
Fresh ginger brings a lively, warm, spicy flavor to these pancakes. In the market, look for ginger that is hard and heavy, with an unbroken peel that is thin, pale and smooth. To prepare fresh ginger, peel it with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. Once peeled, it is often grated to capture its flavor without its fibrous texture. Porcelain ginger graters, specially designed to let you use the aromatic juice and flesh without the tough fibers, are sold in Asian markets and specialty cookware stores. You can also use the smallest rasps on a metal grater.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 Tbs. raw or turbinado sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. firmly packed, grated fresh ginger with
      juice
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ripe Anjou or other sweet pear, peeled, cored
      and cut into 3/8-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup ginger preserves or marmalade, warmed

Directions:

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk in the sugar, then make a well in the center. Pour the egg, milk, grated ginger with juice and 2 Tbs. of the melted butter into the well, then gradually whisk from the center outward until the ingredients are well combined but still a little lumpy; do not overmix or the pancakes will be heavy. Gently stir in the pear. The batter will be fairly thin.

Preheat a nonstick or cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat until a drop of water flicked onto the surface dances and evaporates instantly. Brush the griddle with a little of the remaining 4 Tbs. melted butter. Slowly ladle a scant 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle, centering the ladle over the batter so it spreads out into a circle on its own. Continue ladling out the batter to make as many pancakes as you can without letting them touch. If they do touch, separate with the edge of a spatula.

When the pancakes have begun to bubble in the center and a few of the bubbles have popped and the undersides are golden, after about 2 minutes, flip them with the spatula. Cook until golden on the other side, about 1 minute more, then transfer to a platter in a low (200°F) oven to keep warm. Cook the remaining pancakes in the same way, adding butter to the griddle as needed.

Transfer the pancakes to warmed individual plates and serve immediately, topped with a dollop of warmed ginger preserves. Serves 3 or 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Breakfast, by Brigit L. Binns (Simon & Schuster, 2003).