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Whole Wheat Pancakes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote

These pancakes are a seasonal specialty at the Daily Cafe in Portland, OR, which serves an evolving menu of simply delicious fare. The dish showcases some of the Pacific Northwest’s glorious spring produce.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. rhubarb
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 2 Tbs. water
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus room-temperature butter for serving
  • Canola oil or clarified butter for cooking

Directions:

Trim the rhubarb and cut the stalks into 1-inch lengths. Set aside.

In a heavy saucepan over high heat, combine the 3/4 cup sugar and the water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar melts. Continue cooking, without stirring, using a pastry brush dipped in cold water to wash down any sugar crystals that form inside the pan and occasionally swirling the pan by its handle, until the mixture caramelizes and turns dark amber. Add the rhubarb; the caramel will harden. Stir vigorously until the caramel melts again. Stir in the orange zest and orange juice. Cook just until the caramel mixture is syrupy and the rhubarb is tender but holds its shape, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool slightly, then stir in the strawberries. Set the compote aside.

Preheat an oven to 200°F.

In a large bowl, sift together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, the 2 Tbs. sugar, the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add any bran left in the sifter from the wheat flour, along with the 1 cup wheat bran. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, the 1/2 cup buttermilk, the eggs and melted butter. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

Preheat a griddle over high heat until hot; a few drops of water flicked onto the surface should skitter across it. Lightly oil the griddle. For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle and spread it slightly with the back of the measuring cup. Cook until bubbles form and break on the surface, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the other side, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter, oiling the griddle as needed. If the batter begins to thicken, thin it with a little more buttermilk.

Serve the pancakes hot, with the warm compote and butter. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers (Weldon Owen, 2011).