Sunday, August 18, 2013

Vegan and (Mostly) Gluten-Free Blueberry-Banana Pancakes with Blueberry-Maple Sauce

Blueberry-Banana Pancake with a poached egg.
Blueberry pancakes remind me of childhood vacations in Boothbay Harbor, ME. We'd stay in a quiet and understated motel (Ship Ahoy) on Southport Island, overlooking a rocky, island-studded ocean. We spent the days swimming in the pool, fishing off the dock, or strolling the quaint downtown. The quiet nights bloomed softly with foghorn flowers and waves watering the rocks below.

In the morning, I'd wake like a chickadee before the rest of my family and wander through the pines -- the sharp smell of the drying needles must be the most energizing tonic I know -- to the tumbling rocks that, once climbed, afforded birds-eye views of the curve of the bay. From my perch I would watch the lobstering men haul in their crates as the sun slowly intensified. It always seemed to me on those mornings that we were alone in our consciousness of the world : the sun, the lobstering men, the birds, and me.

The sun had its worshippers on the beaches and in the pools, and the birds their territories. The lobstering men had their haul, but what was my reward for getting up with the dawn? Surely just the walk through nature was beautiful enough, but there was more. Wild blueberries. They grew in a field alongside a wooded area in the center of the motel's property and studded the bramble-shaded rocks I would climb. I always got a small handful for my labors. Those blueberries tasted like sweetened rain, caramelized earth, the essence of good.

 I must say that I took them for granted -- I thought the world knew about wild blueberries and how to find them and why. It was years later after watching friends shun in fear the wild offerings that I'd stumble upon ("Ew! You're gonna eat something that you, like, just found? Are you sure that's not poison? Why aren't they bigger? The bigger ones are better.")  that I learned what a gift it is not only to have wild blueberries but the knowledge of them.

Anyway, once the sun began to burn my eyes, I'd leave my rocky seat and join my family, now awake. They'd be preparing to go to either The Blue Ship for their outrageously large and delicious cinnamon buns or to the Lawnmere Inn for a true Maine breakfast: wild blueberry pancakes with blueberry sauce.

So -- this recipe is NOT the Lawnmere's recipe. It's not a traditional recipe at all. It emerged from my strong desire to have blueberry pancakes on a Sunday morning when I didn't have any eggs. Then I remembered a recent Shape article that featured "healthy" substitutions for favored foods, including eggs. So, using the substitution (ground flaxseed and water), I decided to make other substitutions as well and see how they turned out.

Whenever you swap out white flour for a whole grain or nut flour (I used a combination of whole spelt and coconut flours), you're going to get a denser product. So, expect that. I lighten the recipe a bit with some baking soda. You'll see in the picture that even with all my substitutions, the pancakes rose nicely.

So, why bananas? Because I really like them with blueberries. :)

Vegan, Mostly Gluten-Free Blueberry-Banana Pancakes with Blueberry-Maple Sauce

BB-Banana Pancakes with BB-Maple Sauce

(makes about 11-12 medium pancakes)

Mix the following dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
1 c. spelt flour
1/2 c. coconut flour
3 packets Stevia in the Raw (or 3 tbs. of sugar)
1/2 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda

Mix the following wet ingredients in a separate medium bowl:
1 3/4 c. soymilk, unsweetened
3 tbs. melted Earth Balance original buttery spread (you can also use melted coconut oil, but it will solidify as soon as you add colder ingredients. It doesn't seem to affect the consistency of the pancakes, though)
3 tbs. ground flaxseed in 3x the water (so 9 tbs.)
1 tsp. vanilla

Fold into the wet mixture:
1/4-1/2 chopped banana (about 1/4 c.)
1/4 c. blueberries, wild if you got 'em

Then, fold the wet mixture into the dry with a few quick strokes. Do not over beat.

On the griddle, use about a tbs. of Earth Balance or oil. When the pan is hot, scoop 1/4 c. of the batter onto the hot, buttered griddle. The mixture will be dense from the flours and flax, so you will need to spread it out a little.
See how high it rises?

Once they're done on one side, flip 'em and then store the early pancakes in a warm oven until you're done and ready to serve. Serve with:

Blueberry-Maple Sauce

(serves about 4)

Combine in a saucepan on medium heat:
1 c. blueberries
1/2 - 1 tbs. maple syrup (the real stuff -- you can just go ahead and assume that every time I refer to maple syrup, I only mean the real stuff)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of cardamon (opt.)

Heat thoroughly until the blueberries burst and the mixture thickens. Serve.

Note: Neither the Lawnmere Inn nor The Blue Ship are in operation anymore. The Lawnmere became a private resident in 2008, while The Blue Ship was sold to new owners and became Andrews Harborside. The rumor is that the recipe for the cinnamon buns was part of the sale, but I found that they were never quite the same after the change. Andrews still makes them and people still like them, but . . . I'm hard to please and when something disrupts my nostalgia, I'm even harder to please.

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