This one’s for you, Shal! At work the other day, I was musing about what I should make for the blog this week. I put the call out to see if anyone had any requests or suggestions to help me along. Without missing a beat, my friend Shalisha said, “Rhubarb… pancakes.” Done.
I just happened to have some rhubarb and strawberries in my freezer, and just knew that they would make a scrumptious topping for some hearty oatmeal pancakes. I have two large rhubarb bushes (plants? whatever you call them) on my property that produce loads of the sour pink stalks all summer long. At the end of the season, I chop up whatever I haven’t managed to use and store it in my freezer for use all year. It’s not quite rhubarb time here yet this year, but it was certainly high time for me to clear out my freezer of last year’s crop.
I always keep a variety of fruits and vegetables in my freezer for tossing into things like smoothies, sauces or soups. I have no problem using frozen ingredients provided they don’t have any weird additives or preservatives in them. In the case of the strawberries I used today, the only listed ingredient was “Strawberries,” and their quality and flavour were likely higher than that of the fresh but pale, out-of-season berries that I would have bought at my grocery store anyway.
This compote is really fantastic – it has to be, because as a true Canadian it is borderline sacrilege for me to top my pancakes with anything but real maple syrup. The final product is a cheerful bright reddish-pink colour, and the flavour of the tart rhubarb is incredibly well balanced by the sweet strawberries and a splash of vanilla. You will end up with more compote than you need for this recipe of pancakes, but leftovers are fabulous spooned onto muffins or scones (or any baked good, really), rolled into crepes, or as a topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt.
The pancake recipe as I’ve included it here was somewhat of a happy accident. I used my go-to oatmeal pancake recipe, but I unfortunately only had one egg and the recipe requires two. Luckily, I had some ground flax seed in my refrigerator, and 1 tablespoon of ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water can be used as an egg substitute. I think I will keep using the flax substitute for at least one (if not both) eggs here, as the flax helped give the pancakes a wonderful texture and flavour, and we enjoyed them even more than the 2-egg version.
Reader, you will notice that there is ginger in the pancakes, and if you have been reading the blog lately you may be aware that the last three recipes I have shared have included ginger. What can I say? I love the flavour of ginger in both sweet and savoury recipes. It’s one of my favourite secret ingredients, and I always have it in the house in a number of forms: ground, pureed, whole raw ginger root, crystallized, in tea form…. The list goes on. I’m not apologizing, but I promise I will try to branch out a little bit more.
Bon appetit, and a big merci to Shalisha for the inspiration. 🙂
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen)
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered (fresh or frozen)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 and ½ cups milk (I used soy milk, but any dairy or nut milk would work, as would buttermilk)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg + 1 flax egg substitute (1 tablespoon ground flax seed + 3 tablespoons water. Or you can use 2 eggs, or 2 flax eggs. Your choice!)
- In a heavy saucepan, combine rhubarb, sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until rhubarb is tender and beginning to break down, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in strawberries and vanilla and cook for 5 more minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger and cinnamon. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add milk, vanilla, oil and eggs. Mix together gently until all ingredients are moistened, but do not over mix or the pancakes will be tough. Set batter aside to rest for 5 minutes.
- Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray or brush with oil, and ladle ¼-cup of batter at a time onto griddle. Cook until the edges look dry and small bubbles appear on the surface, then flip and continue cooking until the bottoms are golden brown. Remove cooked pancakes to serving platter and repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately.
- Keep leftovers in the refrigerator; pancakes will keep for a day or two, while the compote will keep for up to 1 week.
Source: Pancake recipe my own; compote recipe adapted from Epicurious (originally published in Bon Appetit, May 1993).