I’m very excited about today’s recipe: a steaming stack of gluten-free, buckwheat pancakes topped with a generous helping of raw honey, fresh banana and toasted, slivered almonds. In Italy, buckwheat or “grano saraceno” conjures up visions of hearty mountain meals (Pizzoccheri Valtellinesi, etc), but in the States it is strongly associated with pioneer times.
Understand, when I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to be a pioneer. No, not a “pioneer in my field” or any sort of generic adventurer… I specifically wanted to be a 19th-century, covered-wagon-riding, bonnet-wearing, shotgun-toting pioneer. I read every historical novel possible about the period, binge-watched “Little House on the Prairie” reruns, and obsessed over the “Oregon Trail” video game… and buckwheat was everywhere:
“Abe bought a 50 lb sack of buckwheat for the long journey ahead…”
“Papa just loved his buckwheat griddle cakes…”
“At the town hotel, two buckwheat cakes with honey cost 5 cents…”
As I grew older and the chronology of my desired career choice proved to be problematic, I shifted my focus elsewhere. I still have a special place in my heart for pioneer period-related memorabilia, including buckwheat. Besides its nostalgic value, this grain is high in nutrients, naturally gluten-free, and boasts a rich, nutty flavor that works wonderfully in pancakes.
So, in honor of childhood fantasies (and for the love of good pancakes), I urge you to try this recipe. You won’t regret it!
Buckwheat pancakes with banana and honey
- 1 1/2 cup (200 g) buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups (370 g) buttermilk (or 3/4 cup yogurt mixed with 3/4 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice)
- Vegetable oil for coating the pan
- optional garnishes: sliced banana, toasted almond slivers, raw honey or maple syrup
For 14 pancakes
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder in a large bowl.
Pour the melted butter over the dry ingredients and toss with a fork.
Beat the egg with a fork and stir it into the buttermilk. Add the buttermilk/egg mixture to the dry ingredients, and stir gently until everything is combined but do not over-mix! The batter should be a little bit lumpy. Depending on your brand of flour, you might need to add a little more buttermilk or milk to reach the desired consistency.
Heat a pan or griddle over a medium flame; put a small amount of vegetable oil in the pan and spread it around with a paper towel to coat and absorb excess oil.
Spoon the batter onto the hot pan to the desired size, about 4 inches (10 cm) wide. Allow the pancake to cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side, until bubbles begin to rise in the center of the pancake. Flip the pancake and cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until nicely browned. Repeat with remaining batter, spreading more oil on the pan with a paper towel as needed between pancakes. Place finished pancakes on a plate, covered with a clean kitchen towel and keep warm in the oven at 200°F (93°C) while you finish the rest of the batter.
Serve pancakes immediately. Top with sliced banana, toasted almonds and a generous helping of honey or maple syrup.