Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Fun with Nutella

Is there any more polarizing food than Nutella? People either love it or hate it. But very rarely is anyone indifferent about it. Many cyclists consider it ambrosia. Many women consider it ambrosia. Many other people think it was created in the bowels of hell and should stay there.

I am a reformed Nutella consumer. I loved it as a child, hated it once my hormones kicked in, and now, in the twilight of my biological clock years, am starting to love it once again. (Maybe it's an estrogen thing...?) 

I've already made the aforementioned crack cookies (in my previous blog), which are still the best cookies I have ever made. I tried a stuffed Nutella cookie, and it was okay, but they weren't as "cracky".

Now, it's strawberry season. We're two weeks early this year, thanks to the summer conditions we had in and around the Greater Toronto Area in March and early April. In late April, we did have a frost, and some of our strawberry farmers struggled to keep their plants alive. But alive they stayed, and so I picked up the first sweet Ontario strawberries of the season  last weekend.

My son is currently in a strawberry phase. "I love strawberries because they are so healthy!" he says. Except when it comes to eating them. He likes looking at them, smelling them, but putting them in his mouth whole? Nope. Still won't do it.

So I was stuck with this quart of strawberries. I suppose I could have eaten them all, but that would be selfish of me (never mind I really don't feel up for a cleanse at the moment). And I was stuck for a breakfast idea. I was going to make strawberry muffins, but muffins last way too long in my house since, well, I don't eat them. My son will eat them the day they are made, but after that, they sit there. And my partner is off carbs at the moment. 

I made a batch of crack cookies yesterday, and stared at the Nutella jar on the counter this morning. What goes with strawberries better than chocolate? There had to be a recipe out there for strawberry Nutella something...sure, lots of recipes for Nutella pancakes with strawberries on top. But again, that doesn't solve the problem of my son's disdain for fruit looking like fruit.

So I made up my own recipe. And he ate it. And so did everyone else. So I'm sharing it with you, because really, if you're a Nutella junkie fan, it's only fair to share Nutella recipes with the world:

Strawberry Nutella Pancakes

Makes 7 large or 12 mid-small pancakes

1 cup plain flour (all-purpose or whole wheat or bread flour)
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar (white or brown)
1 1/2 - 2 tsp baking powder (depending on how fluffy you want your pancakes)
1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg
1 cup plain milk (not buttermilk or cream)
1/4 - 1/3 cup Nutella (to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp melted unsalted butter, cooled
1 pint minimum but not more than 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled, washed, and pureed

First things first - wash your strawberries. Don't buy a huller. Just use a paring knife and cut the green part off. These are being pureed, so there's no need to make them look fancy. Puree them in a chopper or food processor (or a mortar and pestle if you have the time, but most of us are busy trying to wake up children and/or make sure they don't kill themselves during unsupervised play time). Set aside.

Blend all the dry ingredients together in a large-ish bowl. Don't use a spoon. Use a whisk, pastry blender, or a fork. Make sure the baking powder is incorporated well into the flour. If you want, you can add a dash (1/4 tsp) of cinnamon or cardamom or both into the dry ingredients at this point. Set aside.

Mix all the wet ingredients, including the  Nutella and strawberries, into a medium bowl. For this, don't use a whisk. You can use a spoon or a fork, but if the Nutella is in globs, it's not a problem, really. Just make sure your eggs are a little scrambled into your milk, berries, and Nutella. 

Now, here's the secret to fluffy, yummy pancakes: Dump the wet into the dry. Stir, or better, fold in less than 10 times with a spoon (or whatever you used to mix the wet ingredients together), until most of the flour is barely blended in. Do not overmix. It doesn't have to be homogeneous. It just has to "meet" - dry, meet wet.  

Second secret to great pancakes - get a cast iron skillet. It can be used as a weapon, but it's the best thing ever for pancakes. It holds heat well, is thick enough to keep the fire off the bottom, and they come out oh-so fluffalicious! Use a ladle or large spoon to pour batter into the centre of the skillet for a pancake large enough to eat but small enough that you can handle easily. And watch. Soon you'll see little bubbles start to appear at the surface. Keep watching. The bubbles will burst and not close up. Keep watching. The edges will start to look dry and matte. There you go. Use your flipper, slide it under, and flip! Perfect pancake. Wait until the bottom looks as dry as the top of your edge, and then turn onto a plate. Or, if you're still not sure, stick them in a warm (185F) oven until you've finished your batch and are ready to serve.

I served these with whipped cream (like cream I whipped myself by hand, unsweetened. Not that stuff in a can. And good lord NOT cool whip!), and maple syrup, and for my stepdaughter, topped with whole tiny strawberries. 

Sorry I only have pics of the prep, but you'll see, they are a pretty colour. And if you have Nutella fiends in your house...they'll just ask for more!!

No comments:

Post a Comment