Peaches divine, please be mine

Who doesn’t love pancakes? Light, fluffy and oh-so-versatile, they can be adapted to sweet or savoury dishes (though I stop short of serving a rump steak on top of a buckwheat pancake, as once witnessed at the pancake parlour!) and are generally just a marvellous way to start, sustain or end the day ;) And whilst I thought I made a decent pancake, it wasn’t till I first tried my hand at buttermilk pancakes that I realized just how fluffy, delicate and moist they really could be! However, though that recipe was super-tasty, the pancakes were a bit too moist for my liking, and hence I kept my eye out for another recipe that would give me a product with a little more body without sacrificing that delightful airiness that had won my heart.

However, what led me to these pancakes was not this particular search, but my mother’s inability to buy stone fruits. Once a fortnight my ma usually heads out to the markets to stock up on fruit (we only buy fruit and veg from the local supermarket if extremely desperate for something right this instant). On her way out the door my sister requested that she get some peaches, so a few hours later she returned with 2kg of peaches, much to the delight of me and my siblings.

Quite the happy chappy, my brother grabbed a peach and commented that it felt a little firm. And then he washed it and bit into it. When I heard some unhappy grunting, I turned around to see the peach had become wedged in his teeth – not exactly the kind of thing that you’d expect a peach to do! Unfortunately for us, every single peach that had been bought was completely unripe and as hard as a rock!

What could be done so that we didn’t have to wait a few weeks for these peaches to reach optimal ripeness and sweetness? I started flipping through some of my old editions of the Australian Gourmet Traveller, remembering that I’d seen a special on stone fruits in one of them, and eventually came back to the buttermilk pancakes with glazed white nectarines that I had bookmarked as a recipe to try! Though I had no white nectarines, I thought the peaches would be close enough and so I decided to give it a whirl.

I did have to tweak the recipe a little as I don’t think the writer intended it to be made with unripe fruit, but in the end it worked out fine and I had a stack of gorgeously fluffy pancakes with some soft, syrupy peach segments to sit atop like a golden-pink crown of fruity goodness. I’ve no idea how many calories this may contain, but I suggest that you save it for a weekend breakfast of indulgence…perhaps with a dollop of ice cream on the side? ;)

Buttermilk Pancakes with Glazed Peaches
(adapted from February 2007 edition of Australian Gourmet Traveller)

Ingredients
4 ripe peaches
80g pure icing sugar
Juice and zest from 1 large orange
2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Optional: Icing sugar, vanilla ice cream or creme fraiche to serve

Buttermilk pancakes
150g self-raising flour
50g pure icing sugar (not soft icing mixture!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, seperated
310 mL buttermilk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
20g unsalted butter

1. Sift together the flour and icing sugar and set aside. Whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk and vanilla, then pour into the flour and whisk together to combine.

2. Beat eggwhites till you have soft peaks, then use a large metal spoon to carefully fold them into the pancake batter. Set this aside for now.

3. Peel the peaches and cut them into segments (eighths if you have large fruit, sixths if you have small). Combine the sugar, orange juice, orange zest and Grand Marnier in a large frying pan and bring to the boil.

4. Cook syrup for 1-2 minutes or till it is slightly reduced and syrupy, then add the peaches and cook them for 1-2 minutes on each side till they are softened and glazed. Remove the peaches and add 2 tbsp water to the syrup, reduce the heat to low and stir the water through till the syrup has dissolved into the water.

5. In a seperate frying pan or griddle, heat half the butter and oil over low-medium heat and fry 1/4 cup of the mixture at a time, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes or till golden brown.

6. Once the pancakes are done, serve them with a few wedges of glazed peaches on each plate, drizzling with the syrup. Serve with ice cream or cream fraiche if you want a little more decadence :)

[tags] fruit, peaches, pancakes, buttermilk, recipes, breakfast, dessert[/tags]

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