Pancakes made with typical white flour, white sugar, and eggs can be superheavy and flavorless. However, this whole-grain, egg-free, hearty but not heavy pancake will have you hooked at first bite. Note that pancake batter, particularly when made with whole-grain flours, tends to thicken as it sits. Add more liquid, if needed, so that the batter spreads on the hot griddle.
1. Begin heating a heavy griddle or well-seasoned cast-iron pan on low heat.
2. Place a wire mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Add the corn- meal, both of the spelt flours (or pastry flour, if using), baking powder, cinnamon, and salt to the strainer. Stir with a wire whisk to sift the ingredients into the bowl. Add any cornmeal left in the strainer into the bowl. Whisk to aerate the mixture.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the almond milk, maple syrup, oil, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar until thoroughly combined. Pour into the dry mixture and stir with a silicone spatula, only until the batter is smooth. The batter may in- crease and thicken at this point. Wait half a minute and stir with a fork. Add a scant cup of the diced banana and the nuts. Adjust the consistency of the batter if needed so that it falls off a spoon in heavy puddles.
4. Oil the griddle. Increase the heat to medium. When a few drops of water dance on the griddle, begin making the pancakes. Ad- just the heat as needed to ensure the pancakes brown but don’t burn.
5. Pour a scant cup of batter on the griddle, leav- ing about 2 inches between pancakes. Cook the first side for about 2 minutes. Resist any urge to move them. Bubbles will form on the top side of the pancakes and the edges will set. Slip a thin, flexible, wide spatula under the edges to loosen the edges, then flip. Cook the second side for about 1 minute. Don’t worry; this side never cooks as evenly as the first side.
6. Top each pancake serving with some of the reserved bananas and more nuts. Warm and mix maple syrup and apple cider. Drizzle the warm syrup over the pancakes, bearing in mind that a little (1 tablespoon) is enough. Pancakes taste best when served straight from the griddle but these can be held in a low-heat (200°F) oven for 5 to 10 minutes. Cover with parchment.
Recipe contributed by pastry chef Fran Costigan, creator of The Vegan Baking Boot Camp Intensive® and is adapted from her cookbook, More Great Good Dairy- Free Desserts Naturally. www.francostigan.com