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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Quinoa Pear Hoecakes

A friend of a friend sent me an intimidating list of allergens her son has to avoid. Fortunately, I've had either personal experience with them or I have had to feed my husband or nephew while avoiding those foods. The challenge is usually coming up with pancakes, waffles, or some kind of grain based breakfast item that has a good texture and holds together well without using corn, rice, or potato starch. These pancakes remind me much more of hoecakes, which are traditionally made with cornmeal, giving it a more interesting texture. They are also straddling the line between savory and sweet. Quinoa is very savory, and the only sweetener in this batter is pear puree. This could easily be converted into a versatile flat bread that would go well with savory beans or a bean puree and al dente vegetables.

Pear Quinoa Hoecakes
Makes over 10 small hoecakes (1 1/2" diameter)
1 Pear, pureed
1 Pear, julienned
3.5 oz Quinoa, ground
3.5 oz Sorghum flour
1 oz Tapioca flour
1 Tb Chia seeds, ground
1/2 tsp Baking Powder*
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
3 T Safflower Oil
4 oz Hemp Milk
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar

* Baking powder is something that should be purchased with some research and caution. Many mainstream baking powders have either corn or gluten in them. Hain Baking Powder is the brand I usually use, but it has potato starch in it. You could alter the recipe to 1 3/4 tsp baking soda and add a little more vinegar instead of using Baking Powder.

I used pear in this recipe as a binder, sweetener, and to add some texture and moisture. If you do not like the texture, feel free to skip julienned pear and puree it instead. Another option is to substitute with baking apples like McIntosh. McIntosh are soft apples that tend to lose their structure a bit during cooking, which is what you actually want here, as opposed to eating apples like Fuji. To julienne the pear, I halved and cored the pear, then cut into fine "sticks."

Quinoa flour can be quite expensive, so I buy my quinoa in bulk and use a cheap coffee grinder to make my flour. The flour is a bit course compared to store bought quinoa flour, but this isn't a bad thing for most dishes. The course grind is what gives this the texture of a hoecake.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well. Add in the pear puree, julienned pear, safflower oil, hemp milk, and apple cider vinegar once your skillet is up to temperature. Gently fold in the wet ingredients if you want to find some pear in your hoecake, otherwise mix away! I put in enough oil to keep an ample coating in the pan - on the verge of pan frying the bottom of the cake a bit. Flip the cakes when they begin to bubble and appear cooked around the edges. You may have to work around the bottom of the cake gingerly before flipping them to keep their slightly crispy exterior intact. I use a ceramic pan instead of teflon, and have noticed things tend to stick more as my pan ages. I feel it's worth having a non-teflon pan.

The amount of oil I recommend along with keeping the hoe cakes small will keep you from cursing my recipe and your frying pan. I learned this the hard way and was about ready to give up on the recipe. I'm very glad I kept at it because Lance and I really enjoyed them!

At first I thought this recipe was a failure.

Once I adjusted the oil and made smaller cakes, they turned out great!
These cakes can be served several ways. Because they are a bit savory, I added a little powdered sugar. I enjoyed mine with a drizzle of molasses, which is a great source of potassium, calcium, and iron. Lance enjoyed his with powdered sugar and strawberries, although they'd be fine with maple syrup.

Molasses has a very distinct flavor, but it's rich in Iron

If you want a savory cake, I would use one pureed pear or apple, skip the julienned addition and add chopped scallions to the batter.

Are there breakfast items you miss because of a diet change or allergy?

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