Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blue Grape Pancakes

Those of us living in Ontario or the northeastern United States have always been fortunate to be able to enjoy baskets of fresh Concord grapes every fall. Even more fortunate has been the arrival several years ago of a seedless variety known locally as "Coronation" or "Ontario Blue Grapes". Bursting with an unmistakeable sweet and tangy juice, I snack on these deep-blue-skinned grapes almost compulsively at this time of year, and both Concords and Coronations are great for jams, jellies, preserves, and even pies.

Blue Grape Pancakes

After the first basket or two disappeared from the snack bowls that I set out every day on the table, I knew I had to put these amazing Coronation grapes to use in a treat to share with my blog readers. I was delighted recently by Kevin's idea at Closet Cooking of freezing pieces of cream cheese to put into pancake batter for his Blueberry Cheesecake Pancakes, and then the idea of pancakes with a blue grape sauce struck me. If you like the flavour of Concord grape jellies, you'll be blown away with this blue grape sauce! Best of all, it makes plenty extra to store in a tight-sealed container for several days to pour over ice cream or other baked treats.

If you can't find Coronation grapes, Concords may be used if they are available in your area — follow the instructions below for seeding the grapes. Muscats would make an interesting option as well. If using other table grapes, add an extra tablespoon or two of sugar or honey to the sauce.

Blue Grape Pancake
Blue Grape Pancakes


4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten

Blue Grape Sauce:

2 cups blue grapes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar or honey
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon warm water
juice from 1/2 lemon

The night before making the pancakes, cut the cream cheese into small pieces. Lay the pieces between two pieces of wax paper and freeze.

Prepare the blue grape sauce by mashing the blue grapes in a bowl. If using seeded grapes like Concords, first squeeze the end of each grape opposite the stem to separate the skins from the pulp and set the skins aside for the sauce. Mash the grapes well and press through a strainer to remove the seeds. Add the mashed grapes (and their skins if separated) to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat with the 1/4 cup of water and sugar or honey, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer gently, stirring occasionally. Mix the cornstarch with the tablespoon of warm water, and stir into the sauce. Keep the sauce at a low simmer while the pancakes are being prepared.

To make the pancakes, preheat an oven to 150°. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Beat the egg lightly in a small mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter, honey, and milk.

Pour the egg and cream cheese mixture into the dry ingredients and mix the batter with the frozen pieces of cream cheese.

Butter a non-stick griddle or cast-iron frying pan and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cups of the batter into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface and the bottom is golden brown. Flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or two or until the bottom is golden brown. Keep the finished pancakes warm on an oven-safe plate in the preheated oven.

Finish the blue grape sauce by removing the pan from the heat and stirring in the lemon juice. Serve the pancakes warm topped with generous ladles of the blue grape sauce. Makes 8-9 4-inch pancakes.

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