So apparently today is Pancake Day. I had no idea this was a thing, and feel slightly disappointed for all the Pancake Days I’ve missed out on before now, but no longer! Tonight, in the JWs’ household, pancakes will be eaten. And since more than a couple of my friends have been harassing me to post my Vegan* “Crack”** Pancake recipe for awhile now, I figure there’s no better reason than Pancake Day.
Before I get to the recipe, a short explanation. Some of my more cultured friends have expressed shock that I’ve never heard of Pancake Day. I guess that’s what growing up in a primarily Protestant Christian atmosphere will do to you – little awareness of traditions with predominantly Catholic roots (or perhaps that’s no excuse and I really am the only one who’s been living in a hole all these years). Pancake Day, in case any of you are also learning about it for the first time today, is synonymous with “Shrove Tuesday” a.k.a. “Fat Tuesday,” the day before “Ash Wednesday,” the beginning of Lent. The idea is to stuff yourself with rich foods (i.e. sugar-dairy-egg-heavy pancakes) before a month of abstaining from the pleasures of life. In some communities this is also celebrated with pancake races, wherein contestants have to dress like housewives and race while flipping pancakes in a frying pan. This tradition was reportedly started by a housewife who was so intently flipping pancakes that she didn’t realize the time until the church bells began to ring, and she then proceeded to race to the church, still in her apron and frying pan with cooking pancake still in hand.
Anyways, without further adieu, here’s the recipe:
Banana “Crack” Pancakes
These pancakes are certifiably vegan-friendly** thanks to the soy milk and the banana, which substitutes for the egg contained in most other pancake recipes. The draw for my husband and I is our lactose intolerance and his egg allergy, but we’ve found that all of our friends who we’ve served them to have accused us of lacing them with crack because of how delicious they taste. This effect is intensified by topping them with maple syrup and/or homemade blueberry sauce, and (for the carnivores among us) serving them alongside a pile of bacon.
One recipe’s worth makes about 10-12 small pancakes, enough to satisfy two people. Multiply the recipe per two people for groups.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 banana, mashed (ripe or over-ripe bananas are okay, same as banana bread, but avoid using bananas that are too under-ripe).
- 3/4 – 1 cup soy milk***
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Sift the flour into a medium-large bowl, then add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whisk together.
2. Mash the banana in a small-medium bowl, the add soy milk, vegetable oil and vanilla. Stir gently only until combined.
3. Add the banana liquid mixture to the dry ingredients and mix gently with a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Don’t overmix or the banana will cause the pancakes to become rubbery; it should be mixed until combined but doesn’t have to be totally smooth. Poison-test the batter.****
4. Let the mixture sit for at least 10-15 minutes before cooking.
5. Lightly grease a frying pan and heat it over low-medium heat. Add approximately 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Once the pancake begins to bubble and the edges start to look less shiny, flip with a spatula and cook the other side. The pancakes are ready when they’re light golden brown on each side and nothing oozes out!
6. (Optional) To make double-banana pancakes, add thinly-sliced banana to the pancake batter after pouring it into the pan, then flip and cook. The banana slices will naturally caramelize as the pancake fries, but make sure the heat isn’t too high as they will burn before the rest of the pancake does.
7. (Optional) Serve with butter, maple syrup and/or homemade blueberry sauce, and a pile of bacon.
And there you have it! Happy Pancake Day, everyone!
*These pancakes are named such for their delicious and addictive properties, not for their actual ingredients. In other words, no actual crack is used in the making of these pancakes.
**Some vegans may object to certain ingredients still included in this recipe (such as regular flour), however, the results of this recipe were happily consumed by my hardcore vegan friend who had long since given up expecting any sort of special flour in Japan, and had failed to confirm whether any animal products are actually used in Japan’s flour-making process in particular.
***Adjust this amount depending on (a) how large or small the banana you use is and (b) how humid or dry the climate is. If you’re unsure I’d suggest starting with 3/4 cup and adding more if necessary, based on the consistency, after all the ingredients are mixed.
****Poison-testing, also known as taste-testing, is a necessary technique to ensure nothing has gone wrong along the way. Recently this saved my pancakes as I somehow forgot to add the sugar up until this point. Fear not, for the lack of raw egg makes this batter perfectly safe for cooks of all ages!