Easy recipe for deliciously light and fluffy thick-style pancakes. These Dairy-free, Gluten-free and ‘drop scones’ use tapioca, chestnut and coconut flours.
Gluten-free pancakes can be difficult to master, as they are prone to falling apart in the pan or having a strong and unpleasant flavour. ‘Drop Scone’ American-style pancakes are better suited to gluten removal than French-style crepes, as the thick, compact structure means that they are less fragile in the pan. Wheat flour is strong, elastic, absorbent and neutral-tasting. The key to successfully replacing wheat flour is to replicate the protein and starch structure by using a combination of gluten-free protein flours and powdered starches. (Read my Guide to Replacing Wheat Flour with Gluten-free Flour for more information.)
Properties of flour:
- strength: egg replicates the sticky properties of gluten, as the proteins contained in the whites coagulate to form a solid mass when heated. Honey is also physically sticky.
- elasticity: tapioca flour is a neutral-tasting starch, which becomes gelatinous when mixed with water. It produces a chewy or spongy texture, but needs to be used in combination with a heavier flour to avoid gumminess.
- hydration: coconut flour is incredibly absorbent. This means that it is good for creating stiffer mixes, by wicking up excess moisture.
- flavour: chestnut flour has a nutty, slightly earthy flavour that falls somewhere in the middle of sweet and savoury. Chestnuts have unusually high carbohydrate content for a nut, which results in a fluffier and lighter texture.
This combination creates beautifully light and fluffy pancakes, when coupled with the correct cooking technique. The key to achieving this texture is to flip the pancakes at the exact point when the egg proteins have set around the little pockets of air produced by the baking soda, but before the bottom has started to overcook and burn. Happily, it is easy enough to recognise this point, as the air bubbles will rise to the top and form large bubbles on the surface. If you find that the underside is browning too much, reduce the heat. If you find that your pancakes are gummy and wet in the middle, increase the heat or cooking time. It may take you a couple of batches until you discover the optimum heat for making pancakes on your stove. All you need to do is watch your little pancakes closely, and adjust the heat to make them happy.
In devising this recipe, I have been mindful of making one that is easy to remember (by using multiples of 2 for the main ingredients), and easy to make first thing in the morning. You can make the batter the night before, minus the baking soda, and store it covered in the fridge. When mixed with acid (in this recipe, honey), baking soda reacts and produces carbon dioxide. It is these bubbles that create a light and fluffy texture in baked goods. As the reaction is immediate, baking soda should only be added to batters just before they are about to be cooked, so that the egg proteins trap the air as they set. Alternatively, you can cook the pancakes in advance and warm them just before serving. To avoid sogginess, the best way to reheat pancakes is by using direct, dry heat, such as a grill or an un-oiled pan on the stove (do not use a pan with non-stick coating). But you can also reheat pancakes in the microwave, or in an oven preheated to 180°C/355°F (cover the tray with tin foil to prevent burning). You can store cooked pancakes out of the fridge in an airtight container overnight, but transfer to the fridge if you are storing them for longer, or live in a hot climate.
|1 (makes 3 pancakes)|
|Gluten-free Fluffy American Pancakes|
for the batter:
for greasing the pan: