Pancakes (in their many forms) and I have had a long-term love affair.
When I was little, I would come home from school to the Greek version – a sweet doughy flatbread made in the pan by my grandmother, sprinkled with icing sugar for me (the sweet tooth) and mizithira cheese for my sister.
Growing up in Australia, childhood would not have been complete without many birthday parties spent at The Pancake Parlour. Here, my weapon of choice was a true classic – Alice in Wonderland Pancakes. Not only were they named after my all-time favourite book, but they were a buttery, stacked pile of goodness dripping in chocolate sauce and dusted with a rainbow of 100s and 1000s. How could a kid resist?
I was satisfied with my pancake experience for a long time. Then, there was my adult enlightenment, where a third lover entered my life – ricotta hotcakes.
The place? Bills, in Sydney. The butterfly moment? Those ridiculously famous, fluffy, rich ricotta hotcakes, dripping with (what else?) honeycomb butter. Wow. It was love at first bite.
With a wedding coming up later this year and a typical case of becoming a little bit softer around the edges in a haze of couples-comfort, I am on a mission. The indestructible pairing of Kayla Itsines + I Quit Sugar = almost guaranteed bikini body.
But of course, it does mean saying goodbye to a lot of majorly delicious favourites. I thought that my beloved pancakes would have been resigned to just a memory, one that occasionally presents itself in fits of nostalgia at brunch and on birthdays.
Until now. Delightful being that he is, Bill Granger posted a recipe for his hotcakes, and by a few sneaky substitutions, they are now IQS and celiac friendly.
What they're lacking in honeycomb butter, they more than make up for by reminding you that delicious treats are still possible.
Note I said treat – just because this is a possibility doesn't mean it gets to replace your poached eggs and avocado breakfast.
But if you're ever feeling down, and missing that familiar and comforting breakfast pal, here's where you can turn to get some true satisfaction.
Ricotta Hotcakes with Strawberries & Syrup
4 eggs, separated
3/4 cup milk
1 cup gluten-free plain flour
1 heaped teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 250g tub of ricotta
Strawberries & rice malt syrup, to serve
1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl.
2. Add the milk and egg yolks and mix until you form a smooth batter.
3. Add ricotta and stir gently until it just comes together (you want your ricotta to still be a bit lumpy). Set aside.
4. Place egg whites in a clean dry bowl and beat (either by hand to work up an appetite, or using a mixer) until stiff peaks form.
5.Gently fold the egg whites through the batter with a large metal spoon or plastic spatula, being careful not to knock all the air out of it.
6. Lightly grease a large non-stick frying pan with a small portion of the butter and drop 1/3 cup of batter per hotcake into the pan (don't cook more than 2 or 3 at a time).
7. Cook over a low to medium heat for 2 minutes, or until hotcakes have golden undersides and bubbles are forming on the top.
8. Turn hotcakes and cook on the other side until golden and cooked through.
9. Serve in a stack with strawberries and a drizzling of rice malt syrup.