Pancake Tuesday for many is a last chance to indulge in some sweet and savoury delights before Lent begins. For those with coeliac disease it can pose many challenges as well.
Fortunately, the Coeliac Society of Ireland has shared some tasty and healthy pancake recipes for those on a gluten-free diet, among them a tribute from chef Finn Ní Fhaolain to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, which she describes as “hot and sweet”.
“This is my absolute favourite pancake recipe, it’s easily adapted and goes really well on its own with a little sugar and lemon or with lots of maple syrup as part of a more extravagant brunch,” said gluten-free chef Ní Fhaolain, who has several recipes on the Coeliac Society website.
Gluten occurs naturally in that flour that is one of the main ingredients of regular pancake mix we use to celebrate Shrove Tuesday. Consuming even a small amount can have a big impact on the health of someone suffering from coeliac disease.
An estimated 47,000 people — one in every 100 — in Ireland have coeliac disease. Symptoms of the lifelong autoimmune condition include abdominal pain, recurring mouth ulcers, weight loss, vomiting and diarrhoea. If untreated, coeliac disease can affect fertility and lead to other health conditions such as osteoporosis. There is no cure for coeliac disease, the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet.
The new edition of the Coeliac Society’s Food List is published later this month. It contains information about 569 brands and 7,280 gluten-free products, and is distributed free to Coeliac Society members.
“Sweet and hot, like Canada’s prime minister. The first time I had banana pancakes with bacon and maple syrup I was eight years old, having breakfast with my mom in downtown Toronto. They were so amazing and created such a strong memory that I still know what my mom had – eggs Benedict – and what the mural on the wall was – a big tree and flowering garden.”
2 cups (240g ) gluten-free self-raising flour
1½ tsp GF baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt – one twist of a salt grinder
1 cup (240ml ) milk
1 cup (240ml ) water
2 ripe bananas, ie, with brown-looking skin
Coconut oil or butter for frying
Put all the dry ingredients in a big bowl and mix. If you are feeling fancy you can sift them first.
In a big jug, lash in the milk and water, crack in the eggs, and chuck in the bananas. Blend with a hand blender.
Make a well in the dry mix, pour in the wet mix in and blend. You should have a runny batter. I don’t add anything sweet, as there are natural sugars in the banana and I’ll probably drown the pancakes in maple syrup later. Pour the batter into a jug.
Heat up a good non-stick pan to a medium-high heat. Pancakes can stick to an old crappy pan; this can make you frustrated and lead to your throwing the pan out the window into the back garden – not that I’m admitting I did that, just saying it can happen.
To coat the pan, I melt about a tablespoon of oil or butter in it and swirl it around. Then I gently rub the pan down with a piece of kitchen paper, which I’m sure would draw a gasp of horror from most chefs. This blots the excess butter, so your pancakes don’t feel like they were cooked in grease.
I do a tester pancake to make sure the pan is hot enough. It should take 30–50 seconds for bubbles to form on the top of the pancake. Now flip it over and cook for another 30 to 50 seconds.
These pancakes will expand so make them small, ie, about two tablespoons of batter each. If you were around in the nineties, these pancakes should look like the ones Sabrina the Teenage Witch kept dreaming about when she had a pancake addiction. You should be able to get about three at a time in a decent-sized pan.
I usually serve these pancakes as a stack with a little knob of butter on top, a pile of crispy bacon on the side, and drowned in maple syrup.