At Little Goat Diner in Chicago, these fluffy pancakes are usually made with sourdough and topped with oat streusel and fruit. Here, we use molasses-steeped strawberries, making a breakfast that’s balanced with sour, sweet, and bitter flavors.
Pancakes and maple syrup are a classic combination. But in this week's episode of Mad Genius: Home Edition, Food & Wine Culinary Director-at-Large Justin Chapple gives the dish a flavor boost with the help of sourdough starter, some strawberries, and molasses. The end result? Sourdough pancakes with maple-molasses strawberries, a breakfast "balanced with sour, sweet, and bitter flavors."
The recipe was inspired by the sourdough pancakes Stephanie Izard serves at Little Goat Diner in Chicago, and it's pretty simple to make. Just steep the strawberries, make the pancake batter, scoop, flip, and serve. In 40 minutes, you'll have a show-stopping meal that's worthy of your weekend brunch spread. Read on for Justin's tips and method, and follow along with the video above.
Get Started on the Steeping Mixture
The base for the maple-molasses strawberries starts with pure maple syrup, unsulphured molasses, unsalted butter, and a pinch of kosher salt. Add it all to a large saucepan and cook it over medium until the butter is melted and the mixture is bubbling.
Prep the Strawberries
You can hull strawberries with a paring knife, but if you want to make your job a little easier, try this Mad Genius tip from Justin. All you need is a drinking straw—insert it into the bottom of each strawberry and push up until the hull on top pops out.
After the strawberries have been hulled, cut them in half or into thirds or quarters, depending on the size, and gently add them to the bubbling molasses mixture. Turn off the heat and cover the strawberries so they stay warm.
Make the Pancake Batter
With the strawberries done, it's pancake time. You'll first whisk together the dry ingredients—all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and kosher salt—in one bowl, and the wet ingredients—eggs, whole milk, sourdough starter, and melted unsalted butter—in another. Then, pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredient mixture and stir until just combined. Justin says that you don't want the batter to be "totally smooth," so don't sweat it if there are a few clumps.
Flip and Serve
Heat up your cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high, and grease it with butter so your pancakes don't stick. Then, scoop either a heaping 1/4 cup or scant 1/3 cup of batter into the pan to form each pancake—Justin says to fit as many as you can in the pan without the pancakes touching. Cook them for a minute and a half to two minutes until bubbles appear on top, and then, flip them and cook for about another minute or two.
The finished pancakes should come out of the pan golden-brown. To serve them, stack 'em and pour on the strawberries, making sure to get that maple-molasses-strawberry situation in every bite.
"I don't know what to do but smile, because it is so flavorful," Justin says as he gives them a try.