A few weeks ago I was chatting with my mom Noni on the phone and she mentioned she’d been buying bananas every week, letting them get to the speckled stage, and then mashing and mixing them with pancake batter. It took me all of 14 seconds to get to my nearest grocery store and test out the technique this past weekend.
Forget topping your ‘cakes with banana slices, because once you try mashed, you’ll never go back. The banana flavor is just intense enough to be enjoyed in every bite, while the crunch of chopped pecans adds a welcome textural contrast. Just like the cake-freezing technique, the taco chips in the chili bowl tip and the espresso in chocolate cake trick, my mom never ceases to amaze me with her culinary ingenuity.
I’m currently enjoying a week in New York with both of my parents, who ventured east from the west coast for a visit. As you might imagine from someone who maintains a comprehensive Google spreadsheet of restaurants, we’ll be sampling our way through a handful of new and favorite Manhattan eateries. Raise your hand if you’re 25 and still take full advantage of your parents treating you to a meal … or seven. (Two hands in the air over here.)
From cakes and pies to muffins and tarts, what are your favorite ways for turning bananas into a stellar sweet or savory dish?
Banana Nut Pancakes
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 40 min (includes resting)
Cook Time: 5 min
1½ cups all-purpose flour
3½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon white sugar
2 ripe bananas
1¼ cups milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup chopped pecans
Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
Maple syrup, for serving
Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl then set it aside.
In a separate bowl, mash together the bananas with the milk, egg and melted butter.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet, stirring to combine, then stir in the nuts. Allow the batter to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Heat a large sauté pan over medium-low heat and add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, allowing it to heat for 2 to 3 minutes. (See Kelly's Notes.)
In batches, scoop 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter into the pan to form pancakes. Cook the pancakes on one side until bubbles appear in the center, then flip them once and continue cooking them until they're no longer doughy in the center. Serve the pancakes with your choice of toppings, including maple syrup, fresh fruit or whipped cream.
The true indication for when to flip a pancake is when tiny bubbles appear in the center. Flip it any sooner and you'll be left with a runny mess!
A fish spatula is my go-to gadget for flipping pancakes since it is small and flexible enough to easily maneuver in a pan.
There's no need to waste an entire pancake's worth of batter to determine if you oil is hot enough. Instead, simply add a tiny drop of batter to the pre-heated pan. It should sizzle immediately, otherwise your pan is not hot enough and the pancakes will become sponges soaking up any and all oil.
Pancake batter recipe adapted from Good Old Fashioned Pancakes.