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Over-the-Top Christmas Morning Pancakes

Posted Wednesday, Dec. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
Serves 4-6 Chef Dena Peterson says if the pancakes are to be assembled in layers, as pictured, they should be cooled to room temperature before assembling. The mascarpone can be made up to two days in advance and chilled. But if you are serving them right away, a dollop of mascarpone on top — rather than layering it between the pancakes — will do. Pancakes 1 cup milk 2 large eggs 1/2 teaspoon rum extract 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 stick unsalted butter (4 ounces), melted 1 cup all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 4 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt Nonstick cooking spray 1. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, rum extract and vegetable oil, then add the butter. 2. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, sugar and salt. 3. Whisk the dry mixture into the milk mixture until just combined. Adjust the thickness with more milk if batter is too thick. 4. Coat a nonstick pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. When cooking each pancake, watch as the bubbles appear in the batter, then grow larger and pop. When they’ve all popped, carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side. Espresso Syrup 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup espresso 1. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and cook over high heat. Gently swirl pan occasionally. 2. Allow mixture to boil. It will begin to turn brown and smoke slightly. When it turns dark brown, carefully pour in the espresso. (Stand back a bit, as mixture might bubble up.) 3. Reduce the heat to medium and whisk until any hardened bits are dissolved. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container. Whipped Mascarpone Filling 1 cup heavy cream 8 ounces mascarpone cheese 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar 1. With an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overbeat, or cream will be grainy. 2. In another bowl, whisk together mascarpone and sugar until smooth. 3. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated. Assembly: Stack the pancakes on a plate and pipe the mascarpone filling on top, or in between pancake layers, then sprinkle stack with cocoa powder, if desired. Serve espresso syrup on the side. — 3200 Darnell St., Fort Worth, 817-840-2157, www.themodern.org/cafe
Serves 4 Honeycrisp Apple Syrup 3 cinnamon sticks 4 whole cloves 1 tablespoon ground cardamom 1/2 cup sugar 2 cups brown sugar 3 cups apple cider 1 cup Vermont maple syrup 1/4 cup bourbon 4 Honeycrisp apples, thinly-sliced parallel to the core 1. Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamom on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. This will release the oils and flavors of the spices. 2. Add baked spices to a medium pot along with sugar, brown sugar, apple cider, maple syrup, bourbon and apple slices. Simmer over medium-heat for 10 minutes. 3. Remove from heat and let the syrup mixture rest for one hour. Pancakes 4 cups flour 2 teaspoons salt 3/4 cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking soda 2 tablespoons baking powder 6 cups milk 6 eggs 3 ounces butter, melted Vegetable oil, as needed for the griddle 1. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder into a large mixing bowl. 2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and half of the melted butter. 3. Add the milk, butter and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and add the remaining butter. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine. The batter will be slightly lumpy. 4. Brush the griddle or skillet with oil before turning on the heat. 5. When your griddle is hot, drop the batter onto the griddle in 2-ounce portions, or your preferred pancake size. 6. Once the underside of the pancake is light brown and you see bubbles begin to break the surface of the batter, you can flip the pancake. 7. Wait 3-5 minutes for the side against the griddle to also turn brown. Once the pancake releases from the griddle easily, you can remove the pancake. Keep warm until serving. Assembly: Layer the pancakes with the apples and top with fresh whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon. — 506 N. Center St., Arlington, 817-801-5541, www.restaurant506.com
Serves 5-6 Pancakes 2 1/2 pounds pancake mix 2 cups water 1/4 cup vanilla extract Zest from 10 lemons 3 cups ricotta cheese 2 cups blueberries 3/4 cup maple syrup 1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Mixture can be kept chilled until ready to prepare. 2. Pour about 1/2 cup of batter onto a hot griddle and flip after the pancake begins to bubble. Maple Butter 1 pound unsalted butter 1 cup maple syrup Combine all ingredients in a food processor and keep chilled until ready to serve. Garnish with blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup. — 1600 S. University Drive, Suite 601, Fort Worth, 817-887-9995, www.pacifictable.com
Serves 4 to 6 Pancakes 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1 tablespoon sugar 2 cups buttermilk 2 eggs 1/4 cup canola oil 1. Sift flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and sugar in a large bowl. 2. Combine buttermilk, eggs and oil in a medium bowl. 3. Stir liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients until moistened. Let stand 10 minutes. 4. Preheat griddle over medium heat and grease lightly with cooking spray. Pour about 1/4 cup batter onto the hot griddle for each pancake. Cook until the top of each pancake is bubbly and the bottom appears dry. Turn and cook other side until browned, about two minutes. Candied Pecans 6 ounces pecans 2 ounces maple syrup 1/2 ounce heavy cream 2 ounces brown sugar Pinch cayenne (optional) 1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and then spread onto a cookie sheet. 2. Bake at 300 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Caramel Sauce 2 cups sugar 1 cup heavy cream 6 ounces unsalted butter, cubed 1. In a very large pot (at least 3 quarts), melt sugar over medium heat and stir vigorously to avoid burning. 2. In another pot, add the cream and butter and warm over low heat until the butter is just melted. 3. When the sugar is liquefied and has started to turn caramel in color, slowly and carefully add the cream mixture to the sugar mixture. Mix until evenly combined. Assembly: Stack the pancakes and sprinkle candied pecans over the top. Drizzle with the caramel and then top with a dollop of whipped cream. — 750 S. Main St., Keller, 817-431-6890, www.devivobroseatery.com

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Breakfast takes a back seat to gift-giving come Christmas morning, especially in a house full of giddy little ones. But a piping-hot heap of over-the-top pancakes might just change that. These showstopping stacks are as visually impressive as they are easy to prepare — not to mention fluffy, flavorful and downright inhale-able.

The recipes shown here are simple to double or even triple, making them our go-to option for feeding a crowd over the holidays. Serve them hot off the griddle or take them mile-high for a layered presentation sure to steal some of the spotlight from anything Santa put under the tree.

Dena Peterson, Executive Chef, Café Modern

Dena Peterson’s tiramisu tower almost resembles a wedding cake with its layers of rum-infused pancakes and sweetened mascarpone cheese. The Café Modern chef and mother of six admits that, upon Christmas morning, after a busy season of cooking for holiday parties and soirees, she’s ready for not much more than a potent bloody mary. Mix yourself up one, too, after assembling this sweet skyscraper.

John Klein, Executive Chef, Restaurant 506 at the Sanford House Inn & Spa

Chef John Klein says pancakes were a Christmas morning tradition during his childhood, as his grandmother would prepare a baked version in a cast-iron skillet for everyone to share. He recommends seasonal Honeycrisp apples for his own hotcakes. Thin-sliced and simmered in cider and maple syrup, the spiced apples create an aroma that will awaken a house full of sleepy heads — even before it’s time to rip apart any wrapping paper.

Felipe Armenta, Executive Chef & Owner, Pacific Table

Chef Felipe Armenta, who will celebrate his first Christmas as a dad this year, says he indulges in these lemon ricotta pancakes about once a week when checking in on his latest restaurant, Pacific Table. We like the refreshing burst of lemon zest that is vibrant in every bite — a welcome departure from the holiday spice overload that often comes with the season. Save some of Armenta’s maple butter for biscuits or toast, too.

John Devivo, Owner & Chef, Devivo Bros. Eatery

Since opening in May, brothers John and Ralph Devivo have been waking up Keller residents with scratch-made pancakes featuring varieties like fresh blueberry and pumpkin. When making John’s caramel pecan cakes, plan to prepare an extra batch of caramel — the sauce serves as a decadent dipper for everything from apple slices to poundcake cubes. Or jar it up and pair with vanilla ice cream as an easy gift for neighbors, if there is any left after breakfast.

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