Every Christmas morning my Mom would make us these pancakes.
Well, after we opened all the gifts under the tree, of course.
My Mom was an exceptional cook. She could make savory and sweet dishes with equal ease and had a natural curiosity about new ingredients. Things she wasn't familiar with never stopped her from clipping a recipe for her Wish List.
I know I inherited most of those qualities, along with her love of crafts, but the one thing I can not do well, is bake. I also inherited my father's lack of patience, which I understand, is a trait required to bake cookies and cakes and all kinds of beautiful and wonderful desserts.
When The Recipe Redux sent us our last sponsored recipe contest of 2013, I almost did not enter.
They challenged us to adapt one of my signature family baked goods recipe by reducing sugar with Monk Fruit In The Raw or create a new lower-calorie creation using the Monk Fruit In The Raw.
Presented with a dilemma, the only dish I make well is cheesecake and have published a few versions here on my blog using sugar substitutes. Previously published recipes can not be used and if I was going to do this right, I needed to find something that presented me with a challenge.
I grabbed my Mom's recipe box and seriously went through each one, hoping to find a dish that substituting granulated sugar with Monk Fruit In The Raw would produce a viable entry.
I omitted all the sugar in my Mom's Christmas Pancake recipe, and used natural fruit juice and Monk Fruit In The Raw as the only sweetener. Monk Fruit In The Raw has a natural taste and unlike those other subs that taste like chemicals, this sweetener was easy to use. I am very fussy about sugar subs, I can taste a bad one immediately, which is not a good thing when one is trying to cut out sugars.
These pancakes turned out to be better than my Mom's and can be made in 15 minutes. A perfect dish when your family would rather be playing with their new toys than sitting down to eat a breakfast.
No syrup required but can be served on the side.
A non-stick skillet or a cast-iron pan is required because the pears poaching liquid is absorbed by the cake mix and would be almost impossible to remove if cooked in a stainless or aluminum frying pan.
"I received free samples from Cumberland Packing Corp., maker of Monk Fruit In The Raw. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cumberland Packing Corp. and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time."
Servings: 1 large or 4 (6") pancakes
Can be halved or doubled successfully
* 2 Bartlett pears, cut in half, seeds and stems removed
* 8 ounces natural apple juice
* 2 cups packaged pancake mix (water added only style)
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon Five Spice powder
* 1/2 cup Monk Fruit In The Raw
* 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts (almonds or pecans)
* Butter flavored or canola spray release agent
* Extra Monk Fruit In The Raw to dust the finished pancake
1. Preheat broiler to LOW and move the rack to 6-7" from the heat.
2. Thoroughly spray a non-stick pan with release agent (12" for one large pancake or 6" for 4 smaller pancakes).
3. In a small bowl, place Monk Fruit In The Raw, Five Spice powder and 1/2 cup apple juice, and whisk to mix.
4. Slice each pear half into 8 slices (total of 32 slices).
To make (4) 6" pancakes:
Lay 8 pear slices in a clock-wise, circular pattern with tips touching in the middle. Pour 1/4 of the Five Spice mixture over and around the pears. Simmer, on medium low, covered for 4 minutes. Remove the cover, flip the pears over and continue cooking while you place 1/4 of the nuts and the butter in and around the pears.
Pour 1/4 of the pancake mixture gently over the pears (so not to disturb them) and place in the broiler, at least 6-7" from the heating source until the mixture just jiggles slightly in the center (about 2 minutes).
Remove and let it rest for a few minutes, running a spatula around the edges. It will continue to cook from the residual heat. Over cooked pancake may stick to the skillet.
Place a plate on top of the skillet and flip over to release the pancake. Gently remove any food that might have remained in the skillet and place it back on the pancake.
Repeat for three more.
To make one large pancake:
Place all 32 pieces of pancake in pan and follow same instructions as above, using the measurements listed above.
Simmer time is the same as well as the time under the broiler.
Flip the pancake onto a large platter or sheet pan and slice into quarters.
I have even made this recipe in a flame-proof casserole dish to slice into squares for a buffet table.