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Someone Passed Some Bliss Among the Crowd

Discovery: Mango ice cream must only be made with honey, not sugar. It is written.

Earlier Discovery, which I must share again and again. This time with pictures. I scored some of these off the back of a farmer's van. It's not entirely food-safety-guidelines transaction, but frankly, those guidelines are made to keep battery chickens from killing whole swaths of humanity, and it's my health, thank you, not yours, Mr. Agribusiness.

Anyhow. My illicit haul. Duck eggs:

are very high in complex proteins, much more than chicken eggs, so that makes them great for baking, and especially good for pancakes, because the chain molecules in the whites can hold much more air in bubbles than chicken eggs. That means very fluffy pancakes.

As you can see, they are mottled. The shells are more waterproof, almost like they've been shellacked, or made of something similar to brittle toenails. The yolks are red-orange, and if it's been a good, green spring, very brightly coloured.

Use a blender or a hand blender in a straight-walled container. Put into this container:

3/4 a cup of flour*
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

*if your flour comes from south of the Mason-Dixon line/White Cliffs of Dover, you can use all-purpose flour. The summers are hot and long enough that your flour is soft all the time, and great for pancakes and biscuits. If it comes from the north or the midwest of North America, use cake flour instead. High-gluten winter-hardened flour is better for bread. Use unbleached, too, because the brom/chlorine-derived compounds in the bleached variety give baked goods a tinny flavour. Organic flour is also age-softened, so that's worth the extra cost.

Swirl these dry ingredients around or shake your container until blended.

Take three tablespoons of unsalted butter and melt it in an iron skillet set on medium heat. While that's going on, break a duck egg on top of the dry contents. Then pour one cup of buttermilk on top of that. If you don't have buttermilk, blend a couple of tablespoons of yogurt into skim or lowfat milk. If you aren't familiar with buttermilk, it's traditionally what's left in the churn after churning butter. It's souring milk with all the fat removed. In modern times, it's 1% milk with yogurt cultures added and homogenized to keep it from clumping.

Then pour the butter on the milk, leaving the bottom of the pan well buttered for cooking. Turn on your blender or do whatever to whip the ingredients together quickly and thoroughly.

It's the acid in the milk that reacts with the soda to create the fluff in your pancakes, so blend it thoroughly and use it immediately, before the reaction has run its course.

By now the butter is starting to smoke, most likely, so pour the batter out onto the griddle:

You may, if you wish, put some thawed frozen blueberries into the cooking batter, like I have here. If you use fresh blueberries, space them well because they will collapse and make a soggy pocket around them (freezing removes some of the excess water). When bubbles have formed, flip them.

As you can see, the loft occurs pretty quickly and very high with duck eggs. They also don't stick as much as other pancakes.

If you have maple syrup, do. If you are tempted to use margarine or some sort of "healthy" seed oil, don't.

Behold the fluffiness:

No, really. That bit about it being better for you? It isn't. It's ironically probably a major cause of heart disease. Yes, they were lying. Yes, your doctor was lied to as well. If you're using teflon for your health, you're probably dosing yourself with PFOA. Julia Child ate butter every day, cooked on enamelled iron, and died happy at extreme old age. Don't take my word for it, though. Do your own research without the aid of what-everyone-knows-already.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 9th, 2011 02:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for explaining to me what the deal is with cake flour and bread flour! I've always wondered!

And yeah, re: butter. My rule of thumb for eating is that the simpler the component parts of something are, the better it is for you. Butter: simple. You get cream (which you can do by getting milk from a cow and then skimming the cream off the top--I've done this), you churn it, and it's butter. With fats 'n' shit, sure, but you know what you're getting, and how. Margarine--how is that stuff even made? Could you make it at home, the way you can make butter? No? Well then: not as good for you. Same with teflon versus cast iron. I understand how you make a cast iron frying pan. I can't do it at home, but I understand the principle. But manufacturing the coating they put on teflon pans? A mystery.

Your pancakes look delicious. (We used to have duck eggs in England, when we lived with my in-laws, who kept ducks. Alas, my oldest child was allergic to them...)
Jun. 9th, 2011 03:13 pm (UTC)
We get our bread flour from Saskatchewan. It takes about five minutes to knead it, tops. And in biscuits? Like a rock.

Shame about the allergy. I can't stomach them by themselves, especially sunny-side-up. The yolks are too sweet. *shiver*
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )