Last month, a reader requested a recipe for thin, crispy buttermilk pancakes. This week we have a recipe from Diane Fraser of Brandon for cooks who prefer the light, fluffy kind. These pancakes get extra airiness from beaten egg whites and, for convenience, can be frozen in individual portions and reheated on the morning you need them.
Rose Beaulieu wrote in requesting a reliable recipe for flour tortillas -- she has had trouble with the dough shrinking. Rachel Unger offers a recipe she's tried from Manitoba's own Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a group of women who blog on food and hospitality at mennonitegirlscancook.ca and who have recently published a cookbook.
This week, Shirley Friesen is hoping someone knows how to make "Kickin' shrimp" like the Tony Roma's appetizer, and Dayna Steinfeld, a Winnipegger now living in Ottawa, is looking for a seven-grain salad recipe similar to the version sold at Costco. If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.
Homemade Flour Tortillas
(adapted from mennonitegirlscancook.ca)
500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour
2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder
3 ml (3/4 tsp) salt
60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable shortening
150 ml (2/3 cup) hot water
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Pour in hot water, a little at a time, mixing with a fork until dough comes together. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until smooth. Cover and let rest 45 minutes. Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Cover balls with plastic wrap. With a rolling pin, roll one ball into a 15-18 cm (6-7 inches) circle. (Don't worry if they're not perfect circles.) Preheat your pan on medium heat. Do not add oil. Place tortilla in hot pan and cook until bubbles appear before flipping to the other side. Cook approximately one minute on each side. Cook one tortilla while you roll out the next one. Stack cooked tortillas and cover with a tea towel until all are cooked. Now they are ready for your favourite recipe. Tortillas can be frozen for future use.
Tester's notes: These are much fresher than supermarket versions and easier than I thought (though I'm glad the recipe is reassuring about imperfect circles -- mine weren't even close to circular). In terms of the shrinking dough issue, resting the dough definitely helps to reduce that problem. I also rolled the dough out on a flourless board, which seemed to help hold the round in place so that it didn't shrink back. Coming out of the pan, my tortillas felt a bit stiff, but they softened up when stacked under a clean tea towel.
Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
750 ml (3 cups) all-purpose flour
30 ml (2 tbsp) sugar
10 ml (2 tsp) baking soda
10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder
5 ml (1 tsp) salt
6 egg whites
6 egg yolks
775 ml (3 1/3 cups) buttermilk
90 ml (6 tbsp) melted butter or melted hard margarine
Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt into large bowl. Make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Using same beaters, in a medium bowl, beat egg yolks, buttermilk and melted butter until well combined. Pour the egg-buttermilk-butter mixture into the dry ingredients, and using same beaters, beat until combined. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
Heat greased frying pan or griddle on medium-high. For each 10 cm (4 in) pancake, spoon 60 ml (1/4 cup) batter into frying pan. Cook until bubbles appear on surface and edges are lightly browned. Flip over and cook until lightly browned. Serve at once, or cool on racks for freezing.
Makes about 40 pancakes.
Tester's notes: Diane Fraser has cooked for 60 years and has never had much use for pancakes. But 10 years ago she found this recipe, which she says puts all other pancakes to shame. I'm converted, too. These are the fluffiest pancakes I have ever made, thanks to the egg whites. (Be sure to beat the egg whites before the yolks, rather than the other way around, since any yolk in the whites will keep them from whipping up properly.)
The other thing that Diane likes about this recipe is that you can freeze them "and they taste as they were just made." Diane cools the pancakes on racks, makes up serving portions in press-and-seal packages and then puts them in a large freezer bag to freeze for up to three months. She takes out a portion the night before it's needed, defrosts on the counter, and then microwaves the next day for about one minute at 80 per cent power. Handy!