Although she would have never let us have beets for fear of irreversible stains, this recipe reminds me of my mother. She was always sneaking vegetables into other foods and when I was older she taught me the ways of the illusive shredded zucchini. We had our share of fried pickle chips, and she her Diet Coke, but vegetables always managed to show up on our plates somehow. These days I eat mostly fruits and vegetables and willingly cook produce that used to frighten me, but I still try to sneak the occasional plant or root by knowing myself. If I don’t, my mother will know, which is why I always make my bed, keep my toenails polished, and wipe down my kitchen counters every evening before bed. And so there’s always a handful of kale in my morning smoothie, carrot puree in sauces, and that shredded zucchini shows up everywhere.
I originally intended to puree beets and sneak them into batter to tint the pancakes a pretty purple pink, but a simple mash turned them into the consistency of smashed blueberries. Once griddled in the pancake, the beets take on the texture of them too. Roasting the beets adds to their natural sweetness, allowing for less sugar in the batter, and healthier breakfasts all around. Oh goodness, I sound like my mother.
Beet & Blackberry Pancakes
makes about 15 3-inch pancakes
2 small beets (about 1/4 cup beet mash)
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar (you can decrease, substitute with honey, or even omit this)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
homemade whipped cream
1. Set oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash and trim beets of stems, wrap in foil, and roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until fork tender.
3. When the beets are cool enough to handle, gently peel off the skins and rinse under cool water. Transfer to a small bowl and mash with a potato masher or the crossed tines of a whisk, continuing until the beets resemble chunky applesauce. You can also puree the beets in a food processor or blender. Set aside.
4. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, sugar, soda, and salt.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, butter, and beets. Make a well in the flour mixture and slowly add the liquids, stirring till just combined with a wooden spoon.
6. Lightly butter a griddle or other heavy flat pan and set over medium heat. Pour about 2 tablespoons of batter into the pan and smooth into a small circle with the back of a spoon. Cook until bubbles just begin to form on the edges of the cake and then flip to cook the other side. Continue with remaining batter. Serve warm with lightly sweetened whipped cream and fresh blackberries.