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Friday, August 31, 2012

2012: Eat and Repeat--Buttermilk Pancakes with Mascarpone, Berries, and Granola (Homemade Clara Cakes)

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After our mind-blowing brunch at Half & Half for our 2012: Eat and Repeat challenge, it was a toss-up as to which of the two entrees I was going to recreate—the Clara Cakes or the Veggie Hash with Eggs. In the end, I settled on the Clara Cakes, only because it was so different (and indulgent!) than any pancake recipe I’d ever had—at a restaurant or in my home. The Veggie Hash is still on its way, and is probably necessary after cleaning my plate of a large stack of these!

For each of these “repeat” portions of the challenge, it’s been fun to put my own spin on the recipes (see: browned butter salad, spicy squash pickles, and bacon & egg risotto). When it came to Half & Half’s Clara Cakes, I didn’t even want to change anything up…I couldn’t dream of a better version than the one they’d already created.
My Clara Cakes were a pretty close recreation, although, admittedly, they weren’t quite as magical as the restaurant version. I’d love to know the secret behind the true Clara Cakes, but in the meantime, I’m perfectly happy with this as a substitute for when I can’t get there for the real thing! I started with my favorite buttermilk pancake recipe—a staple of my mom’s and made a lightly sweetened mascarpone filling / topping. Add in your favorite berries (fresh blueberries and frozen [thawed] raspberries in our case) and some granola, and you have Clara Cakes! I mistakenly tried to healthify the dish a bit by using all whole wheat flour in the pancakes and in retrospect, should’ve stuck to the all-purpose stuff. Go big or go home, right? The whole wheat flour was too heavy in these and dried the pancakes up too much. We ended up added a little bit of maple syrup to ours but next time I’d probably use all-purpose flour and skip the maple syrup. 

This breakfast is not for the faint of heart, but it is definitely worth the occasional treat!

One Year Ago: Grilled Salmon with Tomato-Peach Salsa
Two Years Ago: Fountain on Locust
Three Years Ago: Toasted Coconut Banana Cream Pie

Buttermilk Pancakes with Mascarpone, Berries, and Granola (Homemade Clara Cakes)
inspired by Half & Half

for the pancakes-
-1 egg
-1 cup buttermilk
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-2 tbsp margarine, melted
-1 tsp sugar
-1/2 tsp salt
-1 tsp vanilla extract

for the mascarpone topping-
-1/2 cup mascarpone
-2-3 tbsp powdered sugar
-1 tbsp milk

for the toppings-
-1 cup berries (I used blueberries and raspberries)
-1/4 cup granola (I used my favorite homemade granola)

1. Combine all pancake ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, whisking until smooth.
2. Heat a skillet or a griddle and grease with cooking spray or butter. Pour spoonfuls of batter onto skillet, flipping after 2-3 minutes, once lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.
3. While pancakes are cooking, beat mascarpone with powdered sugar and milk until creamy.
4. Layer cooked pancakes with mascarpone topping and berries. Sprinkle granola on top and serve with syrup, if desired.