Stacks of golden pancakes glistening with the carmelized sugar of the pineapple chunks, dripping with buttery rum coconut syrup and a mug of hot Kona coffee on the breakfast table…this is my idea of Hawaii being invited to my Sunday morning brunch. These pancakes are the epitome of taking a sweet and tropical bite out of life and seriously taste very much like their dessert counterpart, the pineapple upside down cake.
Smell the coffee…are you there with me yet? No? Do you want to be invited too? It’s pretty easy to get an invite at my house…just tell me how much you love my cooking and that you don’t mind a big, goofy Golden Retriever casually glancing at your plate, and you are IN. Just join in on the witty banter, or more likely, gritty sarcasm, tear off a bite of your pancake and dunk it into the syrup. We’re fairly casual here.
Taste the tangy sweetness of the ripe pineapple which was bathed in brown sugar coupled with the tender fluffy pancake and you will be in Hawaiian heaven. The drunken syrup, with a big kick of rum and just a hint of coconut, is the breakfast version of a Pina Colada. Now you have the perfect pairing.
There are no ocean views here though, so we will have to seat you with a view of the backyard which is pretty nice at this time of year but that will have to do. There is an absence of tropical fish, but we sometimes have deer on our hill which is pretty cool considering we are in the suburbs of Los Angeles ( The little guy below was actually photographed in my front yard the same day as this post….coincidence or fate?)
Although I have invited Hawaii here, it looks like the closest I will get to Hawaii this summer is to enjoy these pancakes, plunk a few strings on my son’s Ukulele and play my kitchy Luau cd’s.
At first I lament over this thought, but then realize I still get to be here at my breakfast table eating good food, listening to my kids’ laughter, collecting drool puddles on my lap (remember the Golden Retriever) and looking over at my husband while we contemplate whose turn it is to do the dishes. Hawaii sounds nice, but an invitation here isn’t bad either.
Aloooo-HA Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes
Makes about 10 medium sized pancakes
1 12 0z can of pineapple chunks in juice
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 c. all purpose flour
2 T. granulated sugar
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
4T. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 c. buttermilk (helps make them fluffier)
3/4 c. milk (1% or more is fine)
1/2 c. reserved pineapple juice
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. 100% natural maple syrup
1 T. dark rum (or use Malibu Rum and omit coconut extract)
1/4 t. coconut extract
First drain the pineapple chunks and RESERVE the JUICE. Then slice each chunk in half width-wise. You want to make the chunks skinny enough to fit nicely in the pancake. I tried to give you a close-up of my sliced pineapple chunks to give you a better idea. Put your brown sugar in a small bowl. Get the the clumps out with a fork and gently stir in the sliced pineapple chunks. Let these sit and “marinate” while you make the batter. For the pancake batter put flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wire whisk. This eliminates the need for sifting and will help equally distribute all of your dry ingredients. In another smaller bowl, combine melted butter, milk, buttermilk, reserved pineapple juice, canola oil and two beaten eggs. Whisk together liquid ingredients and then fold them into the pancake batter. DO NOT OVER STIR. Stir as little as possible to incorporate all of your ingredients. Over mixing makes for tough pancakes. Your batter should look a little lumpy, not smooth. The lumps help make the pancakes fluffier.
Melt a pat of butter and a tablespoon of canola oil on your griddle. Turn your burner on medium and use a wooden spoon or paper towel to spread the oil and butter over the pan, greasing it. The butter browns the pancakes and the oil keeps them from sticking. Wait to drop ladles of pancake batter until the pan is HOT or sizzles a bit when you drop a little water on it. A hot griddle makes for a well-cooked pancake. Ladle pancake batter onto the griddle and push chunks of pineapple gently into each pancake. Don’t push it all the way through the pancake because it will stick to the griddle when you flip it. Flip the pancake when it begins to bubble slightly all over and the edges look firm. I always take a peak at the bottom with my spatula. Flip when it looks golden brown on the bottom and cook the other side for two to three minutes. I gently push down on the top of the pancake with my spatula at this point. With normal pancakes this is a big no, no. It makes them a little denser and less fluffy typically, but with pineapple chunks inside, you want to make sure that the pancake batter in between all of the chunks cooks well and actually gets to touch the griddle. Lay a flat layer of pancakes on a cookie sheet as you take them off the griddle, pineapple side up.
Once all of the pancakes are cooked, brush the remaining juices and brown sugar that was left from the bowl of pineapple chunks over the pancakes. There is usually just a tablespoon of juice left in the bowl. This is not the juice that you still have reserved from the can, Just the dribbles left over from the brown sugar mixture. Turn on your broiler and place the cookie sheet on a middle rack of the oven watching the pancakes carefully. They burn very quickly. They should only be in the broiler for just under a minute, until they are slightly browned. Drizzle with syrup and sprinkle any extra pineapple chunks over the pancakes for looks. Serve and wait for the “oooohs” and “ahhhhs”. They’re coming soon.
Syrup: Heat syrup, rum and coconut extract in a microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds and serve.