The Secret Ingredient That Makes These Pancakes So Good
It isn't just a godsend for people following a gluten-free diet -- it also happens to produce unexpectedly delicious baked goods, and more.
A Nutritious Staple To Add To Your Pantry
Lindsey S. Love
For centuries, cooks in Italy and France, gluten-free and not, have been using chickpea flour. It hasn't yet become mainstream in the U.S., though. Made by grinding raw chickpeas, the powdery ingredient is interchangeable with wheat flour and has a subtly nutty taste that enhances everything from pancakes to layer cakes (which, frankly, is music to anyone's ears). Lindsey S. Love's new book, Chickpea Flour Does It All, may be just the introduction that Americans need to start using this versatile flour, with its accessible recipes for familiar dishes, such as fruit crumbles and even an icebox cake. This pancake recipe is a keeper: It turns out sturdy, slightly sweet, hearty cakes that make the perfect backdrop to sautéed fruit. While the original recipe calls for summery pear, you could also try peaches, nectarines, apricots or cherries, any of which Love says would be just as tasty.
Another reason to try chickpea flour is the toasty flavor it takes on when you bake it. Take Love's Clumpy Granola Bowl, for instance; she adds a half-cup of the the flour to oats, chopped almonds, puffed rice, pumpkin seeds and a smattering of warm spices, including cinnamon and nutmeg. Plus, chickpea flour helps bind the other ingredients together, resulting in granola "clumps" that resemble the topping you often find on a fruit crumble.
Here's a new use for chickpea flour we never would have imagined: as the creamy base in a yogurt-less Greek spread. Love makes a tzatziki dip by whisking a quarter-cup of the flour with water, then heating until it thickens. She pours the mixture into a blender with cashews, garlic, vinegar, oil and lemon juice, then stirs in grated cucumber and dill. The dip is a great accompaniment for crackers or cut-up raw vegetables.