Food & Drink

Give the Gift of Pancakes

A Richmond chef offers her twist on the giftable dry mix—but instead of hot chocolate or Russian tea, hers is for pancakes. Just add eggs and buttermilk

photo: Fred Turko

Whether you spend the day curled up by a fire in Highlands, North Carolina, or combing the tideline for shark teeth in Vero Beach, Florida, a towering stack of warm, pillowy pancakes for breakfast makes it feel special. As the co-owner and pastry chef at Longoven in Richmond, Megan Fitzroy Phelan is known for earning culinary accolades—the restaurant, which first appeared as a pop-up and opened a brick-and-mortar in 2018, has appeared on dozens of national best-restaurant lists. But Fitzroy Phelan is also known locally for her holiday pancake mixes, which she makes in big batches of sifted dry ingredients, packaged in quart-sized Mason jars with printed instructions. “I gave them out one year after moving to Richmond,” she says, “and now I have a friend who tells me every summer, ‘I can’t wait for those pancakes,’ just to make sure I don’t forget.” 

Fitzroy Phelan wanted to give her loved ones a breakfast that was as nourishing as it was delicious, so she developed a recipe that gets its wholesome heft from ground oats, bran, and whole wheat flour. “Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day,” she says, “and if it isn’t a pancake, it’s a waffle—something filling.” Her process couldn’t be simpler—just combine the dry ingredients and whisk well, and then package it all up. All the recipient has to do is add eggs and buttermilk. “Buttermilk adds a lot of acid,” she says. “The only leavener in the dry mix is baking soda, so you need another leavener to make it rise.” The final product makes rich, hearty pancakes that pair perfectly with warm maple or sorghum syrup and, of course, plenty of butter.


Ingredients

  • Megan’s Multigrain Pancakes (Yield: 12-15 6-inch pancakes)

    • For the mix:

    • 1/3 cup ground oatmeal

    • 1/3 cup All Bran cereal ground

    • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

    • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour

    • 1/3 cup cornmeal

    • 2 tbsp. Cream of Wheat

    • 3 tsbp. sugar

    • 1 tsp. baking soda

    • ½ tsp. kosher salt

    • To prepare:

    • 2 eggs

    • 2 cups buttermilk


Preparation

  1. For the mix:

    Using a food processor, separately grind oatmeal and All Bran cereal to a fine powdery ‘flour.’ If there are a few larger pieces, that is fine.

  2. In a large bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, ground oatmeal, cornmeal, ground cereal, Cream of Wheat, sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk together carefully to ensure all of the ingredients are equally blended. (If you’re concerned about lumps of sugar or baking soda, sift the mixture to combine, Fitzroy Phelan says.) The larger flecks of cereals caught in the strainer can be added back to the mix. 

  3. If making the mix for future use or for a gift, package the dry mix in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry place. 

  4. To prepare the pancakes:

    Place dry mixture in a large bowl. Add eggs and buttermilk and whisk vigorously. (The idea is that the fiber in the cereals and flour will inhibit gluten structure the more you whisk it, leaving you with fluffy pancakes with a tender crumb, Fitzroy Phelan says.)

  5. Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add butter to the pan and swirl around to lightly coat the bottom. Using a ladle, scoop up the desired amount of batter and pour into piles in the pan, leaving space for spreading and flipping.  Let the pancakes cook on one side until bubbles start to form around the edges and a peek under the edge of the pancakes reveals a nice golden brown color. Flip the pancakes carefully and cook on the second side until golden brown as well. 

  6. Remove finished pancakes from the pan and place on a serving plate or cooling rack. Serve with your favorite pancake condiments.


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