Remember my Pumpkin Pancakes with Bacon Bourbon Butter? Well if you do, you’ll understand why I had to find an excuse to throw bacon on top of some pancakes again.
I’m in the process of revamping and/or re-shooting old recipes. Cornmeal pancakes were on the list. I decided to jazz up this dish a bit and run with an Italian theme.
First off, the ground cornmeal I used in this recipe is the same one I use to make polenta. I mixture of cornmeal and all-purpose flour gives these pancakes just the right texture and flavor.
Crispy, Italian bacon continues this theme, and the fig-maple syrup puts it over the top! Figs and pancetta are certainly a well-accepted Italian combo. The salty-fruity combination really hits the spot. A splash of bourbon in the syrup makes it even better. You can my word for it.
The butter might seem a bit unnecessary with the bacon going on, but not in my book. When the sweet, creamy butter melts into the pancakes and mixes with that fig-maple syrup, it’s just heavenly.
- ¾ C stone ground yellow corn meal
- ¼ C plus 2T all-purpose flour
- 1T sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1C milk
- 2T unsalted butter, melted plus additional for greasing pan and serving
- 4oz pancetta, cut into ½ inch cubes
- ½ C pure maple syrup
- 3T fig preserves*
- 1 tsp bourbon (optional)
- Small pinch of salt
Combine the dry ingredients (cornmeal through salt) in a large bowl. Beat together egg and milk in a small bowl. Whisk milk mixture into dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in melted butter. Do not over-mix. Let batter rest for 15-30 minutes at room temperature.
While batter rests, add pancetta to a large, cold sauté pan. Turn heat to medium and slowly crisp bacon and render fat, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes. Reduce heat slightly to prevent burning the pancetta, if needed. Remove pancetta from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Stir in 1 tablespoon a rendered pork fat into the pancake batter. Wipe out the pan and warm over medium heat for the pancakes, or use a griddle, if desired. Lightly grease the pan with butter.
While the pan heats, whisk together maple syrup, preserves, bourbon and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop the batter into the preheated pan. Flip when bubbles form around the entire surface and pancake becomes lightly browned, about 1-1 ½ minutes. Cook another 30 seconds to 1 minute on the reverse side, or until lightly browned and pancake is cooked through. Repeat with the remaining batter. Heat fig-maple syrup in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds or until warm. Top pancakes with pancetta, and serve with syrup and room-temperature butter, if desired. Enjoy.
*NOTE: Fig preserves can be found in Italian specialty stores or online. You can also substitute fresh, pureed figs or pureed dried figs reconstituted in hot water.