My childhood dog was an Airedale terrier named Muggs, to whom I dedicated my book. She loved pancakes more than any other food, and, in fact, her last meal was “hotcakes,” as my mother calls them. My current dog, Comet, was cut from the same cloth apparently, because she loves pancakes as well; in our house, Sunday is Pancake Day, and I know it is Comet’s favorite day of the week. I am not above stealing from my own life for my books, so it was a no-brainer for me to give Enzo, the narrator of The Art of Racing in the Rain, this passion for pancakes.
When trying to think of a recipe that reflected some part of my book, I had to go with our Sunday pancakes. Enzo has some dietary peculiarities: he loves pancakes and bananas; peperoncini upsets his stomach; he enjoys cookie batter when he can get it. If you want to go completely crazy with these pancakes, add a mashed banana — Enzo’s second favorite food!
My wife, Drella, and I discovered this recipe many years ago, when our two older boys were on a gluten- and casein-free diet. We absolutely loved the flavor of all the different flours. Several years ago, after my kids were liberated from their dietary restrictions, we kept making this recipe though we now usually use cow’s milk and real eggs instead of their substitutes. Still, these pancakes can go either way and are equally delicious.
If you try this recipe, I hope you keep in mind the tastes of your personal Enzo — dogs love pancakes!
Reprinted from Table of Contents: From Breakfast with Anita Diamant to Dessert with James Patterson — a Generous Helping of Recipes, Writings, and Insights from Today’s Bestselling Authors by Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp (Adams, 2011).
A flavorful gluten- and casein-free pancake, and Enzo's favorite
For Drella's Modified Flour Mix
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup teff flour
5/8 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
For the pancakes
2 cups Drella's Modified Flour Mix, or Bette Hagman's 4 Flour Blend (see note)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 teaspoons sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup neutral oil (grapeseed oil or canola oil)
1 3/4 cup milk or milk substitute
1/4 cup water
Butter or oil, for greasing griddle
Make Drella's Modified Flour Mix: In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Sift. (This recipe makes enough for 1 1/2 pancake recipes.)
Make the pancakes: In a large mixing bowl, combine flour mix, salt, baking powder, and sugar. In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly. Add oil and combine, and then add the milk and combine.
Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup water, as needed to thin batter to pourable consistency (it all depends on humidity, temperature, air density, dark matter, E=MC2).
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Grease lightly with butter or oil. Ladle enough batter onto the warm griddle to make a thin pancake of desired size. Cook on both sides, turning once. Remove when lightly brown on both sides.
We use cow's milk now, but you can easily use rice milk or another milk substitute, to make it casein-free. If you do so, reduce the sugar by a teaspoon. Egg substitute is totally acceptable as well. Bette Hagman's flour mix is available online or in natural foods stores. These pancakes won't bubble as visibly as flour pancakes, so you need to watch the doneness by lifiting the edge of your pancakes with a spatula. If the batter gets too thick, thin with a little water. If they end up gummy, your griddle is too hot! For waffles, add 1/4 cup milk or water, 1 egg, and 2 tablespoons oil, and use a waffle iron. Yum!