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Fresh toppings put the ‘hot’ in hot cakes
• Saute sliced bananas in butter with a sprinkle of brown sugar. Cook until the bananas are lightly caramelized. (From Dorie Greenspan, author of “Around my French Table”)
• Make a simple syrup using a 2-to-1 ratio of brown sugar to water. Simmer, then add grated fresh ginger and diced fresh mango. (From Rafael Gonzalez, executive chef at Fountain Restaurant at Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia)
• Simmer 2 tablespoons of water, then whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter, then 3 tablespoons of honey and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Use warm. (From Andrew Carmellini, author of “American Flavor”)
• Top chocolate chip pancakes with warmed Nutella and chopped toasted hazelnuts. (From Kathleen King, owner of Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton, N.Y.)
• Simmer chunks of peeled apple in brandy until very tender, then spoon over the pancakes. Top with sour cream or creme fraiche spiked with ground cardamom, nutmeg or cinnamon. (From Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, founding editor of the website Apartment Therapy: The Kitchn)
• Top pancakes with chopped fresh figs, crumbled blue cheese and a drizzle of agave syrup. (From Matt Christianson at Urban Farmer restaurant in Portland, Ore.)
• Macerate raspberries with fresh mint, brown sugar, maraschino liqueur and toasted almonds. Fold all of the ingredients together and let stand for 30 minutes before serving. (From Fabio Trabocchi, executive chef at Fiola restaurant in Washington, D.C.)
• Warm fresh blueberries or blackberries in several tablespoons of fruit syrup (such as passion fruit). Season with pinches of ground cardamom, then mix in a small handful of fresh mint leaves. (From Lisa Yockelson, author of “Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes”)
• Combine sorghum syrup, lemon zest, orange juice and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then drizzle over the pancakes. (From Hugh Acheson, author of “A New Turn in the South”)
• Make a quick drizzle by whisking together lemon juice, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Top with fresh raspberries. (From Food Network’s Melissa D'Arabian, author of the forthcoming “Ten Dollar Dinners”)
• A pancake version of croque madam — stack dollar-size pancakes, layering fried egg and ham between them. (From Michael Uhnak at Besaw’s restaurant in Portland, Ore.)
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
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