Ahhh, Sunday. You delightful little work-free day of the week.
Too often lately our weekends have been a cacophony of rushing-about, but this Sunday the diary was clear to indulge in that blissful state of pottering-about-the-house that calls for my favourite breakfast of all time: pancakes.
Pancakes are just the perfect food. A little bit sweet, crispy and salty- served hot they’re a vehicle for all sorts of deliciousness.
I’ve long been a classic crepe-with-lemon-and-sugar girl. A specific set of requirements attaches to this seeming-simplicity though. First, the crepe should be milky-gold and pretty thin, with a very slight crunch but no burnt bits, please. I like a lot of lemon juice (I mean, a LOT of lemon juice) and the sugar can be white or brown but it must be grainy for crunch. A neat, magic-carpet-like roll-up, and I always use a knife and fork (this one is NOT a sticky-fingered experience) to work my way through that tasty little roll- cut up into neat, short, cylinders of loveliness.
I admit though, frying a stack of perfect crêpes is a bit of a labour of love, so these days I reserve them mainly for special occasions.
For a more pedestrian Sunday feast, I use a blueberry-and-vanilla pancake recipe; terrifically flavoursome, more flapjack-style pancakes that are quick to put together and fry 3-to-a-pan.
The perennial search for ways to cook and bake my favourite sweet treats with less (or no) sugar was the inspiration for this permutation of the much-loved recipe.
If it’s not quite sweet enough for your taste I recommend a healthy measure of pure maple syrup or Manuka honey and/or some marscapone cheese or a little sweetened whipped cream on top.
The recipe can also well handle extra dried fruit- just chop it fairly small and give the batter a good mix before you fry. Enjoy!
2 cups self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa (I use organic raw cocoa)
3TBSP dried thread coconut
1TBSP soft brown sugar (optional)
1 tsp good quality vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup peeled, grated apple (about 1 large apple)
1 cup frozen berries (I use blueberries)
Butter or coconut oil for frying
Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, apricots, cocoa, coconut and brown sugar) In a large bowl and whisk with a fork to mix. Make a well in the centre.
Break egg into a pouring jug (min 500nl capacity) and beat lightly with a fork. Add vanilla and milk and whisk to combine.
Stir apple through the egg mixture, then pour into the dry ingredients and stir well to incorporate the two mixtures and make a batter.
Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat and add a chunk of butter or coconut oil prior to each fry.
Use a 1/4 cup measure, or the pouring jug and your eye, to measure 3 even-sized pancakes into the frying pan. Cook pancakes for 2-3 minutes* before flipping** and cooking 2 minutes on the other side.
Makes about 12.
* Cook Tip: when cooking pancakes, look for tiny holes to appear in the uncooked mixture- these indicate the pancake is ready for flipping and cooking on the other side.
** Flip Tip: it’s all in the wrist! Gently wedge your spatula under the pancake and ensure it’s loose, then, keeping your hand in place, swivel your wrist 180degrees to flip the pancake in place.
Variations, Substitutions etc
Gluten-free: replace self-raising flour with ground almonds or other gluten-free flour
Less-carb: replace dried fruit with sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds
Seasonal: replace cocoa and berries with apples, pears and/or feijoas or mashed banana and more coconut
Too healthy?: Add white and/or dark chocolate chips or buttons to the batter for an even more chocolatey pancake
Toppings: try nuts, jam, maple or golden syrup, coconut, yoghurt, cream, dried or fresh fruit, soft cheese, lemon curd, bacon