Spelt Flour Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelised Apples

Recipe created by my dear friend BH and myself. BH adores spelt flour and has shown me how to incorporate it in my repertoire.

I could never understand why we didn’t eat Uncle Ben’s rice at home; the kind that Mrs. Ferris, my friend Sarah’s mum boiled in its own bag and served us alongside roast chicken. Each grain was plum and served slightly watery.

Why did we have to have basmati rice all the time? Sometimes laced with cumin and sometimes cooked in a cinnamon, cloves and cardamom-infused chicken stock.

I could never understand why I couldn’t eat Fig Newtons as a child. So what if there was animal (pig) fat in it?

Why didn’t we have a ‘station wagon’ like the one my friend Carrie’s parents drove? Why did we have to have a German car?

Why did we have to go to Europe and Pakistan every summer when the rest of my friends were staying in Washington DC and going down the slide at the pool near our home whilst sipping grape juice out of small boxes with straws attached?

And most importantly, why did we eat spicy masala omelettes or crêpes for breakfast and not pancakes and waffles like everyone else in my neighbourhood? I wanted to eat those Eggo waffles which came out of boxes and were slathered with Aunt Jemima’s sugary syrup. The kind that bores holes into your molars.

There was no boxed food in our home, no Eggo waffles and no Chef Boyardee. I had to go to my friends’ homes to have that.

It’s only when you’re older do you understand that having spicy baked eggs, the kind your Ami always makes, are better than Eggo waffles…

And that a platter of elongated basmati rice perfumed with roasted cumins seeds is better than Uncle Ben’s sloppy mess…

And that the mangoes we ate every summer at my grandmother’s home in Lahore; the ones which were so decadently sweet and juicy that the nectar would run all the way down your arms to your elbows…could never compare to the boxed juices my friends were having at the pool in DC…

And nutty spelt flour pancakes made at home…

Dressed with caramelised apples; candy-like and crisp around the edges…

Drizzled with maple syrup like molten amber…

Are better than any Fig Newton you were deprived of as a child…

Especially with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar on top, and washed down with cups of jasmine tea…

Serves 4
You will need two 8-9 in non-stick frying pans and maple syrup.

Ingredients:
For the pancakes:
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
extra butter (unsalted) for the frying pan
confectioner’s sugar

For caramelised apples:
2 tbsp salted butter
1 large apple (preferably Granny Smith), peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
2-3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 cardamom pods
pinch white pepper (optional)

Preparation:
For the pancakes:
*Combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder in a mixing bowl.
*Separately combine buttermilk, eggs, unsalted butter.
*Slowly, add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir. The resultant batter should not be completely smooth; allow for some lumps.
*Place a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and brush with butter.
*When butter starts to bubble, add a 1/4 of batter into the pan. You can add two portions at a time like I do.
*You’ll see the sides of the pancake begin to turn golden and the top will start to bubble. At this point, flip the pancake over. You may have to adjust the heat down from medium-high to medium.
*Place in a warm oven at 200F till ready to serve.

For the caramelised apples:
*Place a non-stick frying pan on medium heat and add butter.
*When it starts to bubble, add apples, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon powders, cloves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and white pepper. Stir every few minutes as they caramelise slowly over the next 10-15 minutes.
*The apples are ready when they turn a nutty golden colour and a sharp knife can be easily inserted.

Assemblage:
Serve pancakes with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and some caramelised apples on top. Smother with lots of butter and drizzle with maple syrup.

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Comments

  1. Gah, who needs words when your photos are so drool-worthy? YUM!

  2. I totally know what you mean describing the Chef Boyardee and all the other differences. Back then we didn’t see our customs/traditions as blessings, but they really are. I’ve never used spelt flour! Love pancakes tho and the caramelized apples…mmm :)

  3. i love this post!!

    often felt many of those same sentiments — mine was a daily squeal, “why can’t we be NORMAL?’

    ha!!

    x

  4. Nothing beats homemade food. If only as kids we understood that.
    I love the addition of the caramelized apples on your pancakes.
    Magda

  5. When you’re a kid the grass is always greener… I remember that so well, i wasn’t allowed chocolate bars and food was always freshly made. Getting squash and a penguin bar at friend’s houses was always a highlight and for a (short) while I hankered more for egg and chips than the fresh game my step-dad always managed to procure from the local farmers.

    Mind you, I always have and always will hanker after good American pancakes… ;)

  6. Being in Middle East, I didn’t go through the concerns with pig fat etc., but my parents are big on home made food.
    I have never seen mom using anything out of a box to this day, and sometimes when I even think of it , it makes me sick with guilt. And I often felt deprived of all the great food my friends were eating namely, fast food, quick pasta places etc :) and how madly do I miss those mom’s homemade food!
    I have not used spelt flour either Shayma, but caramelized apples makes me want to whip up right away!

  7. Thanks, lovelies, for the comments. When you’re a kid you *do* want to eat food out of a box. I was allowed Kraft Mac & Cheese and Rice-A-Roni on the nights my parents went out for dinner, that was the ultimate treat!

    @Nadia @The Grubworm The problem arises when children are mean and traumatise you for being “different”. They used to make fun of my shami kebab sandwiches, which sounds funny now, but they were actually quite awful to me. You see, we were expats, not immigrants…and that made a very big difference in terms of fitting in, or in my case, not. Thanks for your sweet comments.

    @Kulsum I knew pig fat was verboten ;) but I used to long to eat Nabisco products – they all contained pig fat. I think even Oreos were verboten at one point! Imagine the sadness…tee hee

  8. And by the way- I am in love with spelt flour- I substitute it for white flour. Just remember that it is a bit heavier than white flour so you’ll need more baking powder. It has a lovely nutty flavour.

  9. When I was little I used to beg my mum for “shop cake” like everyone else had. The cakes she made were nothing compared to the wonders of Mr Kipling. Poor woman! Now, of course, going home is a delight because it always means a cake is baked (my dad is delighted whenever I visit, mostly because it means he gets homemade cake. They’re banned at all other times!).

    Those pancakes look delicious. I was going to ask what kind of flavour they give the pancakes, but you’ve answered that in the comments section! I’ve just got into buckwheat pancakes, so maybe spelt pancakes are the next stop.

  10. Gorgeousness – been hankering for this recipe since you posted that pic on Facebook. Made some spelt drop scones last weekend (recipe coming soon!) and with a big bag of spelt flour in my cupboard freewheeling towards sell-by-date will definitely be trying these delicate crepes too. Thanks Shayma xx

  11. I love blueberry pancakes,but spiced apples sound great too!Will definitely try this soon!

  12. I think I m actually drooling. Goodness these look DELECTABLE! LLGxx

  13. Toronto-food-lover says:

    As a local foodie I want to say thank you for bringing this type of cuisine into our blogosphere. The links you have made between your past and the food you love with the current context of your Toronto life indeed spells out wonderfully woven stories. Thank you.

  14. I’ve never cooked with spelt flour before, how nice to have a great excuse to go buy some! – S

  15. I felt as if I was listening to my son and daughter complains and plot to buy the Chef Boyardee cans that are so good, that mom is depriving them of! I even heard my son say that I was abusing him by making him go to Paris and London and Beirut when he could have stayed in Plano (a suburb here filled with cookie cutter houses and strip malls) instead! Well,, kids grow up and realize the difference and learn to appreciate the extra culture bestowed on them; even though my son loves to binge on greasy wings once in a while, he learned to cook our lentil dishes when he moved out!
    Your post and beautiful pictures is making me want to try spelt flour as well.

  16. I’d say you were the (very) lucky one as a kid, dear! Summers in Europe and Pakistan, yes please! But I also understand wanting to be part of the group as a kid too :) . Your photos are gorgeous! xo, T

  17. uff moon mein paani aa gaya hai. just look at those pancakes!!! pure decadence. also, the new site looks BEAUTIFUL!

    i didn’t know fig newtons had pig fat in them?? i was addicted to them for 2 years :p haww!

  18. Dear Shayma:

    Thank you for another beautiful post.

    À propos of your response to Nadia and The Grubworm: Children can be so cruel. Their cliquishness can make even native-born neighbors feel like outsiders. As a child, I remember hiding my school lunches to avoid belittlement. Why? It was the 70s and my mother was a natural foods foodie (though the latter word hadn’t yet been invented) She packed carefully sliced fresh vegetables and sandwiches of whole grain bread and natural peanut butter. As a coup de disgrace, she packed the food in wax paper sandwich bags (more environmentally friendly). The other kids at school munched mini bags of chips, Twinkies and balloon bread sandwiches packed in cool, plastic ziplock bags. They made fun of my lunches. I remember feeling such Jane Eyre-ish alienation–and intense longing for their processed, nutritionally empty food!

    It seems ridiculous now–but it was huge then, wasn’t it?

    Thankfully we survived those mean, small-minded children.

    And you grew up to be a compassionate, globally-minded, artistically gifted adult. How many of your Fig Newton-eating childhood friends now are cross-cultural gourmands, spellbinding storytellers and acclaimed bloggers?

    Back to your current post…It’s beautifully written and photographed, as always. I haven’t cooked with spelt in awhile, but am now newly motivated to buy a bag of this high-protein grain.

    P.S. I love your new site design.

  19. Shayma, first of all, I love your new look! Second, I love this pancake recipe, I’m definitely making this for brunch on Sunday since I recently bought spelt flour. Thanks for sharing sweetie! xo

  20. What a post to come on to on a Sunday morning! I have never used Spelt. The caramelized apples are making my mouth water. I consider being able to travel is a god given opportunity and I wish I could do that with my children. It opens up the entire world and I guess makes it so much easier to accept the unknown.

    Let me mention here that I had been going thru your space and the post where you wrote about ur grandmom (dancing tango!! ) just made me so emotional. What a beautiful post and wonderful ways to remember her.

  21. Great recipe S, I love spelt and buttermilk pancakes. It’s wonderful to see people using more and more spelt in their baking :)

    p.s. kids are so fickle, I used to prefer the taste of McD’s hamburgers to my dad’s homemade ones as a kid. Thank goodness we grow out of these habits…

  22. John Walker says:

    I’m making this for me and my momma next Saturday- I have spelt flower not being used at my house.

  23. These look absolutely delicious. I make my pancakes with spelt too, and just love it!
    I love the stories you share on your blog, as well as your recipes and gorgeous photos.

  24. I have buttermilk and spelt flour and it’s pancake tuesday next week – will def try out this recipe!

  25. Superb post but I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more onn this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further.
    Bless you!

  26. Hello tgis is kinda of off topic but I was waqnting tto know if
    blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have too manually code wityh HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I
    wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

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