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.
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…
You will need two 8-9 in non-stick frying pans and maple syrup.
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 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
extra butter (unsalted) for the frying pan
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)
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.
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.