Yesterday was sheer pancake pandemonium. During a little trip to the John Lewis food hall at lunchtime to pick up some lunch and my free coffee (hurrah!), I ended up in a scrum of people desperately grasping for the bisquick, maple syrup and nutella. The fridge containing the ready-made pancakes and raspberry coulis had been utterly decimated. Luckily, they thought ahead and put everything into convenient little displays. Gotta love John Lewis. They did the same with the haggis and whisky in the run up to Burns night.
My Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds were full of pictures of pancakes, videos of people successfully (and sometimes unsuccessfully) flipping pancakes and an array of imaginative toppings. Despite there being far too much squirty cream for my liking, I loved the fact that there were so many people all indulging in the same thing on the same evening.
Whenever Shrove Tuesday comes around I wonder why I don’t make pancakes more often, especially at the weekends when I have more time in the mornings to whip some up for breakfast. My favourite kind is the American-style pancakes – the ones containing baking powder that fluff up when in the pan – stacked up as high as possible and drenched in syrup. I first had them in the states about eight years ago and rejoiced when we all became culinary Americanophiles and they started popping up in diners here. I love crepes too, but am terrible at making them. Ollie worked in the John Lewis cafe whilst at sixth-form and his spell on the crepe stand made him a master crepe-maker. Just a shame he often works through dinnertime.
I found the recipe for these pancakes in a magazine I picked up at JFK some years ago, it was called ‘Comfort Food’ or something similar. Knowing I was going home to sub-zero temperatures in the UK I found it quite apt. The magazine has since been discarded, save for a couple of recipes that were cut out and stuck into a notebook I use to house interesting cuttings. So it is not really my recipe, but I know not whom to credit. I have also converted the measurements into metric – I do have a set of cups at home, but prefer my scales. Puréeing the peaches means that you get a smooth batter, however you could instead chop them very small if you are a fan of the fruity pancakes, like the ubiquitous blueberry ones. The addition of wholemeal flour (I used half wholemeal wheat flour and half wholemeal spelt flour as that was what I had in the cupboard) gives it a more wholesome and grainy texture, although you could use entirely white flour if you wished. The peach flavour is fairly subtle, however the addition of the chai syrup, made with the reserved juice from the can amps it up a little. If you’re not into the flavour of chai, you could make it without the teabags or simply add a scant teaspoon of your favourite spice.
Peach Pancakes with Chai Syrup
For the pancakes
- 2 tins of peach slices in syrup
- 2 large eggs
- 125ml whipping cream
- 180g wholemeal flour
- 125g plain flour
- 80g dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp fine salt
For the syrup
- 250ml reserved peach syrup
- 60g dark brown sugar
- 65ml water
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 2 chai teabags
Start by making the chai syrup. Combine the peach syrup, dark brown sugar, water and cornflour in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the teabags and cook and stir until the mixture is thickened and bubbling. Cook for an extra two minutes before removing the teabags and allowing to cool.
To make the pancakes, pulse the peach slices in a food processor until puréed. Transfer to a large bowl and, using a large balloon whisk, whisk in the eggs and cream until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the flours, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Add this mixture to the peach puree, stirring until just combined. The batter may be a little lumpy, but that is OK.
Lightly grease a small skillet or frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. Ladle some of the batter into the pan and gently spread out with a spatula. Cook until bubbles start to form on the surface and the edges look dry. Gently flip the pancake over using a large spatula and cook on the other side.
Served stacked and drenched in chai syrup.