Posh Pancakes Made Easy

Pancake Day is tomorrow and I cannot wait!  I feel the same about it every year, and always wonder why I don’t make pancakes more often?  They are hardly any bother and are such a treat to have for dessert.  They don’t need much in the way of toppings either as the simple but traditional sprinkle of lemon juice and sugar is often a favourite.  Perhaps I like pancakes so much because they remind me of our holidays in France?  We go every year and always treat ourselves to a crêpe or two whilst we are there.  The smell of cooking pancakes is enough to transport my mind into imagining that I am walking down a little cobbled street in a scenic French village enjoying sunshine on my back and feeling relaxed.  This is a great tonic on a dark, wet February evening.

My children love pancakes too.  A dollop of nutella and they could not be happier.  I normally fill my pancakes with cooked banana, squirty cream and melted chocolate, but this year I wanted to be a little bit more adventurous, and what I have come up with is something that I think tastes pretty yummy indeed, even if I do say so myself! I am actually sitting here writing this blog post completely full up with pancake after eating far more than I thought at the ‘tasting session’.  I’ll be making more pancakes on Tuesday as well.  Double the amount of pancakes…hmmm writing a food blog definitely has advantages!   But I do need to warm you that just one of these pancakes is unlikely to be enough.  They are sooo moreish and if you get a little bit artistic with your presentation I think they could be served as an impressive dinner party dessert.  Here is what I came up with:

Chocolate and cinnamon pancake filled with fresh blueberries and vanilla cream, drizzled with blueberry coulis and melted chocolate. 

Bit of a mouthful, but I would say that is quite literally what it is…a heavenly mouthful! But don’t be put off by the complicated sounding title, this really is very easy to put together and I’ll even make a couple of extra shortcut suggestions as I go along because I know that as a busy mum myself,  saving a extra 10 mins at dinner time can make a big difference at bath time, and then bedtime.

Interestingly, the inspiration for these came from the two boxes of blueberries that were sat in my fridge and needed using up.  But in hindsight, these little balls of loveliness are a perfect match for a pancake.  They are naturally very sweet so do not need much sugar added to them, but they also provide a subtle tang which sets off the warm cinnamon tones, chocolate and cream of beautifully.

What you will need:

Pancake batter:

  • 105g plain flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 200ml milk mixed with 75ml water
  • 50g unsalted butter melted

Filling and topping

  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 50g melted dark chocolate
  • 150g fresh blueberries
  • 40ml water
  • 2 tbsp of agave/maple syrup
  • Icing sugar to dust

How to make:

  1. In a separate bowl sift in the dry ingredients of the batter mix and whisk with the two eggs.  Then slowly add the milk and water mixture whilst continuing to whisk.  Finally add in 2 tbsp of the melted butter and keep the rest for the frying pan.  Put batter in the fridge to keep cool (cold batter on a hot pan is good) and to allow it to thicken a bit as it stands
  2. Pour the whipping cream and vanilla paste into a large mixing bowl and whisk until the cream has thickened.  Cream should be thick enough to stay attached the whisk when you pull it out of the cream.  Put to one side
  3. Now put 120g of the blueberries in a saucepan with the water and syrup and heat for about 5 mins until the berries start to burst.  Blitz in the food processor until smooth.  If you want it super smooth you will probably need to sieve it as well, but I did not bother to do this with mine.  Put to one side
  4. Start to slowly melt your chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.  Or leave this step out and use a pre-made chocolate sauce (we have a Hershey’s one which is lovely)
  5. Heat up your frying pan, and when you think it is pretty hot, dab a bit of scrunched up kitchen paper in the remaining melted butter and rub onto the frying pan.  Then add a small ladle full of batter to the pan, or a couple of tablespoons.  You don’t need too much as pancakes should be thin so that they are cooked though before they start burning.  Move the pan in circular motions to spread the batter around.  If you use something like the back of the spoon it will most likely catch and create a hole as they start to cook as soon as they are poured on
  6. After about 2 mins, flip the pancake, (in the air if you are brave enough) and cook for another two mins on the other side
  7. My advice is to cook a few pancakes and keep the ones you have done on a plate covered in foil.  I think you could probably get away with coking 3-4 this way before you should start to make them up and by cooking in batches like this you will save a bit of time rather than cooking, constructing, cooking etc
  8. When putting together, put a nice thick line of cream down the middle of the pancake, then top with fresh blueberries, wrap over both sides, and drizzle with blueberry coulis and melted chocolate/chocolate sauce.  Finally dust with icing sugar and serve straight away

20/02/2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Sweet Baking. 10 comments.

New Year Blog Challenge – Low Calorie Blueberry Muffins

This week has been quite exciting.  The people at Bakingmad.com were looking for food bloggers to take part in a new year healthy baking challenge. Always up for a challenge, especially a baking one I got in touch and they sent me a list of low calorie baking recipes and asked me to choose one to make and review. So I picked low calorie blueberry muffins because I was interested to see if a low calorie version would be just as good as the real thing.

A link to the recipe I used is here.

A few days later the postman knocked on my door and gave me a little cardboard box. Inside was a packet of Allinson’s nature friendly flour and packet of Silver Spoon half spoon sugar.  When reading the small print on the packs I was pleasantly surprised at the reasons why the flour is branded nature friendly.  It uses conservation grade wheat which is where farmers actively manage their farmland to promote bio-diversity and conditions where wildlife can flourish.  I like the sound of that.  But reading the back of the silver spoon half spoon sugar pack I was a bit disappointed to see that it contained artificial sweetener.  Not something I really like to use if I’m honest, but then there is half the sugar required in this recipe to a normal blueberry muffin recipe (I checked) and so that is quite a bonus especially if you are on the dreaded new year diet.

So today was the day I decided to complete the challenge.  I set everything up and called my 6 year to see if she wanted to help.  There is no electric mixer involved, just a little whisking and stirring, so she could pretty much do everything, which I think she found very rewarding. She took ages putting the batter in the cases and it was lovely to see her take care to do it properly and really get into the task.

They came out of the oven looking beautiful. Nicely risen with a few gorgeous purple blueberries bubbling at the surface. And I have to say they tasted pretty good too!  They would certainly hit the mid afternoon ‘snack attack’ spot and I definitely did not feel quite as guilty eating one of these in comparison to a normal muffin or slice of cake.  Might even pack one in my gym bag tomorrow as a treat for afterwards.  I’m going to freeze a few too as I think they would be nice as an alternative to breakfast at some point in the week, especially if I’m running late and need breakfast on the go.  My 6 year old loved them!  She came through to the kitchen after eating one and said they were delicious!  This is quite a compliment as she has a sweet tooth, so I guess she did not notice the fact that these had a lot less sugar in which is great.

Overall, I would say these are a quick and easy muffin recipe which is certainly worth a try.  Next time I’m tempted to swap the flour to wholemeal self raising and to try it with the same amount of normal sugar to see how that tastes and turns out. Anyone gets there before me let me know.

Disclaimer- I do not work for Baking Mad nor did not get paid to write this review.

14/01/2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Homemade for the kids, Sweet Baking. 8 comments.