With Pancake Day looming I thought I’d share my recipe for the best fluffy banana pancakes (even if I say so myself). The combination of spelt flour and banana makes for a nutty but naturally sweet flavour and they work really well with nut butters, maple syrup and winter produce such as forced rhubarb and pear.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
For the pancakes
175g spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 ripe bananas
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
knob of butter for frying
1tsp sea salt
maple syrup or honey
either fresh banana, winter berries, finely sliced apple or pear, orange segments or poached rhubarb
either almond, peanut or cashew butter
Preheat the oven to 180c. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Toss the pecans in the honey and salt and evenly distribute on the prepared tray then bake for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Stir together and make a well in the centre.
In a jug whisk together the milk, egg and vanilla extract then mash the bananas and add them in. Tip the contents of the jug into the dry ingredients and whisk together until you have a smooth, lump-free batter.
Once the pecans are sticky and toasted set aside.
Now you’re ready to cook the pancakes. Heat a large frying pan and add a knob of butter. Once the butter is gently foaming add 3 or 4 mounds of the pancake batter and cook on the first side until bubbles start to appear on the top, then turn over and cook for a couple more minutes. Continue cooking the pancakes in batches until you’ve used all the batter up.
Serve with fresh banana, maple syrup and the honeyed pecans.
Peach puree and ground hazelnuts run through this cake batter, giving it a distinctly fruity flavour and very moist crumb. I love the added nuttiness wholemeal flour brings to the end result too and think it works really well served with a tangy creme fraiche and drizzle of local honey.
Ingredients (serves 10-12):
For the crumble topping:
100g plain flour
50g caster sugar
85g hazelnuts, chopped
75g butter, melted
For the cake:
zest 1 lemon
225g soft butter
175g caster sugar
400g ripe peaches, blitzed into a chunky puree
200g wholemeal self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
100g finely chopped hazelnuts
1 peach, finely sliced
large handful blueberries
dollop creme fraiche or greek yoghurt
drizzle of honey
Preheat the oven to 160c (325f/gas mark 3). Grease and line a 9inch spring form cake tin.
Before you worry about the cake batter, make the crumble topping. To do this simply stir together the flour, sugar, hazelnuts and butter until you have a rough crumbly consistency. Set aside for later.
Now it’s time for the cake. In a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Whisk the pureed peaches and eggs in a jug and add to the creamed mixture in three additions, beating well between each. The mixture may curdle so add a small amount of flour occasionally to bring it back (don’t worry too much about this, the batter comes together nicely in the end and the cake is always moist and delicious!).
Once the eggs and peaches have been incorporated into the butter and sugar, fold in the remaining flour, blitzed hazelnuts, baking powder and salt. Scrape the mix into the prepared cake tin and level out. Arrange the peach slices on top in a pattern then sprinkle over the blueberries and hazelnut crumble.
Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached. Serve with creme fraiche.
This dairy and gluten free upside down cake will brighten up your winter meals with it’s perfect balance of sweet and citrus flavours. The polenta gives it a course texture but the oranges and almonds make it moist and it’s perfect paired with a big dollop of (dairy free) creme fraiche.
2tbsp vegetable oil, for greasing
3tbsp runny honey
1 whole orange, sliced
5 eggs, separated
225ml sunflower oil
225g caster sugar
zest 1 orange (reserve the juice)
zest 1 lemon
200g ground almonds
1 1/2 tsp (gluten free) baking powder
For the syrup: 1 pomegranate (seeds only), 200ml reserved orange juice (top up with water if you don’t have enough), 50g caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 180c. Generously grease an 8 or 9 inch cake tin with the oil and place a disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom.
Drizzle the base with the honey and arrange the slices of orange on top.
Place the egg yolks, oil, 175g of the caster sugar and the orange/lemon zest in a bowl. Beat until thick and pale then add the polenta, almonds and baking powder and stir together.
In a separate (very clean) bowl, whisk the egg whites until they come to soft peaks then add the remaining 50g caster sugar and whisk until medium/stiff peaks form. Put one large spoonful of the egg white into the other ingredients and mix to loosen, then fold the rest in.
Carefully scrape the finished cake mix into the prepared cake tin (don’t drop it in from a height or you will push out all the air you’ve incorporated!). Level off the top carefully and bake for 30-40 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted).
While the cake is baking, make the syrup. Simply place the orange juice (and water if needed) and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved bring to the boil for about 5 minutes- once the syrup has thickened slightly take off the heat and add the pomegranate seeds. Set aside.
When the cake is ready, turn out of the tin and drizzle with syrup. Arrange the pomegranate seeds on top.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a spoonful of dairy free creme fraiche/yoghurt.