Monday, 27 February 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas and Salt Caramel Pecans

So many pancakes, so little time... This year I thought I'd try something different, so customised a recipe from Delicious Magazine - and it was delicious!  My pudding-loving husband's eyes lit up as I placed a stack of pancakes in front of him, dripping with caramel and with shiny caramelised pecans... yes, there was the healthy Greek yoghurt too!   Go on, even if you don't use this specific recipe, it's so easy to make pancakes.   The quantity of pancakes was pretty high, so if there are only two of you, halve everything and you won't be quite so gluttonous...

Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas and Salt Caramel Pecans 

Buttermilk Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas and Salt Caramel Pecans

5oz/150g plain flour (I used spelt flour)
1tsp baking powder
1dsp caster sugar
2 eggs
1 carton buttermilk (9 fl.oz/just under ½ pint/284ml) plus a little extra milk

Butter for frying

4oz/110g caster sugar (at least!)
3 or 4 just underripe bananas
Handful of pecans and sprinkle of salt
Greek yoghurt to serve
Maple syrup to serve

Put the pancake ingredients except the extra into a food processor/blender and whizz until thick and gloopy – if it is too thick and you prefer a lighter pancake, add a little extra milk (also if you are using a gluten free blend).  Leave to stand for at least half an hour.

Heat a large frying pan and put in a small knob of butter.  Melt it and get it sizzling but not burnt.   Drop in a tablespoonful of batter and smooth it to an even circle about 5”/12cm diameter.  Copy this for the next one and do as many as you can at once.  When they are brown underneath (and you are allowed to peep), turn them over and brown the other side.  Put onto a warm plate and then keep going until you’ve used up all the mixture.   I made about 24 or so pancakes. 

If you have two frying pans, the next bit can be done at the same time.    Put 3oz/75g of the caster sugar into the bottom of another frying pan and put it onto the heat.  When it has melted, put in the bananas and turn up the heat so that the sugar caramelises (goes brown).  Turn the bananas once, so they are caramelised on either side.  Take them out with a fish slice and keep them warm on a plate/baking tray with parchment.    Now add the rest of the sugar and the pecans, plus a small knob of butter.  Caramelise the pecans, then tip them onto the baking parchment.  Sprinkle a little salt over before the caramel sets. 

Scrape the remaining caramel in the pan and add a tablespoon of water (and some more sugar if it has all gone).  Just like making gravy, scrape the caramel off the edges and bubble it to make a sauce (there won’t be much, so you could always just use maple syrup instead).

Assemble a pile of pancakes on each plate, top with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt, then add the bananas, pecans and a good pouring of the caramel sauce (or maple).   

Friday, 10 February 2017

White Chocolate Blondies

When I was young, Blondie was a singer.... but now she's been recreated as the white chocolate equivalent of brownies.  Maybe they're like her - soft, chewy, delicious, with a taste to make the heart sing!  Didn't she get to No 1?

I made these as a Welcome Home for my son from Antarctica, and at the same time did him a white iced cake.  Sadly, though, the blondies didn't stay blonde, as you can see, and not even a powdering of "snow" could help!  Hopefully you can do better than I - go on, take up the challenge!

This was a recipe I found on BBC Good Food, for which many thanks.  However, I've re-written parts of it so that you don't make the mistakes I did.   They tasted good anyway, so enjoy... They worked well with a flour blend.

White Chocolate Blondies 
White Chocolate Blondies

8oz/225g butter, in chunks
3.5oz/100g white chocolate, broken up
6 oz/175g plain flour (or rice flour) plus 1 pinch salt
½ tsp baking powder
7oz/200g light brown soft sugar
4oz/100g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
3.5oz/100 white chocolate, chopped into neat chunks

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, and line a baking tin 9 x 9”/21cm x 21cm with non-stick baking parchment.  The recipe suggested to grease the tin first, presumably to make the parchment stick. 

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stir the first amount of chocolate into the butter so it all mixes together (it is better to under-heat the chocolate and stir out the lumps using the residual heat in the butter).   Leave to cool a little.  

Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt together.    In a separate large bowl, beat the eggs, adding the sugar and vanilla.   Fold the melted chocolate into the beaten egg mix, then add the flour and the second amount of chocolate chunks.  

Spread into the tin and cook for up to 35 minutes – the mixture will rise in the tin, but it is better that it is undercooked rather than solid.    Allow to cool in the tin.  Having my blondies go brown, I would suggest putting a little hat of parchment over the top to stop this.   

Cut into bars or squares when cool, if you can wait that long!