Holy cow, what a mouthful that title is…
I promise you this recipe is no where near as pretentious as it sounds.
Are there a lot of ingredients involved? Yeah, but none of them should be foreign – you’ll probably be surprised at how many of them you’ve already got in your pantry. It pretty much just calls for staples, or what are staples in my kitchen, anyway: rolled oats, ground spices, nuts, unrefined flour substitutes, eggs, milk of some description, coconut cream and a few other essential bits and bobs.
If you don’t have all the ingredients, or even half of them, please don’t stress. I don’t think I’ve ever followed a recipe precisely in all my life (apart from when making macaroons, when the slightest stray in an ingredient, even if only by a gram, results in a big fat fail and you swear you’ll never bake again). If you don’t have coconut cream or an orange or mandarin or pure maple syrup, don’t stress – you can always make something out of whatever you’ve got on hand. Unless you don’t own ground spices, then you should stress. Anyone who cooks should boast a ridiculous accumulation of spices, or the fundamental spices at least, even if you don’t have the slightest clue what to use them in or if they’ve been sitting unopened next to toothpicks and stock cubes at the back of a dusty drawer for the past five years. Knowing that I’ve got a drawer jam-packed with packets and jars full of different herbs and spices provides a lot of comfort, even if I’ve only ever cooked with half of them. It’s literally impossible to create a tasteless meal when you’ve got a range of spices on hand. What’s more, they’re so good for you and they’re SO CHEAP!
As you will see, this recipe contains a wee bit of added sweetener (about 4 tsp for all components in total). Sometimes you need a ‘lil bit of the sweet stuff to do a dish like pancakes proper justice. So, no I wouldn’t eat these every single day, purely because they do contain more added sweetener than I aim for in a typical breakfast, and I’m likely to be nibbling on something later in the day that contains said unrefined sweeteners anyway. On ordinary days, the only sugar in my breakfast comes from fresh fruit (usually banana and/or berries). While it’s absolutely FINE to incorporate some unrefined sweeteners (such as maple & rice malt) into your weekly diet, sugar is still sugar and it’s not great to cover your porridge or muesli with them every single morning.
Fructose is an addictive best and the more of it you consume (refined or unrefined), the more you will crave, and the more likely you will be to devour foods loaded with REFINED sugar. Believe me, I’ve been nibbling on far more sugary things than usual lately: a drizzle on maple syrup on this, a line of dark chocolate with that, a spoonful of ice cream here and a square of Mars Bar & Malteser Slice there. It’s not the actual food in my mouth at the time that’s doing the damage because let’s face it, those amounts are not going to kill me or break my scales, but it’s the effect that it has on my brain afterwards that’s the real issue: after that little bit of chocolate or that mouthful of ice cream, all I can think about is my next sugar fix. Usually, I genuinely crave vegetables and wholesome foods, but lately all I can think about is cake and cookies. And doughnuts and Marvellous Creations and sticky date pudding and chai lattes.
Sugar truly is the devil.
With all that said, this brekky is still relatively low in sugar overall. You can definitely afford to add small amounts of unrefined sweeteners to your breakfasts a few times a week, so long as you’re not relying on them just to make it “taste good”. Remember you could always leave the sweeteners out of this recipe, but don’t expect it to taste as good. Just sayin’.
If you can’t be bothered with all the fancy components and just want the pancakes, just make the pancakes and serve them smothered with almond butter and warm blueberries instead. Deeeeelish!
Orange & Chai-Spiced Pancakes w/ Caramelised Mandarin Compote, Cardamom Coconut Cream + Candied Maple Walnuts
Makes 3 small pancakes (serves 1)
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1 tbs whole meal spelt flour*
- 1 egg
- 1/2 small ripe banana
- 3 tbs milk of choice (I used oat milk)
- 1 tsp pure maple syrup
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cardamom
- pinch ground nutmeg
- tiny pinch dried ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp orange rind (finely grated)
- 1/2 tsp aluminium free baking powder
- pinch salt (I use pink Himalayan)
Caramelised Mandarin Compote:
- 1 mandarin, separated into its segments and visible pips removed if necessary
- zest and juice of half an orange (approx. 3 tsp)
- 1 tsp rice malt syrup (or maple syrup if you don’t have any)
- thumbnail slice of fresh ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Cardamom Coconut Cream:
- 2 tbs coconut cream (I always have a tin stored in the fridge because the cream sets on top of the milk when refrigerated)
- 1/4 tsp cardamom, or to taste
- stevia, to taste
Candied Maple Walnuts:
- 2 tbs walnut pieces (macadamias or peacans would work well too)*
- 2 tsp pure maple syrup
- To make the candied walnuts, preheat your oven to 160’C and line a tray with baking paper. In a small dish (you could even use a little cup), coat the walnut pieces with maple syrup. Spread out onto the lined baking tray and drizzle any excess maple left in the dish/cup over the walnuts. Bake for 5-10minutes, stirring a few times, until they begin to brown and take on a candied shell. Cooking times will depend on your oven and the size of your walnut pieces). If you’re making them in advance, allow to cool on the tray first, then store them in a little container in the fridge until needed.
- To make the mandarin compote: mix the orange zest, juice, rice malt, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Once it’s been boiling for a minute and starts to caramelise, (be careful that it doesn’t start to burn), add the mandarin segments and turn stove down to low. Stir and leave for a few minutes, or until the mandarin is heated through. Remove from stove and set aside until ready to use.
- To make the pancakes, blend all ingredients in a high-power blender or processor until a batter has formed. The batter should be a thick, pourable consistency. If it’s too thick, add a little milk, and add more spelt or oats if it seems too runny.
- To make the cardamom coconut cream, simply mix cardamom and a little stevia (optional) though the coconut cream and refrigerate until needed.
- Melt some coconut oil in a fry-pan over low-medium heat. Ensure that the pan is greased well enough, as the oat flour in the batter will try to stick to the pan like glue if you let it. But you’ve got this. Pour rounds of the pancake batter onto the pan (all 3 should fit in a medium/large fry-pan). Use the back of a spoon to shape into rounds if the batter is misbehaving. You know they’re ready to flip when the tops have bubbled (just like normal pancakes!). Cook on the other side for a few minutes or until cooked through.
- Serve in a stack with the mandarin compote, cardamom cream and candied maple walnuts. If you’re only making the pancakes, serve smothered with almond butter (this is just as delicious in my books).
Note: ingredients labelled with an (*) contain low levels of fructan and might not be suitable for people who are highly sensitive to such irritants. They’d never bother me in these amounts, but just as with any potential irritant, test your own tolerance.