In Italy we have Fat Tuesday, it’s the last day of the Carnival season. Well, actually there is Fat Thursday as well: a couple of days for indulging in traditional food before Lent. At the begin of January, when you still have a messy house full of decorations, loads of coloured and extra-sugary sweets start to pop up in the shops. And you will start hearing an imperative in your tummy: it’s time to fry! No jokes, it’s all about frying. There are so many kinds of traditional sweets for this time of the year, but 90% of them are fried. I like to cook some of them from time to time, but making a healthier version makes the sweets more enjoyable: so, for example, I use whole grain flour, cut off some of the sugar and use different toppings or fruit, or choose to prepare them in the oven.
Then, I moved to Ireland and there was no Fat Tuesday, but Pancake Tuesday. Interesting, I said. Let’s give it a go. This is an easy recipe for pancakes: you can pair them with the orange cream or just use lemon juice and fresh fruit.
Spelt Pancakes with Orange Cream
100 g wholegrain spelt flour (use buckwheat flour for a gluten-free version)
2 tbsp grounded flaxseeds
200-220 ml almond or hazelnut milk
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
a pinch of black pepper
½ tsp ghee or coconut oil (for cooking)
4 dried apricots
dried coconut (to sprinkle on top)
To make the batter: in a medium-sized bowl, combine flaxseeds, spices and half of the plant-based milk. Let it rest for 5-10 min. Then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir until there are no lumps. Add more liquid if needed (depends on the kind of flour and milk that you’re using). Heat a frying pan, preferably a non-stick one, on a medium heat with ½ tsp of ghee or coconut oil (find here the recipe for ghee). Use 3 tbsp for each pancake, moving the pan until the batter is evenly distributed. Cook each pancake until it can be easily flipped with a spatula. Keep the batter well mixed. Using these quantities, you will be able to make approx. 9 pancakes.
To make the orange cream: the recipe is similar to one that I have already published on these pages. Peel the oranges, chop them into small pieces and blend one of them with the chopped apricots (you can add in the blender some zest as well if you’re using organic oranges). Use the second orange as topping for the pancakes, together with some dried coconut. Place some of the cream inside the pancakes and use some as topping.
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