Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pancakes with a carrot cake flavor!

If I had to choose my favorite cakes,  definitely carrot cake would be among the select few. Although making a basic carrot cake isn't too complicated, its decoration and finishing touches are often time consuming.
So whenever I crave the heavenly taste of carrot cake  but lack the time I resort to a shortcut recipe I developed: carrot cake pancakes!

Crepes and pancakes have deep historical roots. In fact, they go back as far as the Roman times. Back then they prepared the Alita Dolcia (another sweet in Latin), considered as the first form of pancakes.

As time passed, each nation and region added something special to the original product, depending on their social customs and what their land offers.
A Swedish friend told me that  pannkakor (or pancakes) are enjoyed on Thursday nights with some jam as a dessert after the traditional pea soup.
Along  with crepes pancakes were linked to Shrove Tuesday or Thrurday which is the time when Christians prepare for the lent season, a time where the consumption of dairy products is discouraged.

 As much as I love pancakes preparing them the same way over and over again can get boring, that's why I never follow a recipe strictly and I always vary and add my personal touches. Recently I have been making pancakes with carrots and trying to recreate the carrot cake taste. Although the texture will never be the same but the aroma is almost the same and the taste is quite similar.

 Now let me tell you what you need for these delicious pancakes (makes 10):

  • 130 g flour (about a cup)
  • 120 ml of buttermilk (milk would also be suitable)
  • 50 g cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp of sugar (or you can use 2 if you want a sweeter result)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each of ground nutmeg,  star anise and cloves (or use your favorite spices)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 40 g pineapple purée
  • 100 g of finely grated carrots (about a half cup)
  • 2 tbsp of slightly roasted coconut (optional or you can use pecans or walnuts)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp of melted butter (or vegetable oil)

Mix the dry ingredients together (flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and coconut). 
In a separate  bowl mix your wet ingredients ( the egg, cream cheese, vanilla and milk) together until well combined.

Create a hole or a well in the center of the flour mixture, add the butter and the wet ingredients mixture, mix well.  Finally incorporate the grated carrots.
Let the mixture rest for some time allowing the flavors to develop (you can leave it in the fridge for 20 min).

While the batter is resting, you can prepare a cream cheese topping to go with your pancakes. It's dead easy to make. Simple use 4 tablespoons of cream cheese to which you add a dash of cinnamon, a tablespoon or two of powdered sugar and a tablespoon of maple syrup.

Cooking pancakes is simple. People often worry that the batter will stick, but if you butter your pan or spray it with a cooking oil it won't.
Heat your skillet and add a knob of butter, add enough batter so you get the size you want. I prefer my pancakes to be medium sized, I am not a big fan of oversized ones.
When you start seeing bubbles forming on surface of the pancake and the edge starts to color, flip them to the other side and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Serve the warm pancakes with the cream cheese mix,  with maple syrup or with both. Enjoy!

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