3 November 2016

CARROT CAKE SOURDOUGH PANCAKES


Thick, fluffy, sweet, moist pancakes with a perfume of warm autumn spices and an aroma of carrots, walnuts and sourdough, sprinkled with crunchy walnuts, and drizzled with glossy golden-brown sweet maple syrup. Served with a dollop of refreshing Greek yogurt, or better still, maple-syrup-caramelised bacon on the side (thank you, Helen, for taking over the pan on that one!). Could you really wish for more? :-)



A recent extended knife cutting exercise from my latest adventure: a Rouxbe cooking course, left me with a huge amount of carrots and carrot scraps - I wonder, do all students need to use so many carrots and hours to produce perfect Batonnets, Dice and Juliennes? Do they all use a ruler? ;-) Are the carrots in their countries so much larger that they can cut perfect 2 cm large cubes without any wastage? It's an online course, so I guess, I will never know :-)




Anyway, the scraps, next to other knife practising veggies, were transformed into vegetable stock; but what to do with the bigger chunks of carrots? As it happened, at the same time I was reviving and feeding my sourdough starter and had quite a big amount at hand, so, the 'logical' conclusion: 


>> Carrots + Sourdough Starter = Carrot Cake Sourdough Pancakes <<

It was the first time I had made them, but we really loved them, and I already made them again. So... drum role, followed by blowing of my own trumpet: they are really, really that good! :-)



Sourdough adds an interesting flavour to Pancakes. I make them every so often, especially when I'm too lazy abandoning the idea of baking SOURDOUGH BREAD (click for recipe), and am left with a lot of active sourdough starter - needless to say, I hate to discard it. I would make simple SOURDOUGH PANCAKES (click for recipe), and then we have them drowned under anything sweet one can think of - but mostly an embarrassing, unjustifiable, heap of Nutella :-)


Anyway, these Carrot Cake Sourdough Pancakes are different. They don't need Nutella (did that really just come out of my mouth?). They ask for walnuts, and maple-syrup, and fresh, healthy Greek yogurt. Well, yes... and caramelised bacon. Not convinced yet?


P.S. the Nutella can always go on top of a spoon later... :-)

Makes app. 20 pancakes of app. 11cm - ¼ inch diameter, using ¼ cup as scoop

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (240ml) milk, slightly warmed

1 ½ cups (360ml) active sourdough starter

1 ¾ cups (280g) organic wheat flour (I used the French T110)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup (60g) brown (or white) sugar
¼ cup (50g) melted butter
2 cups finely grated carrots from 4 carrots (app. 300g unpeeled)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
½ cup (60g) chopped walnuts
sunflower oil (or butter) for frying

To serve: roughly chopped walnuts and maple syrup
Optional: caramelised bacon: slices of breakfast bacon, maple syrup



Important: If necessary, revive your Sourdough Starter a day ahead and feed it several times, so you increase the amount to at least 1.5 cups (360ml), plus the starter you want to keep behind for storage!


Pre-heat the oven to 200°F/90°C/70°C fan to keep the finished pancakes warm while frying.


Prepare the ingredients: Measure out all the ingredients, then warm the milk, melt the butter, chop the walnuts, and peel and grate the carrots very finely with a box grater.



Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat them with a balloon whisk or electric mixer until fluffy. Add the warmed milk and revived Sourdough Starter and mix gently.


Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and baking soda (Note: in case the mixture is not used immediately, leave the baking powder and baking soda out at this point, and add them just before using the sourdough mix to make the pancakes).



Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, but gently, so as not to stimulate  the gluten in the flour. A few clumps in the dough are not a problem, they will cook out later.




Add the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and melted butter and mix well.




Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is quite hot - test with a little drop of water - it should sizzle in the pan. Lightly grease the pan with oil. To do so, make a ball out of a sheet of kitchen paper. Wrap another sheet around the ball, making a little wrapped handle on top. Dip the ball into the bowl with oil, then use it to oil the pan, careful, not to burn your hand on the rim of the pan! This works very well and leaves just a little amount of oil in the pan.



Add ¼ cup of the pancake dough to the pan and shape a circle. Cook until light brown. Once little air bubbles form and start to burst on the surface, the top starts to look a little bumpy, and the outside looks cooked, app. 2-3 minutes, turn the pancake over and cook on the other side until nicely browned and done. This will take less time, maybe 1-2 minutes, depending on the heat of the pan. In total the pancakes take app. 4-5 minutes cooking time.





Put the cooked pancake on a large plate and place it in the oven to keep it warm. Repeat, oiling and frying, until all the dough has been used up, keeping the pancakes warm in the meantime.



Serve hot, with some chopped walnuts sprinkled on top, and a drizzle of maple syrup.



Optional: serve with caramelised bacon: fry a couple of slices of breakfast bacon until browned and crispy. Once fried, add a little maple syrup for caramelisation. Serve with the pancakes.



Tip: I tend to make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers for later. The good thing is that this way you can have even one or two pancakes at any time for breakfast. Leave them to cool completely (in this case I would not put them in the oven after frying), then place them on a small parchment paper lined tray, that fits inside your freezer. Leave for app. 30 minutes, or until frozen, then remove them from the freezer and stack them with pieces of parchment paper between to prevent them from sticking together, Pack them into freezer bags, marked with the date, and put them back into the freezer. They should last for 1-2 months in the freezer.


To reheat: Smaller amounts: reheat in the microwave, no more than 20 secs (depending on the strength of your microwave) for one, and one minute for more, until nicely hot and fluffy; or at low temperature in a toaster. For bigger amounts it's best to reheat them in the oven: pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C7160°C fan, place the pancakes on a parchment lined baking tray, cover them tightly with aluminum foil and reheat them for 10 minutes until warmed through and fluffy.





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CARROT CAKE SOURDOUGH PANCAKES





Makes app. 20 pancakes of app. 11cm - ¼ inch diameter, using ¼ cup as scoop

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup (240ml) milk, slightly warmed

1 ½ cups (360ml) active sourdough starter

1 ¾ cups (280g) organic wheat flour (I used the French T110)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ cup (60g) brown (or white) sugar
¼ cup (50g) melted butter
2 cups finely grated carrots from 4 carrots (app. 300g unpeeled)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
½ cup (60g) chopped walnuts
sunflower oil (or butter) for frying

To serve: roughly chopped walnuts and maple syrup
Optional: caramelised bacon: slices of breakfast bacon, maple syrup

Important: If necessary, revive your Sourdough Starter a day ahead, and feed it several times so you increase the amount to at least 1.5 cups (360ml), plus the starter you want to keep behind for storage!

1) Pre-heat the oven: Pre-heat the oven to 200°F/90°C/70°C fan to keep the finished pancakes warm while frying.


2) Prepare the ingredients: Measure out all the ingredients, then warm the milk, melt the butter, chop the walnuts, and peel and grate the carrots very finely with a box grater.

3) Mix the wet ingredients: Break the eggs into a large bowl and beat them with a balloon whisk or electric mixer until fluffy. Add the warmed milk and revived Sourdough Starter and mix gently.

4) Mix the dry ingredients: Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder and baking soda (Note: in case the mixture is not used immediately, leave the baking powder and baking soda out at this point, and add them just before using the sourdough mix to make the pancakes).

5) Combined the wet and dry ingredients: Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, but gently, so as not to stimulate  the gluten in the flour. A few clumps in the dough are not a problem, they will cook out later.

6) Add the carrots, nuts and butter: Add the grated carrots, chopped walnuts and melted butter and mix well.

7) Fry the pancakes: Heat a pan over medium-high heat. Make sure the pan is quite hot - test with a little drop of water - it should sizzle in the pan. Lightly grease the pan with oil. To do so, make a ball out of a sheet of kitchen paper. Wrap another sheet around the ball, making a little wrapped handle on top. Dip the ball into the bowl with oil, then use it to oil the pan, careful, not to burn your hand on the rim of the pan! This works very well and leaves just a little amount of oil in the pan.
Add ¼ cup of the pancake dough to the pan and shape a circle. Cook until light brown. Once little air bubbles form and start to burst on the surface, the top starts to look a little bumpy, and the outside looks cooked, app. 2-3 minutes, turn the pancake over and cook on the other side until nicely browned and done. This will take less time, maybe 1-2 minutes, depending on the heat of the pan. In total the pancakes take app. 4-5 minutes cooking time. Put the cooked pancake on a large plate and place it in the oven to keep it warm. Repeat, oiling and frying, until all the dough has been used up, keeping the pancakes warm in the meantime.

9) Serve: Serve hot, with some chopped walnuts sprinkled on top, and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Optional: serve with caramelised bacon: fry a couple of slices of breakfast bacon until browned and crispy. Once fried, add a little maple syrup for caramelisation. Serve with the pancakes.

Tips for Freezing and Re-heating: 
I tend to make a big batch and then freeze the leftovers for later. The good thing is that this way you can have even one or two pancakes at any time for breakfast. Leave them to cool completely (in this case I would not put them in the oven after frying), then place them on a small parchment paper lined tray, that fits inside your freezer. Leave for app. 30 minutes, or until frozen, then remove them from the freezer and stack them with pieces of parchment paper between to prevent them from sticking together, Pack them into freezer bags, marked with the date, and put them back into the freezer. They should last for 1-2 months in the freezer.

To reheat: Smaller amounts: reheat in the microwave, no more than 20 secs (depending on the strength of your microwave) for one, and one minute for more, until nicely hot and fluffy; or at low temperature in a toaster. For bigger amounts it's best to reheat them in the oven: pre-heat the oven to 350°F/180°C7160°C fan, place the pancakes on a parchment lined baking tray, cover them tightly with aluminum foil and reheat them for 10 minutes until warmed through and fluffy.
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