Berries and stone fruit were luxuries as a child growing up in India. Once we moved to New Zealand and then to Australia, these fruits became more accessible and I’ve fallen in love with them. Berries in England are in an altogether different league of awesomeness so it is very rare for me to go into the supermarket and not come out with a box of strawberries, blueberries or raspberries. My partner often jokes that berries are going to make us bankrupt but when I put them in front of us for breakfast or as dessert, they disappear quite quickly.
In an attempt to pry my partner from the computer screen and take him outside the house on a weekend, I pledged a pancake breakfast. Of course pancakes take longer to make that you expect them to, especially when all you have is a single pan to cook them in. So on this particular Sunday, we had a pancake lunch instead.
The same Sunday that I mention in the previous paragraph, I found myself with half a punnet of raspberries, half a punnet of blueberries and 5 plums that had looked promising in the supermarket but hadn’t ripened though I’d bought them 2 weeks prior. Very berry pancakes and some plum-based sauce it was!
Ingredients (makes 6 pancakes of various sizes):
2 cups standard flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yoghurt
1 cup milk
80-100 gms of butter, melted
1 cup of assorted berries
For the plum reduction:
5 small plums, pitted and cut into 1/8ths
3/4 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup of white sugar)
1 inch stick of cinnamon
water just enough to cover the fruit and sugar
1. Add the flour, baking powder and caster sugar to a large mixing bowl and mix well.
2. Make a well in the centre, add the eggs to the well and slowly mix in the eggs through the flour until evenly spread.
3. Add the yoghurt and half the milk and mix well.
4. Add the remaining milk and make a fairly runny batter. Add more milk if you need to do so. The thickness of the mixture should resemble pouring honey.
5. Add the berries and mix through. When you actually make the pancakes, make sure you have some berries in each lot of batter that you scoop out of the bowl.
6. Finally, mix in the melted butter until evenly spread. This is a trick I learnt several years ago and it means that you don’t need to add extra butter while cooking the pancakes.
7. Let the mixture rest for 10-15 mins. We were hungry so I started straight away.
8. Once the batter has been rested, keep a frying pan on low heat to make the pancakes. As you can see in the pictures, some of my pancakes look a bit charred. This is because the berries ooze out their juices and sugars which get caramelised during the cooking process. So don’t get distracted and pay attention to your pancakes while you cook them (unlike me).
9. For the plum reduction, add all the ingredients into a small pot. Keep on a low heat with a lid until the plum softens and the mixture thickens into a jam-like consistency. This can take up to 40 minutes. If you don’t have the patience for it, use pre-made jam.
10. The skins of plums are thick and have a complex sugar called ‘pectin’ in them. Pectin is a natural thickener so if you keep cooking the plums for longer than 40mins to make jam, you will not need to add any thickener.
11. Serve hot pancakes with yoghurt and plum reduction.
1. To make Mickey-mouse pancakes, pour the central pancake first. Wait for 20 second and dollop two more scoops, 1/4 the size of the first as ears. Wait for a minute before flipping Mickey.
2. I use a cup measure to pour batter and usually 1/2 cup of batter makes medium sized pancakes
3. Once you pour the pancake batter, use the tip of your skillet to spread the berries evenly before the batter sets.