Tuesday 13 March 2012

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Cream Cheese Glaze

On my last morning in LA I decided I wanted to enjoy some gluten free pancakes. The English pancake is usually thin and flat, very similar to a French crepe, but I absolutely adore American pancakes, which are thick, fluffy and often made with buttermilk and served with all sorts of syrups and added nuts or chocolate chips etc.

After a little online research I found a café that had rave reviews for its gluten free pancakes. They had some specials, including a delicious sounding pumpkin pancake. To get there involved a 40minute bus journey, but I set off to the bus stop and waited…and waited….and waited. An hour later, with a rumbling tummy I admitted defeat and mooched back to the flat instead. I’ve no idea why the bus failed to turn up and yes, I was waiting at the right stop! I might have been tempted to find an alternative route, but as I had a plane to catch in a few hours time I didn’t want to risk getting lost.

So I never got my American pancakes – waaaaa :(

Once back home I was determined to enjoy some American style pumpkin pancakes and decided now was the time to open the can of pumpkin puree I’d picked up. Just look at its gorgeous vibrant orange colour! Why oh why can’t we buy pumpkin puree in the UK, or at least a decent pumpkin to make our own. I’ve found the best thing to do here is to mash a sweet potato, but it’s not quite the same…anyway, rant over.

After sampling the delights of Babycakes NYC creations I went online and discovered they had shared a recipe for pancakes on their blog. It was both vegan and gluten free, made using rice milk and applesauce as the wet ingredients. I simply substituted the pumpkin puree for the applesauce and used regular milk as that’s all I had on hand. I also added my own mix of spices and some little chucks of dark chocolate, which I think always work well together.

They turned out perfectly. I’ve never had such light, moist and fluffy pancakes before. The pumpkin gave them a wonderful orange hue and a natural earthy sweetness. The spices just added a background note of warmth, while the little chips of dark chocolate were wonderful to come across, in every other bite.

I’m not a big fan of maple syrup, so to make them extra special I concocted a little cream cheese glaze which I spiked with some almond extract. Drizzled on top of the hot pancakes it melted into a great butter-like consistency. They were fabulous and more than made up for me missing out on them while in LA. Haha!

I got three large pancakes out of the mix below, but you could easily double or triple it depending on requirements. I bet they would work brilliantly with other purees too, banana, apple, orange, pineapple…!

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes with Almond Cream Cheese Glaze
(Recipe adapted from Babycakes NYC blog)
100g Doves Farm plain flour mix (mix of rice, maize, tapioca, corn & buckwheat)
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
80g pumpkin puree (or mashed sweet potato)
120-150ml milk (any kind you like)
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp mixed spice
10g dark chocolate, chopped (dairy free if you like)
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
Sunflower oil for frying

Almond Cream Cheese Glaze
25g cream cheese (dairy free if you like)
40g icing sugar
1 drop almond extract

Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the icing sugar and mix to incorporate. Beat in the almond extract and set aside. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt until just soft and gooey. Stir and set aside.
To make the pancakes, place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and gently mix together. Add the agave nectar and pumpkin puree and mix so that it starts to form a thick batter. Add a little milk and beat until smooth. Add more milk until you achieve a thick spoonable batter, the consistency of a thin cake batter.
Finally stir in the chocolate chips.
Heat the oven to low and place a plate with a sheet of kitchen paper on it in the oven to keep warm.
Lightly grease the base of a frying pan and heat until warm but not too hot.
Spoon around two tablespoons of the pumpkin batter into the pan and gently spread it into a thick even round if necessary. Leave it alone for 45-60 seconds to cook and brown undisturbed. Then quickly flip the pancake over to cook the other side, with the help of a fish slice or palette knife.
Once cooked, transfer to the kitchen roll lined plate in the oven to keep warm and continue to cook the remaining pancakes.
Serve stacked on the warm plate, topped with a dollop of the cream cheese glaze. Eat and enjoy!


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh what a shame that the bus didn't arrive! But on the plus side, you now have this fantastic recipe! :D

Cupcake Crazy Gem said...

That's rubbish about the bus, that used to happen all the time when I've been to South Africa in the past but I wouldn't expect it from California! Waitrose and Ocado sell Libby's pumpkin so you can enjoy these pancakes for years to come without a return trip to the States! So glad you were able to try so many yummy gluten free treats on your trip, it must have made it very worth it!

Choclette said...

Oh Katie, they look fantastic. Glad you managed to get your pumpkin fix after all. Love the idea of using pumpkin puree. Asian shops usually stock tins of pumpkin puree and if I can get it down in our neck of the woods, I expect you can up in the midlands.