Medieval Pancakes: Pancakes with Almond Milk and Rose Water Boysenberry Compote

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I usually do the almond milk during Lent when dairy's off the table. However, we love it so much we've incorporated it into daily living! Coupled with my newly discovered soy allergy (sigh), boxed pancakes for quick weekend breakfasts are no longer an option. Bye bye Bisquick, hello homemade p-cakes!

Does it take longer? Slightly. Honestly homemade pancakes takes about 2 minutes longer than the box mix version and frankly do taste better and more "authentic." But that's another blog. Here today I made pancakes using almond milk, an ingredient often used by medieval Europeans especially during the Lenten season before Easter, and rose water -- a simple water syrup flavored with rose petals for a sweet and exotic fragrance. I use rose water mostly in middle eastern foods and desserts I make, but I decided to extend it out to the boysenberry fruit topping I made for these pancakes one Sunday. The result? Intoxicating amazingness -- bold acid flavor from the berries, a gorgeous deep red color, and the exotic aroma of rose water and cinnamon to top the tender pancakes.

If you're looking for a way to spruce up your usual pancakes, or serve a more interesting breakfast for guests, this is certainly the recipe for you!

Pancakes with Almond Milk and Rose Water Boysenberry Compote
for the pancakes:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
small pinch of finely ground salt
larger pinch of sugar
1 1/4 cups almond milk (can substitute regular milk, but almond tastes better!)
1 egg
 butter for greasing

for the boysenberry compote:
1 pint fresh boysenberries (can substitute with blackberries if needed)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp rose water
1 cinnamon stick
1 cube crystalized ginger

Make the compote first. Place the berries, sugar, rose water, cinnamon and ginger in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently use a wooden spoon to mash the berries up, helping to release their juices. (If using other berries like boysenberries or blueberries instead, you may need to add a small splash of water as well to help create the sauce; boysenberries have a lot of moisture to them and will release this on their own so no need to add the extra water) Reduce heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes so spices can infuse into the fruit. When done, taste and add more sugar to taste if needed (I like it a bit on the tart side myself), then let stand to cool while you make your pancakes.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, milk and egg in a mixing bowl.

Preheat your griddle pan to 350 degrees (or your nonstick frying pan if using to hot but not smoking), and use some of the butter to grease the pan. Spoon out desired sized pancakes from the batter, and cook on that side until bubbles form on the top. Using a sturdy spatula, gently pick up the pancake and flip it over to cook the other side. Serve stacked with the fruit compote spooned right on top.

*This recipe makes about 8 traditional-sized pancakes, or 10-12 smaller ones.

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