In South Africa pancake is sort of a national delicacy which most moms only bake in winter. I remember how many churches, schools and community centres were built on the back of the funds that was raised by the dozens of moms and sometimes dads, baking millions of pancakes one after the other, delicately sprinkled with a balanced mix of cinnamon and sugar. What I loved most about these fundraising fêtes was the sense of community and the show of solidarity under the townsfolk. Pancakes still remain one of my favourites and I thought why not elevate the humble pancake to a more glamorous dessert and here is my recipe for pancakes filled with brandied dry figs, sprinkled with sweet dukka and a generous helping of a good vanilla ice cream.
Note: Crêpes, the french version of a pancake, is a much thinner pancake and it is not flipped. Pancakes is a little thicker and needs to be flipped to bake both sides.
For the Figs:
- 250g soft dried figs
- 125ml Demerara Sugar
- 500ml Water + extra
- 125ml Brandy
- Rind of one orange
For the Sweet Dukka:
- 150g Caramelised Peanuts
- 150g Sesame Seeds – Toasted
- 80g Flaked Almonds – Toasted
- 100g Coconut desiccated – Toasted
- 30g Poppy Seeds
- 100g Demerara Sugar
- 5ml Fine Ginger
- 15ml Fine Cinnamon
- 5ml Mixed Spice
- 10ml Caraway Seeds – Toasted
For the Pancakes: (6-8 pancakes)
- 250ml Flour
- 1ml Baking Powder
- 2ml Salt
- 250ml Water
- 2 Large Eggs
- 2ml Lemon Juice
- 5ml Vegetable Oil + more for baking
Figs: You need to make this at least a day in advance. Place all the ingredients, except the brandy, for the figs in a large pot, bring to the boil, once it has started to boil, immediately turn down the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperate and give the figs time to rehydrate again. Add more water if the figs soaked up too much of the syrup, usually just about 100ml more. After about soaking for 8 hours, put back on the heat, bring to the boil and allow the syrup to reduce with about 30%. Allow to cool a little, then add brandy and place in sterilised bottles for later use. Keep any leftover syrup as well.
Sweet Dukka: Put all the ingredients into a food processor and process on high-speed for about 2-3 minutes or until all the nuts and seeds resembles a coarse salt like texture. Store in an airtight container for later use. This is a large recipe, what remains can be sprinkled over oats porridge in the mornings or sprinkle it over ice cream for a lovely treat for the children.
Pancakes: Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix well until the batter looks smooth and silky. Allow to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, but I have found a 4 – 8 hour rest is actually better. I usually triple the recipe as a rule the first pancake should always be a flop and remember you need a hot pan for these, a cold pan will result in a stodgy oil soaked pancake.
- Bake your pancakes and keep them covered in a very low oven (60°C) to keep them warm until needed. Each pancake is about 80 – 100ml of the batter.
- Place a few figs into each pancake, you’ll need to put them off centre towards one side and then roll them up.
- Place two pancakes on a plate, place a scoop of good vanilla ice cream on top, sprinkle liberally with the sweet dukka and drizzle each pancake with some of the fig syrup.
- Serve immediately with a glass of port.
Enjoy and have fun with it. If you just want to do pancakes sprinkles with cinnamon sugar, then mix 200g white sugar with 12ml cinnamon powder and sprinkle each pancake with the cinnamon sugar while they are still hot out of the pan.