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apple pie pancakes with slated caramelA few months back I eavesdropped on a Twitter conversation. This is unusual for me as I’m not normally prone to eavesdropping. Unlike in real life, where I am shy and retiring (cough), on Twitter I have no qualms about twanging a conversation thread with an unasked-for opinion or observation. Most people are pretty polite, as long as you don’t insult them. But in this case I wanted to know more. And I didn’t want to look foolish about my lack of experience.

Before you jump to all kinds of inappropriate conclusions, I was in fact eavesdropping on a conversation about chestnut flour. I know, how exciting is that? Other folk are meeting friends for drinks, or trading bonds and whatnot and I’m lurking on Twitter following a convo about flour.

apple pie pancakes with slated caramelI had never heard of chestnut flour before and, being a mildly curious person, was intrigued when one of the tweeters posted a photo of some amazing looking chestnut tagliatelle. Two whacking great trays, dotted with mounds of bouncy, dusky, just-cut pasta. It looked so much heartier and more interesting than the ordinary white, or even wholewheat. The tweeter of this gorgeous photo was, of course, Italian. So I was not surprised to find that Italians – before the introduction of corn – dried and stone-ground the nut of the native chestnut tree to make polenta. I’m not quite sure why it is not more widely used because it is really a delicious flour. And it is very nutritious too, having a nutrient profile that puts most grains to shame: high protein and fibre, low fat, and with good amounts of Vitamin E, the B vitamin group, iron, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Nutritional therapist Tamara Duker has an excellent post about chestnut flour, and how well it compares with other gluten-free grains.

I have yet to make pasta with chestnut flour, but if you fancy a go, this and this look pretty straight-forward. A slow-cooked red wine and boar ragu, ladled onto chestnut pasta, sounds just the business on this still-bitter day here in Scotland. Not very Spring-y, I know.

But today I have put it to a sweeter use: pancakes. Fluffy, squashy, syrup-sponging pancakes. And because I like you, and I am feeling a bit naughty, you can have them with salted caramel sauce. Yes, I have joined the salted caramel sauce brigade. Loads of recipes on the Internet  – which almost blew up when I did the obligatory Google search – but this is the way I do it: single cream instead of double, no butter. I have done a few versions over the years, possibly before I had even heard of salted caramel (or as I like to call it, ‘balancing’ it), but I consulted Dan Lepard and David Lebovitz today for the proper method and wisdom to pass on to you. They both refer to the whole gamut of caramels, not necessarily sauce. But the discussion and method lead us to sauce. A might fine sauce. You may want to make double. Or triple. For presents, of course. I know you aren’t greedy or anything *wink*. But if all of that sugar doesn’t float your boat, these are so moist and naturally sweet that you will be happy scoffing them au naturel.

(Btw, the pancake images are with maple syrup as I had just ruined my ‘healthier’ batch, using coconut sugar. They have a similar colour but very different taste and thickness. Dessert territory rather than breakfast, methinks. Probably.)

So, despite the injection of my Twitter-found chestnut flour, no health food for you today. Eat it. Enjoy it. Have a salad for dinner. Does that sound like a plan?

Have a Happy Easter and see you next week with something healthier, but just as tasty 😀

Popping this over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin’ With Luv for their Made With Love Mondays feature. All homemade and made, um, with love!

apple pie pancakes with slated caramelGolden Apple Pie Pancakes (gluten-free) with Salted Caramel Sauce

Miss R’s Extra Track of the Week: Sail By The River, by Yellow Moon. This sweet song is from a singer/songwriter friend of my daughter. It is hard to believer she is only 16! Have a listen.

Featuring the flour wunderkind, chestnut flour. You will love the subtle, pleasantly-nutty taste, – it goes oh so well with the warm spices. It is a little bit nubbly and textured, but I really rate it. Use apple or pear, or even something like persimmon, to add extra taste and moistness. Or keep it plain and let the chestnuts and spices shine. This is easily veganised.

50g gluten-free flour blend (I like Doves) OR plain/AP flour
100g chestnut flour (I use Shiptons) OR buckwheat flour OR wholewheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
Rounded ¼ tsp cinnamon
Rounded ¼ tsp ground cardamom
pinch of ground cloves (or ½ tsp apple pie spice for all)
280ml almond milk or dairy milk
1 tsp lemon juice
1 lg egg, separated OR vegan alternative such as chia/water, flax/water or egg replacer
1 tbsp melted vegan butter/coconut oil/butter

1 apple or ripe pear, grated (save any juice from grating to add to the caramel sauce)

Thoroughly mix together all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. I use a balloon whisk while shaking the bowl gently back and forth.chestnut flour

DSC_0058

To a jug add the milk, lemon juice, egg yolk and melted butter. Whisk thoroughly. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until they just combined. Now fold in the apple or pear. Leave the batter to ‘settle’ for about 20 minutes, or you can just carry on if you have impatient family pulling at your pinny.

In a separate, scrupulously clean bowl, whisk the egg white until just stiff. I sometimes kid myself that I am getting some badly needed exercise by hand-whisking. Fold this carefully into the rested batter, taking care not to knock too much air out. Gluten-free cooking relies on these little extras to give lift.

Heat a flat griddle pan or frying pan with a little rapeseed oil or coconut butter until hot. Fleck a bit of water into the pan. If it immediately sizzles and evaporates quickly, it is ready for the batter. Add a ladle of batter, tilting and gently swirling the pan to get even coverage.  Or dollop smaller spoonfuls of batter – about three to a pan. I made so-called dollar pancakes (okay 2-dollar pancakes) so we could feel extra piggy despite eating a normal portion size. The pancake will be ready to flip when it is slightly puffed and peppered with air bubbles. Have a peak at the underside before flipping – the underside should be deep golden, much more so than lighter coloured all-flour pancakes. Keep warm in a low oven while you use the remaining batter.apple pie pancakes

apple pie pancakes

Serve with pure maple syrup, or the following salted caramel sauce.

salted caramel sauceSalted Caramel Sauce – slightly lower fat (as if that matters here)

This is nicer than shop-bought and will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Perfect for dipping fruit pieces into, or drizzling over yogurt, ice cream or even plain cake. Just warm it gently, adding a little extra cream to loosen, if needs be.

I initially made the caramel sauce with less of the indicated ingredients, but I didn’t feel as able to control the process of caramelisation and it quickly burned. If you have a small, steep-sided pan, feel free to half the amount, but mind that it doesn’t spill over. And use a sugar thermometer if you have one – remove from the heat when it reaches 230F (easier to read than Celsius). Anything over and it goes to soft ball stage, which is fine, just quite firm as it cools – recoverable with more cream. Otherwise just look for it to start changing colour – don’t let it actually go brown. Just the golden side of amber is perfect. Some caramel advisers tell us to go to smoking point but I think that probably is not good for us and would certainly be too strong in taste for the average imbiber.

200g (1 cup) white sugar*
100ml (just under ½ cup) water – including any leftover juice from the grated fruit
4 tbsp single (half and half) cream, almond cream or coconut milk (warm or room temp)

¾ tsp sea salt

Place the water and sugar into a medium-sized, heavy pan over a medium flame. Do not stir. Bring to a simmer, occasionally swirling but not stirring the syrup.

Once the sugar has dissolved completely turn up the heat and allow the syrup to gently boil for about five minutes. You are aiming for a golden amber colour.

golden amber colour

golden amber colour

When the caramel is a golden amber take off the heat and gradually add in the cream. Be careful as the syrup will boil like crazy. Cautious people/ninnies like me wear long oven gloves . Swirl carefully to distribute, then add in the salt. Stir the sauce and let cool to a reasonable temperature before using or storing in a clean jar. It will thicken as it cools; just gently heat to loosen and pour.

salted caramel sauce - once cream and salt are added

salted caramel sauce – once cream and salt are added

* although I would normally favour a raw sugar option, let’s face it, if we are going to have salted caramel sauce we are already going to healthy food hell in a handcart, so go refined and white. I did experiment with coconut sugar, but it didn’t work. Experts advise practise before attempting with the darker or unrefined sugars, as the usual rules don’t seem to apply. I will persevere…

37 thoughts on “Golden Apple Pie Pancakes (gf/df) with Salted Caramel Sauce (easily veganised)

  1. thespicyrd says:

    Here I am, trying to get my work done, when your post pops up, and I feel compelled to search the internet for chestnut flour {and psyllium husks}, which have both been on my to-do list for awhile now. Done! Delicious pancakes, and how can you go wrong with salted caramel???? Of course, you can’t 🙂 Pretty song too!

    1. I hope no psyllium husks make it into the batter! You will love using chestnut flour. I actually prefer pancakes like this now, even though I don’t have any discernible problems with gluten. Maybe I am just weird though!

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I’d not come across it before either. They do look wonderful!

    1. Thanks Jac. I think you would find a lot of creative uses for it.

  3. Maria Tadic says:

    Chestnut flour? Crazy, never heard of it. Did u buy it in store? What’s it like compared to other flours?

    1. I bought it online with some other bits and bobs. I didn’t even try the health food store as I didn’t figure they would have it. I may be wrong though. I really like chestnut flour, but I haven’t used it in anything else so far (three batches of pancakes so far!). It has a definite nutty thing going on (despite not being related to tree nuts at all, so may be more suitable for those with allergies), and a slight crunch, possibly due to the minimal processing rather than any intrinsic property. I will be trying it in cakes soon.

  4. Jacqueline @How to be a Gourmand says:

    A perfect dessert Kellie – I like the way you can use coconut milk as a replacement for single cream too. Never used chestnut flour – I have to say the pasta with the red wine and wild boar ragu sounds equally tempting! I think you should definitely post a photo of you wearing those long oven gloves :0)
    Happy Easter!

    1. I had the ragu at a brilliant Tuscan restaurant outside Lucca – very memorable. It was probably on chestnut pasta but I didn’t clock it. And no, no chance of an oven glove shot! Mine are at least 10 years old so not very photogenic ;D

  5. Natalie Ward says:

    That first pictue is so gorgeous! I,ve never used chestnut flour either, I imagine it would make a lovely moist dense cake. And that salted caramel sauce, wow! Happy Easter Kellie! x

    1. Thanks Natalie. You have a great Easter too. I’ve been in Spain around Easter time and the festivals are so colourful and fun.

  6. ann says:

    Delicious sweet pancakes and sweet music too!

    1. Ah, I will tell Miss R to let her friend know. She’s a very talented young lady.

  7. Everything about these pancakes is awesome, Kellie! To start with, the photos are amazing, especially that first shot. And I love the use of chestnut flour for the pancakes and talk about decadence with the homemade caramel sauce! Yum… Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. Your comment has made my day! Thank you 🙂

  8. lemoncake says:

    great low(er) fat salted caramel recipe 🙂

  9. Simply gorgeous, Kellie! I love the lower fat caramel sauce too!

    1. With the emphasis on -er. It certainly isn’t low fat. And definitely not low cal!

      1. lizzygoodthings says:

        Can I tell you, I am still fantasising about this!!

  10. truefoodlove says:

    Oh my! These look scrumptious! And chestnut flour sounds amazing! I’d love to make these but I’m not sure if I can find that. Do you think almond flour would work? Does it have a similar texture?

    1. Almond flour would be a great sub, and what I might otherwise use. Buckwheat is good too. Thanks for commenting. I appreciate it v much

  11. This looks awesome and is so what I am in the mood for right now!!!

  12. moominkat says:

    Fantastic recipe and I just happen to have both chestnut & buckwheat flour in my ‘pantry’. And I like the idea of a slightly lower fat caramel sauce! But the links to the chestnut pasta does cups, and my brain can’t cope with converting them to grams. Do you have an easy to follow guide or suggestions on converting the measurements? It defeats me because all sites I’ve looked up indicate that dry ingredients measure differently. Help!

    1. I’ll look up the recipe, measure in cups and then pop contents on my scales and get back to you soon!

    2. Hi there. I have measured the chestnut flour in an American cup and it comes to 150 grams. Pretty convenient! That should make it easy enough to work with for divides of cup measures. Hope this helps!

  13. petra08 says:

    I have never thought of using almond milk in pancakes and will look for chestnut flour next time! It looks fab!

  14. Sail By The River, by Yellow Moon. This sweet song is from a singer/songwriter friend of my daughter. It is hard to believer she is only 16! Have a listen….. Loved the song, and she has such a sweet voice!

    1. Thanks for listening!

  15. Oh wow I am super excited to try these babies out on my husband and kids who now can not eat gluten or dairy. I have done almond floor pancakes but now that we know we can use eggs I want to try the whipping of the egg white I had not thought of that. I gave to day the Carmel sauce loss good too do you know from personal experience how it turns out if I were to use coconut instead of dairy?

    1. I have used almond milk but not coconut milk. I can’t think why it wouldn’t work with coconut milk. Would you be my guinea pig for this? The whipped white is a great trick to help with fluffy g-f pancakes and any heavier baked goods. Easy too. Thanks so much for commenting Emilia.

  16. dandyeats says:

    Ahh! I am a sucker for anything salty caramel! Thank you! I’m going to try this out. 🙂

  17. Only me! Would you always mix the chestnut flour with another or have you used it on it’s own?

    1. I have used it on its own but as it is expensive blending is my cheapskate’s way of making it go further! I still haven’t made pasta with it but for that I would definitely go all-chestnut.

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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