Make nutritious, gut-friendly probiotic pancakes with an easy fresh cherry sauce – that can double as a pie filling! – for a delicious weekend family breakfast or dessert.
One of the happiest sights in the past week is the overspilling boxes of fresh British cherries in the local markets and shops. Shiny, edible rubies, it is all I can do not to sample as I shop. But because I am not a child I have instead been silently willing a small avalanche in the produce department.
It would just take a small nudge. Maybe even just a sneeze.
I feel a cold coming on…
Following last week’s cherry-centric Thai fruit salad, I am pairing cherries with some truly lush pancakes. Pancakes that happen to be good for you. And it’s as simple as soaking oats. And adding one special ingredient.
How to make gut healthy pancakes
My recipe can be adapted to the way you normally make pancakes. Even if you use a box mix, all you need are one or two tweaks to offer benefit to your gut. But I am giving you a good recipe to wring the best out of just a few ingredients, so please do give it a go come the weekend.
With my probiotic pancake recipe you:
1. Soak wholegrain oats overnight with a mixture of milk kefir or water kefir. You know which will give the tastiest results, right?
2. Mix some of the overnight oats with more milk (dairy-free is fine; I use hemp), a little flour (sprouted spelt flour is fab), and some leavening to a thinnish batter and pour into a lightly oiled pan. You can use more flour to make thicker pancakes. I prefer thin ones but they do spread a bit unevenly because of the texture of the oats. Do I care? Nope.
Oh, and you can keep the rest of the soaked oats for more pancakes, or have as actual overnight oats with either this cherry sauce or whatever you fancy. The oats will happily keep another day in the fridge.
How to adapt to your recipe or box mix:
1. Replace 1/3 of the mix or your flour with oat flour, adding 1/4 tsp more bicarbonate of soda. Tumbling whole oats in your blender will give you a good flour – no need to buy oat flour unless you don’t have a food processor or blender.
2. Replace 50-100 ml of your liquid with milk kefir.
What are the gut benefits of oats and kefir?
Whole oats are a brilliant prebiotic food, meaning they help to feed the good bacteria that live in our gut. These superstar whole grains contain a lot of a special fibre known as beta-glucans, as well as non-digestible resistant starch.
Our guts LOVE fibre, and we need a variety of non-digestible fibre to optimise gut health. Beta-glucans and resistant starch seem to be among the best sources of fibre to keep the gut in tip-top condition. Other fibres to include in the diet are inulin, fructooligosaccharides, galactooligosaccharides, and pectins. I’m planning a post on this important subject very soon, so look out for it if you want to know more about how to make your tummy happy. 🙂
As for kefir, this hugely probiotic drink helps populate our gut with a ridiculous amount of health-promoting good bacterias. Usually containing over 40 strains of bacteria, kefir is basically like yogurt on steroids. There is so much more to say about milk kefir. Have a read of this layman’s article (with citations) from Healthline.com. Homemade milk kefir is super easy to make, but organic bought is great too. You can also use coconut milk kefir to make this a vegan option.
What do probiotic pancakes taste like?
The taste of these probiotic pancakes is really fabulous: slightly nutty, with a slight tang. Andrew was all over them, despite eating them cold (his choice). I guess they are a bit like yeasted blini. But these have their own naturally fermented yeasts instead of from a packet. They certainly have more “depth” than traditional Western pancakes. Come to think of it they are even more like the idli I love so much from my favourite (southern) Indian family restaurant. Very much like idli in fact, but a helluva lot easier and with completely different ingredients.
Won’t cooking kill off the probiotics?
Yes and no. Yes it will kill off some of the healthy bacteria, but there is strong evidence that for the most part this doesn’t matter. Heat-killed probiotic bacteria can produce similar inflammation-lowering effects as live. While perhaps only the live bacteria can multiply in the gut (makes sense), the so-called inactivated bacteria do exhibit anti-inflammatory properties and responses. For some populations with lowered immune response – such as those on active cancer treatment, are elderly, pregnant or medical condition that lowers immunity, like HIV – this could be a great way to get some of the benefit without any of the risk.
The pancakes are neutral as written, but you could add vanilla powder and a wee pinch of sugar or good stevia to make them more overtly sweet. A small mashed banana would be nice instead of added sugar. Other flavours you might like are grated nutmeg, ground cinnamon or cardamom. Instead of the cherry sauce you could spoon on some fermented berries. You could go more left-field with some beetroot, spinach or kale powder to give a colour shock to your plate (I would nix the cherry sauce at this point…). Or how about be more Kellie and add turmeric and black pepper? With this I would throw on some sauteed greens and maybe a fried egg.
Now I’m just fantasising!
As for the sauce, go for any fruit you like. My vote is for cherries this week, but when the wild blackberries ripen I will be all over those. No loyalty.
How is your gut health? Do you think adding tweaks to your diet and menu help your gut, or do you find supplements to be of more help/easier?
Probiotic Pancakes with Fresh Cherry Sauce
It’s best to make these as small pancakes to make flipping easier as these are a bit delicate and prone to splitting in larger sizes. But they still taste great even if they tear! xx
100g (1 cup) whole oats
330ml (1.5 cups) water
3 tbsp kefir (water or milk; milk preferred) – bought or homemade
300g (3/4 cup) overnight oats
215ml (1 cup) milk of choice (I like hemp or almond)
60g (2.2 oz) flour of choice (I like sprouted spelt flour)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp lemon juice
Oil for pan
450g (1 lb) pitted fresh cherries
75ml (1/3 cup) water
2 tsp Natvia or sugar, or other stevia to taste
2 tsp cornflour or tapioca starch
2 tsp lemon juice
1. Mix together the overnight oats and cover with a clean tea towel or paper towel secured with a rubber band.
2. The next day, measure out 300g of the overnight oats and place in a mixing bowl along with the milk, flour, bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice. Mix well and let sit for 10 minutes. Spoon the remaining overnight oats into a lidded container and use within two days as porridge/oatmeal or more pancakes.
3. Heat a well-seasoned pan with a little oil and, when a flick of batter sizzles, pour in mix to make several small pancakes. After 30 seconds, tilt the pan gently to get the oil around the pancakes. When bubbles populate the surface of the pancakes, gently flip with a spatula and cook until browned on the bottom. Carry on with the remaining batter.
4. To make the cherry sauce, tip the cherries into a pan with the water and bring to a fast simmer, stirring occasionally. When the cherries start to break down add the sugar and continue to cook on a simmer for a few minutes. Mix together the lemon juice and cornflour/tapioca starch and pour into the cherries, stirring thoroughly. The cherries will thicken slightly but will not be gloopy. Take off the heat and use some for the pancakes, and spoon the remainder into a clean jam jar. Use within one week.
RIPE FOR PINNING!