Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PotW: Chai Pancakes with Black Tea-Poached Plums

[last Pancake of the Week: Whole wheat rosemary pancakes with garlic-chive goat cheese and fresh peas]


I must apologize in advance if this post is short on words.  It's just been one of those days.  You know, one of those days where you're perpetually late for everything, get stuck at literally every single red light at every single intersection possible, and basically start off with too much to do and absolutely no hours in which to do it all.  Yeah, it's been one of those Mondays, and the rest of the week isn't looking much more promising....  *sigh*


Yet, it's nice to come to this space and write about pancakes.  Because pancakes conjure up images of leisurely weekend mornings, when one can just kick back with a bottomless cup of milky black tea, a stack of magazines or newspapers or a long-put-off novel, and breeeeeaaaatttthe.  These chai pancakes with black tea-poached plums are a spiced-up incarnation of one of my favorite type of pancakes: those with poached fruit.  There's just something about the combination of sweet, fork-tender poached fruit and fluffy pancakes that I love as a robust yet light way to start off a carefree day.


I've been really into spices lately, favoring chai teas and Mexican or spicy hot chocolates as my drinks of choice to nurse for caffeine.  I think that part of it has to do with the threat of the upcoming chills of autumn, despite the fact that the weather here has been wavering schizophrenically between humid summer heat and overcast, day-long fog.  That and, as I sit late into the night reading, studying, or writing, having that little kick of spice definitely helps get me through.  Thus, these spices that I've been craving, translated into pancake form, with just-tender-enough, melt-in-your-mouth poached plums, were a perfect breakfast for the weekend.  Now, if only that had meant a leisurely week ahead...



Read on for recipe...



Chai pancakes with tea-poached plums
makes ~12-15 silver dollar pancakes

for spice-infused milk:
1 cup milk
2 tspn ground ginger
4 cinnamon sticks
2 tspn freshly ground nutmeg
2 star anise
2 tspn cloves
2 tspn cardamom pods
1 tspn black peppercorns

1. In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the milk, ground ginger, cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg, and star anise.
2. Using a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the cloves, cardamom pods, and black peppercorns. Add to the milk.
3. Over medium high heat, bring the milk to a simmer, cover with lid, remove from heat, and let steep and cool, about 10 minutes. Strain.

for black tea-poached plums:
6-10 firm medium-sized plums
3 Tbspn Darjeeling tea
3 cups water
1 vanilla bean, split, optional

1. Cut the plums in half and remove the seeds. If you would like to remove the skins, lightly score the plum skin to make them easier to remove after poaching. (I'm lazy, so I left my skins on with no ill effect.)
2. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine the tea leaves, vanilla bean, and water and bring to a boil with the lid on.
3. Poach the plums in the tea for 3-5 minutes until fork-tender, then remove from the poaching liquid.

for pancakes:
8 oz. spice-infused milk
2 eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 tspn vanilla
8 oz. AP flour
2 Tbspn sugar
2 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt

1. Combine spice-infused milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk thoroughly.
2. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix until smooth. Batter should be thick and fluffy, but if it is too thick and difficult to stir, thin it with a tiny dash of milk.
3. Oil lightly a medium hot skillet. Cook the pancakes slowly over medium heat, making sure that your skillet is always well-greased.
4. Serve pancakes with poached plums.



Enjoy!

30 comments:

  1. I think I know what's for breakfast this weekend! These truly look divine, and the pictures, as always, are every bit as tempting as the recipe itself.

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  2. Oooh, yum! This is definitely better then the oatmeal I had for breakfast! I think I'm going to reverse your idea and have breakfast for dessert :D Thank you for the recipe!

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  3. thanks, everyone!

    @Anna: I would approve of breakfast for dessert, too! ;-P

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  4. Wow! I love that you used flavors so unexpected for pancakes. How strongly does the tea affect the flavor of the plums? Is it just a hint of tea or is it easily identifiable?

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  5. lovely idea to poach the plums in tea with those spices!! mmmmm.. i can smell it!!

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  6. Chai pancakes and plums? What great flavors -- sign me up! And I totally relate to having one of "those days." Except I think it's been that kinda month here haha.

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  7. beautiful :)

    http://nicolefranzen.blogspot.com/

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  8. Beautiful photos, I love the light! And anything chai flavoured is an awesome treat in my books. Very nice recipe.

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  9. I was reading this while eating egg whites with turkey and now feel so unsatisfied...ha-ha. I am totally going to make these pancakes, they look incredible! Your pictures are beautiful. Great meeting you on Twitter and I am looking forward to reading more!
    - Butter
    (you know me on Twitter as runningonbutter)

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  10. Hi my dear! I'm so sorry I haven't been lurking around your blog lately, I've just been so busy.
    Anyway looks like I came back at a great time because its on my favourite kind of post.. pancakes!! <3 *fan girls*

    I really love the idea of putting pepper in the pancakes.. something I haven't tried but will have to!

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  11. Thanks, everyone!

    @ApplesandOnions: the tea doesn't really affect the plum taste much, just lends it a hint of darkness and muskiness.

    @Xiaolu: hope your month gets better!

    @Iris: welcome back! hehe, I love having pancake fans. :-P Pepper pancakes are an intriguing idea, too... hm...

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  12. Oh! I only said so because of the pepper because you put peppercorns in your spiced milk and then put the milk into your pancakes which I thought was fantastically unconventional to say the least hehe ^^

    Hope your hand is better.
    Just curiously do you have all these spices lying around your kitchen or do you actively go out and just amass them on whim?

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  13. @Iris: hehe, I know what you meant, but you got me thinking that pancakes (perhaps savory ones?) that feature pepper might be interesting to think about. I have a friend who's been trying to get me to use black pepper in a dessert for some time now!

    Thanks for asking about the hand. It's getting there, though slowly. :-)

    As for the spices, I have a fairly well-stocked kitchen (too well stocked if you peak in my pasta cabinet!), so I have most of these things on hand, especially because I like adding random flavors together on a moment's notice. I did have to go out and pick up some star anise and black peppercorns for this recipe, though.

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  14. wow girl this looks so yummy! I love pancakes and these look amazing!!

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  15. Delicious!! I just tried this but made socca instead of pancakes cuz I'm all about gluten-free. Still was amazing though!! I recommend it to anyone who needs it as a substitute

    http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes/desserts-a-goodies-/socca-vegan-gluten-free-french-pancake

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  16. wow I just love it, so well capture and defintely a hit pancake, I like the use of black tea too! brilliant!

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  17. This is possibly one of the best flavour combinations I've ever seen. Chai + black tea + plums... yikes, that's just beyond perfect. Nicely done. ;)

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  18. This is very yummy! Everyone at my house loved it! :) Instead of throwing out the tea the plums are poached in though, I started with the tea in a tea ball, and made a sauce with the remaining tea using honey, agave nectar, and a thickener. This has definitely made it into my selection of regular recipes!

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  19. @Anonymous: So glad that you liked this, and your tea and honey sauce sounds wonderful!

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  20. @Anonymous: So glad that you liked this, and your tea and honey sauce sounds wonderful!

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  21. Delicious!! I just tried this but made socca instead of pancakes cuz I'm all about gluten-free. Still was amazing though!! I recommend it to anyone who needs it as a substitute

    http://www.fourgreensteps.com/community/recipes/desserts-a-goodies-/socca-vegan-gluten-free-french-pancake

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  22. This is possibly one of the best flavour combinations I've ever seen. Chai + black tea + plums... yikes, that's just beyond perfect. Nicely done. ;)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Thanks, everyone!

    @ApplesandOnions: the tea doesn't really affect the plum taste much, just lends it a hint of darkness and muskiness.

    @Xiaolu: hope your month gets better!

    @Iris: welcome back! hehe, I love having pancake fans. :-P Pepper pancakes are an intriguing idea, too... hm...

    ReplyDelete
  24. wow I just love it, so well capture and defintely a hit pancake, I like the use of black tea too! brilliant!

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  25. I was reading this while eating egg whites with turkey and now feel so unsatisfied...ha-ha. I am totally going to make these pancakes, they look incredible! Your pictures are beautiful. Great meeting you on Twitter and I am looking forward to reading more!
    - Butter
    (you know me on Twitter as runningonbutter)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Chai pancakes and plums? What great flavors -- sign me up! And I totally relate to having one of "those days." Except I think it's been that kinda month here haha.

    ReplyDelete
  27. lovely idea to poach the plums in tea with those spices!! mmmmm.. i can smell it!!

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  28. I think I know what's for breakfast this weekend! These truly look divine, and the pictures, as always, are every bit as tempting as the recipe itself.

    ReplyDelete

I love hearing from you and reading your comments! Thanks so much for stopping by the blog. Happy feasting!

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