Sunday, 12 January 2014

Savoring the Thyme

Fritelle di Mele, Timo, Cardamone, Cannella, Uva Secca & Frumento con Miele
Savory Apple, Thyme, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Raisin & Cream of Wheat Pancakes- with Yummy Honey!

It can happen to the best of us- and last week it happened to me. I was at the supermarket, and saw bags of local apples on special offer, including one of my favorite varieties- Braeburn's. So, as one does, I popped it into my cart, finished doing my groceries and returned home feeling happy- and in the mood for a nice, refreshing, fresh and crunchy apple...

...only to find that the apples in the bag were neither refreshing, crunchy, nor even Braeburn's at all for that matter! These were really sweet rather than tangy, pulpy rather than crispy and just a whole different beast... doh! It could have been that there was a mistake in bagging, or some other mishap ( I am not going to accuse anyone of trying to cheat people out there)- but the fact was... I was now stuck with these apples!

If life had given me lemons, I may well have made lemonade... but being as it had given me a pound of apples instead, I decided to make something else. I decided to make breakfast! Plainly, it was pancakes that I decided on- but pancakes with a difference... of course! I wouldn't want to disappoint you all with some ordinary, everyday pancakes now, would I?

So- first things first... to make 6 nice sized pancakes I used 3 of the small, sweet apples. I simply peeled them and then grated them, nice and fine, down to the core, revolving the apple as I went along- that is the easiest way to do it, as you can grip the apple at the top and bottom the whole time, rather than cutting away the core and having slippery halves or quarters to deal with. Oh- if you are one of these modern people with machines to grea your apples- you can use one of those too ;-)

The next thing I did was to mix the dry ingredients together- in this case, 2 tablespoons of cream of wheat, 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, half a teaspoon of baking soda, half a teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and the seeds of 2 cardamom pods, ground finely with my mortar and pestle.

With the dry ingredients done, the next ingredients were of course the wet ones- which meant adding 2 tablespoons of yogurt to the apple, along with 1 egg- not much eh? Well, the main reason is that the apple has a lot of juice of its own- as well as plenty of natural pectin, which all goes to bind the batter wonderfully. 

The apples were so sweet, that I had the idea to not add any sugar to them and to prepare them to be neutral and natural tasting apart from the honey that I would add at the end- something that turned out to be a really good idea and a pleasant change to the usual breakfast pancake. A little extra sweetness WAS added by 2 tablespoons of raisins, but a wonderful addition was also the leaves of sprig of fresh thyme, which I plucked from the stem and stirred into the mix... I told you these were going to be a little bit different!

I stirred the batter together thoroughly- just a fork or a spoon is fine- no need for a whisk or any other gadget here, and let it sit for 10 minutes or so before beginning to fry my pancakes.

In a very lightly buttered non-stick pan, I spooned the batter, 2 tablespoons per pancake, into a moderately hot pan and let them gently fry for 1 or 2 minutes, before cautiously pushing them to see if they would slide away from the base of the pan easily... do not try to flip them over until they do just that! If you want to use lots of butter to fry your pancakes in, I am not going to tell you not to- as with all things food, it really is a matter of taste. But I prefer to make mine this way- a gentle heat working its way through the batter will make it more "cake-like"... and patience is a virtue... but for my taste- it also pays off. Less fat and more flavor is the way I like my food.

So after 3-4 minutes from each side, the pancakes should be nicely golden brown, puffed up and smelling delicious! As I already mentioned, the apples that I had were very, very sweet, which is why I opted to add my pinch of salt to my batter and no sugar- this again is something you will need to try out and decide for yourselves.

But for me and my pancakes this morning, the sweetness came at the end! I added a teaspoon of honey to each pancake and then sprinkled them with another sprig of fresh thyme, just to totally lift the apple, cardamom and cinnamon flavor and to bring everything together- into what I can only describe as an awesomely wonderful flavor! Rich, sweet, savory, and unique- all things that I like... and that I hope that you will too!


  1. As I said earlier, WOW...they look great. Will go to the store tomorrow and get the fresh thyme then I will surprise my hubby. Again, thanks for sharing. Erika

  2. I am glad you like them Erika- hope they turn out as nice as you imagine and that you and your hubby enjoy them! Best wishes- Francesco