Charcoal Pancakes Recipe with Blueberry Compote, Lemon Curd and Cornflowers

charcoal pancake shadows.jpg

Sunny Sundays make the best days for pancakes and even more the better when you have freshly made blueberry compote and lemon curd to dress them with. With my craving for pancakes and the notion that Pancake Day is crepe-ing (sorry!) up on us, I remembered I had promised to share this recipe…then I remembered I made a whole podcast episode about pancakes!

For a full breakdown of the food history of pancakes and pancake food art go to Smy Goodness Podcast Ep5 - Pancakes and Creativity with Aimee Furnival of Another Studio. There is art from Rembrandt, Hieronymus Francken the Younger, a 1585 recipe for pancakes from The Good Huswifes Jewell and a breakdown of the evolution of the Mammy iconography behind Aunt Jemima. Click link above to see all the images or listen while you make your own pancakes here:

Why add charcoal you might ask…well the charcoal is because I like the texture and benefits of occasionally adding edible activated charcoal to mostly cakes, canapes cases and biscuits. Charcoal can act as a detoxifier, is good for kidney health, gastrointestinal health, has been used as a water filterer for always and I add it to my daily facial cleanser that I make along with bentonite clay, which I also occasionally add to recipes. I am not a doctor or nutritionist so you should do your own research to see if it is something you are interested in ingesting or using, sharing with your family and friends and if you are taking medicines you should always check with your doctor first.

Now for the recipe! The recipe works just fine with or without the charcoal and I like the contrast of the pancakes made with and without adding charcoal to the batter. My pancake recipe is one I have been using for a very long time that is kind of a hybrid of Delia Smith’s pancake recipe and Linda McCartney’s pancake recipe with the offshoot being almost in between a crepe and an American style pancake. It’s not as eggy as a crepe and it’s not as fluffy or thick as an American style pancake. It’s got texture, density and a buttery goodwill to soak up whatever fruit, preserves, syrup or savoury items that you might ever want to top it with.

Charcoal Pancakes
100g plain flour or 1 cup plain flour
150ml almond or any milk or 2/3 cup of almond or any milk
1 egg
30-50g butter (15-25g for batter, 15-25g for cooking) 0r 2-4 Tbsp of butter
1 tsp activated charcoal
pinch of salt

makes 4-5 12 cm (5inch) pancakes
simply double or treble the batch as needed

Charcoal pancake batter, dried cornflowers, lemon curd and blueberry compote -  Smy Goodness

Charcoal pancake batter, dried cornflowers, lemon curd and blueberry compote - Smy Goodness

  1. Sift or dry whisk your flour plus the activated charcoal and pinch of salt in a mixing bowl.

  2. Melt half your butter in the same skillet or pan you will make the pancakes in being sure to not overcook it, you want it just melted then remove from heat.

  3. Measure your milk in a glass measuring jug and then add egg and melted butter and whisk well. You can also do his step in a bowl and then transfer back to a measuring jug which will make pouring your batter into the pan easier, avoid spillage and you get a lovely pattern of browning on your pancakes this way. Or use a soup ladle from the bowl to pan.

  4. If possible you can then let your batter rest for an hour or so but this step is not essential.

  5. Preheat your cast iron griddle or pan to medium to medium high heat. As you continue t cook your pancakes you may need to slightly adjust the heat a little up and a little down to get your pancakes just how you like them.

  6. Put a bit of butter in the pan and let sizzle and melt, then quickly pour enough batter so that it spreads nicely and is manageable to turn over. I usually go for 10-15cm circles of batter. The sides will start to bubble and brown and the batter will start to change in colour a bit as it cooks underneath starting from the outer edges going in towards the middle. I usually wait until the batter has visible cooked underneath and the edges are lightly browned and then flip or turn. If you turn to quickly or not soon enough it’s no bother. I always make the first pancake a bit smaller and eat it as a taster to make sure I haven’t: a) made any silly measuring mistakes b) the first pancake is always a sacrificial pancake that isn’t is good as the rest and gives me an opportunity to fine tune the heat levels in the pan. c) acts as fuel for me for the time frame between when I cook up the rest of the batter and serve them all up!

  7. You can keep your pancakes warm as you cook through a myriad of ways - I feel like I have tried them all but am always open to suggestions! I either keep the oven on a low or ‘warming’ setting and as you make them place them on a plate in the oven with a bit of aluminium foil over your pancakes which will keep them warm. When ready serve them all together keeping in mind to protect your table and little hands from the warm plate. I have also tried a sort of bain marie type technique with a plate over a pan of water on a low heat and place your cooked pancakes on the plate with a bit of aluminium foil over the top. I think this does keep them nice and warm but it can sometimes end up continuing the cooking process. OR cook and serve them right away or with a big ole griddle or pan you can have several on the go at once in a symphony of pancakes and pancakes sizzling and turning.

I love fruit and Smy preserves on pancakes. My favourites are bananas and honey and most notably my Smy Goodness lemon curd and blueberry compote. Both are available in small batches and I usually make a few jars a month or special orders as they have a shorter shelf life than all my flavours. You can easily make your own blueberry compote by throwing a punnet of blueberries in a pan before you start your pancakes and add the juice of half a lemon or orange, some zest, some honey - heck, I even sometimes add a dash of brandy in there. Let it cook, stirring occasionally and don’t let it burn but allow it to go all glisten-y and rich while you are cooking your pancakes. When your breakfast has come together you can always hit it with a final bit of heat before putting it in a little jug or serving bowl for you and your guests to put warm spoonfuls over their warm pancakes. How do you like your pancakes?

For more info all about pancakes listen to Smy Goodness Podcast Ep5 - Pancakes & Creativity with Aimee Furnival of Another Studio. Aimee and I are long time pancake collaborators.

my Goodness pancake brunch - photo by  @elcidre

my Goodness pancake brunch - photo by @elcidre

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Pancake Print by  Smy Goodness

Pancake Print by Smy Goodness

Smy Rhubarb Curd & Lemon Curd Tart

I'm all about experimenting when I cook and I love to find new ways to use my homemade chutneys, jellies and jams...and curds!  It's exciting times in the studio as I am sharing space with some interesting and creative people as seen in the above video - Aimee, Lucia and Sam.  I mentioned to one of said interesting people, Aimee, that I really fancied making...and eating...a rhubarb tart.  It wasn't until later on in the evening that I realised I didn't have enough butter to make the pastry.  I think I need to stop right now and say that this NEVER happens as I adore and believe in butter.  This is mainly as I've been taking a bit of a break since Christmas and I always have kilos of butter in the fridge to satisfy lemon curd orders.  Back to tonight's tart, I was feeling a bit lazy and couldn't face popping to the shops when it occurred to me that I had a half pound kilner jar of lemon curd in the fridge and that essentially there was a lot of butter in there.  So I decided to make an alternative pastry with lemon curd binding it together rather than butter.  For the pastry I used:

100g of rice flour

50g of plain flour

50g of strong brown flour

100ml of lemon curd

4tbsp of water


I blended them all together and left it to sit and rest in the fridge for about half an hour.

I then lightly dusted the pastry, board and rolling pin and rolled the pastry to about a half a centimetre in thickness and placed in on a dish that I had lightly dusted with rice flour.  I like using rice flour in pastries as I think it gives it a lighter texture.  I then lightly pressed the pastry into place and used a fork to flute the pastry.

I put about four tablespoons of lemon curd and spread this over the pastry.  I then took four tablespoons of Smy rhubarb curd and gently layered that on top of the lemon curd.  I then repeated another layer of about four tablespoons of lemon curd and arranged rhubarb segments in the curd layers.

Then I popped the tart into an oven that had been preheated to 180℃ for half-an-hour and then I left it to cool.

The tart was light and tangy and proved a perfect Friday afternoon treat for the studio.  Rhubarb season is just about to kick off and it's one of my favourite ingredients and you can expect rhubarb chutney, rhubarb curd and rhubarb and ginger jam to all be back in stock shortly.  You can also expect more tasting videos this year and lots of new and exciting flavours and recipes.

and remember...

it's not your chutney...

it's Smy Chutney.

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