Is it spring yet? No? Not yet? Bummer. After my recent trip to Bali I am craving more sunshine and blue skies and although the weather has been better here in Holland it would be too far fatch to call it spring by any standards. But I for one am sure ready for lighter and more colourful food and so decided to at least introduce some spring on my plate. These pancakes are what I would call cute. But believe me, as cute as they may look, they pack a punch of health foodie deliciousness. I came up with them while designing the menu for a 5 course vegan dinner I guest cheffed this passed weekend. The rules for me as the chef were for all dishes to be completely plant based, made with organic, seasonal and local produce. And of course they had to taste great and look amazing. The plant based part was easy. The organic part somewhat easy. The seasonal and local part…. Well, not so easy!
See, as much as The Netherlands may be known for its agriculture, much of it is not organic. And the available produce this deep into the winter months is sparse. And that is putting it mildly. You wouldn’t be aware of it because so much of what we eat all the time is imported, but for example at the end of winter there is hardly any local fruit available anymore. You may find some apples and some pears still, but they will have been lying around for quite awhile and will not be as tasty as the ones you find in fall. So the hardest part of the menu planning turned out to be the dessert. Because what do you make when you can’t use fruit, ghee, coconut oil or milk, avocado, chia seeds, almond flour or milk (no almond tree wants to grow in this chilly climate…), natural sugar (there is no cane or other sugar from a Dutch source), honey, oils (practically none are pressed in Holland)? Really little to say the most.
But after countless experiments I finally came up with these little darlings. They are made with a very special ingredient that used to be widely available and highly regarded in all of Europe in the old days. Leindotter in German, lijndotter in Dutch, Camelina Sativa by its Latin name. Or, my absolute favorite, the super cool name huttentut! Camelina sativa is a flowering plant in the Brassicaceae family (the plant family to which all cabbage types from white cabbage to broccoli and cauliflower belong) and is usually known in English as camelina, gold-of-pleasure, false or wild flax. It is native to Europe and to Central Asian areas. It’s oil was used both for lamp oil as well as oil to cook with but, with the industrialization taking over the agricultural business, it became somewhat extinct and was replaced by rapeseed and sunflower crops which were easier to grow and process. The seeds look a lot like flax seed but are much redder in colour and have a very grassy taste. Something like the taste of red quinoa. A little bit goes a long way, so be sure to use it sparingly. Like flax seed when grinded to a powder and mixed with some water the paste becomes sticky and can replace egg in recipes that require baking or frying. If you can’t find it you can replace it by regular flax seed. Lijndotter is extremely rich in omega 3 acids and so of great importance for vegans who want to stay well nurtured. Its oil is much more stable than regular flax seed oil and so, unlike flax seed oil, is also suitable for cooking with.
In this recipe I mixed them with whole wheat spelt flour, home made hazelnut milk (Thank God hazelnut trees apparantly can handle the cool Dutch weather!), fructoline or natural fruit sugar and, because I don’t always want to be misses Good Girl -:), a good dash of cardamom powder. For the project I very slowly fried them in hazelnut oil as not to oxidate the oil. But if you are not so strict in your rules you can perfectly fry them in ghee or coconut oil. Or if you can get your hands on some, even in lijndotter oil! At home I grated over a good grinding of palm sugar that I brought with me from Bali that is soooo delicious. Plus I hear very good for combatting a cold, which I unfortunately caught after returning to Europe after a week of very tropical temperatures. I served the pancakes with a dollop of apple and pear stroop that is very native to Holland and is basically apple and pear juice that are cooked on very low heat for a very long time until they turn into a very thick syrup. In the Netherlands it is often spread on toast like jam or eaten with pancakes.
The term silver dollar pancakes refers to the round shape and size of the pancakes. Plus you will feel like you have increased even further in worth after munching down a couple of these babies. Because of the sweet taste these pancakes are best for Vata and Pitta and can be served for breakfast as well as part of a dessert. For the vegan dinner I added a dollop of chestnut puree made with hazelnut milk and cinnamon, apple and red currant sauce and crispy pear chips to top it all off. Happy pre spring everybody!
Lijndotter and hazelnut milk silver dollar pancakes
- 175 gram shelled hazelnuts left to soak in water overnight
- 525 ml water
- dash of salt
- 1 teaspoon fructoline
Throw away the soaking liquid before making the hazelnut milk. Pour the soaked hazelnuts and 950 ml water in a strong food processor or blender and process for 3 to 4 minutes on high speed. Pour through a very fine sieve into a bowl. Throw away the hazelnut pulp or save for making cookies later. Mix in the salt and fructoline in the hazelnut milk. Keep refrigerated till use. What you have left from the milk after making the pancakes you can add to a smoothie of your choice.
For the pancakes
Makes about 20 mini pancakes
- 1 teaspoon lijndotter or flax seed grinded to a very fine powder (this works best in a spice mill or coffee bean grinder)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 130 gram whole wheat spelt flour
- dash of cardamom powder
- dash of salt
- 50 ml fructoline or 50 grams natural fruit sugars
- 175 ml hazelnut milk
- 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil
- hazelnut, lijndotter, coconut oil or ghee for frying
In a small bowl make a paste with the ground up lijndotter seeds and water. Mix well and leave to slightly thicken.
Mix the spelt flour, cardamom powder and salt in a big bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In another bowl mix the fructoline, hazelnut milk and teaspoon of oil. Add the lijndotter paste and mix really well. Pour the liquid mixture in the flour mixture and mix well. Your batter should have the consistency of pouring cream. If it is still too thick add a bit more hazelnut milk.
Heat a non stick frying pan and slowly heat the oil of your choice. Fry the pancakes for about 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.