December is the month of treats and sweets, so I thought I’d come up with a delicious dessert that can be prepared in advance and gives you a bit more than just a sugar hit. Chestnut flour is one of my latest discoveries, you ‘ve got to try it, its nutty flavour adds some richness and deliciousness to any cakes and bakes. The pancakes are filled with vitamin, mineral and protein rich cashew and orange cream and they are finished off with a drizzle of fragrant rosemary and orange reduction – yums.
Chestnuts are one of the oldest nuts around, they are quite unique for a nut, they only have very little fat content and are the only nuts that contain vitamin C. Chestnuts are also rich in minerals and have a number of B vitamins to show for themselves. Their rich carbohydrate content make them the perfect base for a mash , or take a look at Irma’s roasted chestnut hummus , so good on multi seed bread and great for guests to snack on whilst waiting for dinner.
Continuing with the nut scheme, the cashew nuts in the cashew cream add another nutritional highlight to the dish, they are a good source of mono-saturated fats, minerals, especially zinc, iron magnesium and potassium, plus skin loving biotin and protein.
Next are the oranges, are there any more Christmassy fruit around than our gorgeously fragrant orange sunshine fruit ? I just love their smell and flavour. They are rich in fiber, vitamin C , various B vitamins including folic acid, as well as carotenes and flavonoids. So, another good one to include when looking to fight off colds this winter and give your skin a little treat. If you remember from last month’s post, flavonoids may have a beneficial effect on collagen, which is important for skin health (1). They are found in higher concentrations in the inner peel and inner white pulp, so please don’t throw away this valuable part of our favourite winter fruit (1).
Finally rosemary, what a marvellous antioxidant and flavonoid rich herb ! To share a bit of science with you, some research studies have shown that the antioxidant rosemarinic acid may have an anti-inflammatory effect and the volatile oils may stimulate the immune system. What’s not to love about this a bit rough around the edges looking herb? (1). Now, you may be surprised to see rosemary in this recipe, but believe me, it not only goes well with your Sunday roast potatoes, it works a treat with desserts. Its distinct and rich flavour goes perfect with orange, it’s rather a bit of a flavour sensation. I had this confirmed by my flatmates, who actually licked their plate after being my recipe reviewers.
To have a stress free Christmas is all about being prepared, so you will be pleased to hear that you can make the pancakes in advance and then easily heat them up on a plate over a hot water bath. Simple quick, easy and delicious.
Enjoy as a Christmas dessert or Sunday morning treat !
Chestnut pancakes with cashew & orange cream & rosemary drizzle – makes 6
75g of chestnut flour
150 ml organic nut or rice milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 medium sized eggs (separate egg yolk and egg white -optional)
1/2 tbsp of coconut oil (melted at low temperature- easiest done in the oven or hot water bath)
1 tbsp of maple syrup (if you use sweetened nut milk, do not add the maple syrup please)
A pinch of salt, 1/2 vanilla pod
Cashew & Orange cream
2 cup soaked & drained cashew nuts ( soak for 3 hours or over night )
1 tbsp cashew butter
1-2 tbsp nut milk, add more if cream turn out too thick
Zest and fillets of one – two oranges
Juice of one organic orange
30ml maple syrup
1 rosemary twig
1 tsp of orange zest
For the pancake mix sift flour, salt, chia seeds and vanilla pod seeds into a bowl. Next, whisk milk, egg yolks or whole eggs, oil and maple syrup together and pour into the flour mix, beat until you get a smooth batter and set aside for 15minutes. You will see how the batter thickens and produces tiny air bubbles.
Next prepare the orange & rosemary drizzle, placing all ingredients in a sauce pan and gently simmer for about 5-10 minutes at very low heat , keep an eye on the mix so it does not get too hot or too sticky. Once done, pour into a jam jar and leave to cool.
To prepare the cashew & orange cream: simply put all ingredients in the food possessor and mix until you get a smooth cream. To avoid the cream going to thin, it’s best to add the wet ingredients little by little. Once mixed, put into a jam jar with a lid and refrigerate .
Whilst the batter is thickening, whisk the egg white until it stiffens (unless you used the whole eggs of course, in which case you won’t need to do this step), adding a pinch of salt to the egg whites will help the process. You can do the egg white test, turning the bowl upside down once it’s white and fluffy. Be careful though, not to have the content drop onto the floor. The safer way is to use a knife, once you can cut through the egg white, it’s perfect. Carefully fold the egg white into the batter, this way the pancake will turn out extra fluffy and light.
To bake the pancakes, heat coconut oil in a medium sized frying pan, add a ladle of pancake batter and bake both sides until golden. At medium heat 2 minutes for each side make the perfect pancake on my hob.
Prepare the orange fillets just before serving, there are two per pancake. I always leave the fine skin on for extra fiber and goodness, so it’s very easily done.
Once all pancakes are cooked, take one by one and spread with a tbsp of cashew and orange cream, two orange fillets per pancake and roll them into wraps. They can be kept warm in the oven.
Serve sprinkled with orange zest, rosemary drizzle and if you are lucky enough to have some left over chestnuts from the winter greens salad, then they make a lovely garnish, finely chopped and sprinkled on top.
(1) Murray et al (2013) The Encyclopaedia of Healing Foods, Piaktus of Hachette UK