Banana, blueberry and pecan pancakes
The reason I became an expert on banana pancakes is a bleak but ultimately happy story. During an enthusiastic surfing lesson on the first day of a holiday in Bali I got burnt to a crisp, and in order to stay out of the sun I spent the rest of the holiday swathed in sarongs perfecting banana pancakes.
This is the result, though they are some way from the honey-drenched Indonesian ones that we ate on holiday. These have something of a banana bread feel to them, and are vegan and gluten free, thanks to using pecans and oats instead of flour and mashed bananas in place of butter.
A note on coconut milk: most supermarkets sell a ready-to-drink coconut milk, which comes in a carton and lives next to the soya and rice milk. Look out for the KoKo brand. It works in most recipes instead of milk and lies somewhere between thick tinned coconut milk and cloudy coconut water. I have it on my morning cereal and in tea. This is the coconut milk I use in most of my cooking, as it is lighter in fat and calories than the heavier tinned version. If you can’t get your hands on it, dilute tinned coconut milk 50/50 with water or just use your normal milk.
MAKES 8 LITTLE PANCAKES
FOR THE BATTER
a good handful of pecan nuts (about 50g), roughly chopped
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
150ml coconut milk or almond milk (see note above)
a 200g punnet of blueberries
2 bananas, peeled and cut into thin slices
a little coconut oil or butter
a few pecan nuts, crumbled
honey or agave syrup
First turn the oven to 120°C/fan 100°C/gas 1⁄2 to keep everything warm. Blitz the oats until you have a scruffy oat flour. Add to a bowl with the pecans and throw in the baking powder and salt. Mix the mashed banana with the milk (you can do this by blitzing them together in the food processor, if you like). Beat the banana mixture into the flour and leave the batter to sit for a few minutes. Heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat, then add the banana slices and fry on both sides in the dry pan until brown and caramelised. Keep warm in the oven.
Put the pan back on a medium heat and add a little coconut oil or butter. Drop in a healthy tablespoonful of batter for each pancake. Once the sides are cooked and bubbles have risen to the top, scatter over a handful of blueberries and flip the pancake over. Cook for another couple of minutes on the other side. The pancakes will stay a little moist in the middle because of the banana, so don’t worry. Keep them warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
Serve the pancakes piled with the banana slices. Add some crumbled pecans and a squeeze of lime, and, if you like, a little touch of honey, agave or maple syrup.
A scoop of coconut and banana ice cream turns these into a feel-good pudding too.