Each week, plant-based cook Bettina Campolucci Bordi, founder of Bettina’s Kitchen, will give us the lowdown on a particular seasonal vegetable or ingredient, offering cooking tips and a recipe. This week it’s apples.
Autumn is drawing in and the cosy sweaters are on, but the new season brings an array of new delicious seasonal stars. One of my absolute favourites and with more varieties than one might consider is the humble apple. Although apples are not native to the UK, (the tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today), we Brits have been growing them for centuries as eaters, cookers and to make cider.
Apple orchards are common in the UK – there are 2,300 varieties of apple preserved in the orchards of the National Fruit Collection. Even though we only consume a few of those varieties on a commercial level, it is nice to see some of the heritage ones available in markets nowadays.
My love affair with apples began when I grew up in Sweden and my grandmother and I used to pick them, beginning in September. We would make cloudy apple juice, vinegar, jams and compotes – there would be jars aligned far and stock that would last the year! This recipe is a homage to my grandmother and to all those late summers dedicated to filling jars and bottles with apple goodness.
Recipe: Fluffy One-Pan Apple Pancake
I make this every week and everyone loves it. It makes a great batch, and the batter keeps fresh in the fridge for several days so you can make pancakes on demand. It uses what I call a ‘flax egg’: 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal and 2 tablespoons water. You can buy flaxseed meal or blitz flax seeds in a blender.
Makes One Large Pancake Enough for Two Portions
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 250 ml oat milk or other plant milk
- 100 g oat flour
- 100 g buckwheat flour
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1–2 large eating (dessert) apples, peeled, cored and sliced into wedges
- Jam or plant yogurt, to serve
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal and water and let it set for 1–2 minutes. Add the peanut butter, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and vanilla paste and whisk everything together well. Add the plant milk and whisk again until well combined.
- Next, add the oat and buckwheat flours, stir until combined, then let the batter rest for 5 minutes. Alternatively, the batter can be prepped for the next day; sometimes the pancakes become even tastier if they have rested in the fridge.
- To cook the pancakes, preheat a small frying pan (skillet) so it is hot, but not so screaming hot that the oil smokes when it makes contact with the surface of the pan. Add a little coconut oil to the pan, then gently lay the apple slices in the pan and fry for 5 minutes until lightly browned on each side. Arrange the apples beautifully in the pan.
- Give the pancake batter a stir, then pour into the frying pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the surface bubbles. Flip the pancake over with a large slice and fry on the other side until cooked through. Serve with a dollop of jam or plant yogurt.
Last but not least, some apple cooking tips
I love adding crisp apple slices into salads. You can quickly marinate them in some apple cider vinegar or a few squeezes of lemon juice or lime so that it doesn’t darken. Wrinkly and forgotten apples at the bottom of a fruit bowl lend themselves well as a topping. Warm in a pan with a few sprinkles of cinnamon and voila: a perfect breakfast topping on porridge or toast with a generous dollop of nut butter.
Featured image: Anna Kaminova on Unsplash