Buckwheat pancakes with apples and Calvados cream

This recipe comes from the March chapter of my book on cooking with flavour i.e. smell Citrus and Spice A year of Flavour (see Books). 

Fallen apples, damp earth and the intense cidery smell of last years apples stored in the dusty hay loft.  Such memories are the making of recipes.

Serves 6

For the pancake batter:

55g plain flour

60g buckwheat flour

pinch of salt

1 medium egg, beaten

200ml milk

85ml water

1 tablespoon melted butter

For the apple filling and cream:

6 medium Coxs orange pippins

1 tablespoon lemon juice

55g butter, plus extra for baking

55g sultanas

30g caster sugar

3  tablespoons Calvados

200ml double cream

1 tablespoon sifted icing sugar


1 Sift the flours and salt into a bowl and make a well in the centre.  Using a wooden spoon, slowly mix the egg into the flour until it starts to form a smooth paste. Beat in the milk, bit by bit, followed by 85ml water and one tablespoon melted butter until you have a smooth batter.  Strain into a jug and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

2 Set a small (15cm) heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Lightly oil and, when the pan is very hot, pour in about 2 tablespoons of batter.  Rotate the pan so that it is evenly coated in a thin layer.  Once the batter begins to set and form small bubbles, loosen the edges with a greased palette knife and flip over.  Cook for another minute, then slip the pancake on to a plate.  Grease the pan once more and repeat. As you cook, you will need to reduce the heat slightly. Cover and set aside.

3 Peel, quarter, core and thickly slice the apples into a large bowl.  Toss with the lemon juice.  Set a large frying pan over a medium heat.  Melt the butter and stir in the apples and sultanas.  Fry for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly, until the apples are golden and just tender, then reduce the heat and mix in the sugar and 2 tablespoons Calvados.  Continue to cook for 4 minutes or until the apples are soft and juicy.  Tip into a bowl.

4 In a large bowl whisk together the cream and 1  tablespoons Calvados until thecream forms soft peaks.  Cover and chill.

5 Preheat the oven to 200C, fan assisted 180C, gas 5.  Liberally butter an ovenproof gratin dish.  Take the first pancake and spoon some of the cooked apple over half of the pancake.  Fold the pancake over so that the apple mixture is covered, then fold the pancake in half again so that it forms a quarter. Place in the buttered dish and continue with the remaining pancakes.  Once all the pancakes are filled, lightly dot with butter and cover the dish with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes or until piping hot.  Transfer to serving plates, dust with icing sugar and serve with the Calvados cream.


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