Arabian pancakes with figs and orange-flower syrup

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Today we’re taking the fig to the Middle East people.  Told you this little gem was versatile. This recipe was inspired by one of Nigella’s recipes for Arabian pancakes with Orange-Flower Syrup.  I have mixed it up a little here and half the figs are cooked and half them are served fresh which I think adds a lovely lightness to the dish.  You could serve this dish either as a dessert or for brunch.  It may seem like there are a lot of components to this recipe but I promise you it’s dead simple.

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s, Forever Summer

Serves 6

What you need:

For the orange-flower syrup
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 150ml water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tbsp orange-flower water (if you don’t like orange-flower water you could use rosewater instead, both available from middle eastern or specialty foodstores)
For the pancakes
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1&1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarb soda
  • pinch ground cardamom
  • 3 tbsp greek yoghurt + extra to serve
  • approx 125ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 50 ml almond oil (I only had walnut oil, so used this instead.  If you don’t have any sort of nut oil, just use another mild tasting oil or use 50g melted and cooled butter)
  • 6 figs, quartered
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 handful of slivered pistachio nuts or 1-2 handfuls of shelled pistachios, chopped

What to do:

Start by making the syrup as you will need to cool this in the fridge.  This makes quite a bit  so any leftovers can be kept in the fridge and is delicious used on fruit salad.  Put the sugar and water into a small saucepan and put on a low heat and slowly bring to the boil.  Whatever you do, don’t stir it or put any sort of stirring utensil anywhere near it (don’t say I didn’t warn you!)  Just gently swirl it around to help dissolve the sugar.  Once the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has come to a boil, add the lemon juice and orange-flower water and simmer for 5 mins.  Pour syrup into a bowl/container and put in the fridge to cool.

Next to make the pancake batter, put the dry ingredients into a bowl and then into another bowl/jug put in the yoghurt and pour in the milk until reaches the 250ml mark.  Add the egg and oil and whisk together until combined.  Now you can pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

Heat a non-stick pan (no oil required here) and start making the pancakes by dolloping in about 2 tbsp of batter for each pancake.  You will have to do this in batches so keep the cooked pancakes warm under some foil.  The pancakes are ready to flip when they start looking like crumpets essentially.

Once all the pancakes have been cooked, drizzle honey over half of the quartered figs and put them into the pan and cook until caramelised and the interior of the fig is starting to look a bit jammy.  If you need more liquid, use some of the syrup.

I think this dish looks lovely served on a communal platter by arranging the pancakes on the base and then drizzle with some of the syrup to moisten the pancakes.  Pile the figs high, mixing the cooked and raw figs on top of the pancakes and then drizzle some more of the syrup over the top.  Sprinkle with the pistachio’s and serve with dollops of greek yoghurt.

Seriously, this is sooooo good!

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