CHESTNUT CRÊPES WITH VANILLA CHAI PLUM COMPOTE
These buttery crêpes go really well with the tartness of plum compote. The batter works best with 30 minutes' rest, which is the perfect amount of time to stew the plums with the spices. Play around with the spice combination by adding some cloves, allspice or cayenne pepper. This also makes a delicious jam: if you have a sweet tooth or the plums are not as ripe as you’d like, simply up the jaggery and cook for longer.
For the crêpes
115g (1 cup) chestnut flour
3 large eggs, at room temperature
120ml (1/2 cup) water or buttermilk
1/8 tsp sea salt
melted ghee or coconut oil, to cook
For the plums
around 12 ripe plums (900g)
60g (1/4 cup) jaggery
1 star anise
1 vanilla pod or 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
To make the batter, place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the water a little at a time, whisking continuously until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the salt and set the batter aside to rest for 30 minutes.
Quarter the plums, removing the stones. Put the fruit into a heavy-based pan with the jaggery, star anise, vanilla pod, cinnamon stick and black pepper.
Cook gently on a medium heat, lid on, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the plums are just tender or completely falling apart, depending on your preference. Remember to fish out the whole spices — star anise, vanilla pod and cinnamon stick.
Once the compote is cooked, heat a ceramic-lined or seasoned cast-iron frying pan on a medium heat and brush with melted ghee. Whisk the batter again, then add 2—3 tablespoons to the pan. Tilt the pan to thinly but evenly coat the bottom with batter. Cook for 1 minute or so until the pancake lifts easily from the pan and is golden brown on the underside. Turn (or flip!) the pancake to cook the other side — don’t overcook, to keep them chewy rather than crisp.
Repeat with the remaining batter, stacking pancakes on top of each other to keep them warm. Serve each pancake with a helping of the compote. Store the remaining compote in the fridge for up to 1 month.
Use rice flour instead of chestnut flour, and try apricots as an alternative to plums.
Use buckwheat or millet flour, and try apricots as an alternative to plums.