Bourbon Berry Pancakes


Yay for Pancake day, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, which ever you prefer. Pancakes are such a wonderful vessel for experimentation, sweet or savory, breakfast or dessert, healthy or indulgent.

This is my little nod to the Mardi Gras festivities on Bourbon street. Not one for the kids, blackberries bathed in bourbon are a perfect combination nestled inside fluffy pancake envelopes and topped with a sugar crackling.

I have a nostalgic soft spot for Aunt Jemima’s pancake mix, so that is the batter I have used here. Feel free to tut and disapprove, and use your favourite batter or recipe. If you have a great from scratch recipe I’d love to try it.

Makes about 6


8 oz fresh blackberries

1 apple, you can omit the apple and double the blackberries or add in 8 oz of raspberries

Pancake mix

1 egg

3/4 cup milk

2-3 tbsp bourbon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup sugar

cooking oil

butane torch

8 inch frying pan

Peel and core the apple, dice it into 1/4 inch pieces. Place the apple and 1 tbsp of water into a saucepan on a medium heat, put the lid on and gently cook until just tender, about 7 minutes.

Remove from the heat and drain any liquid, add the washed blackberries and pour over the bourbon, replace the lid and leave to macerate while you prepare the batter.

In a jug or bowl, mix together 1 cup of pancake mix, 1 egg and 3/4 cup of milk. Beat until all the lumps are gone. You may need to add a splash more milk, this recipe works best the batter is a little runnier and the pancakes aren’t overly thick.

Heat a little oil in the pan over a medium flame, coat the entire surface, I pour out any excess. Ladle in some of the batter, roughly 1/4 cup and swirl it around so it covers the bottom of the pan in a nice even thinnish layer. Watch and wait for the bubbles to form and pop before flipping the pancake over. You want it to be cooked, but still rather pale. Cook for a few more minutes on the other side. Slide onto a plate and fold in half. Repeat until the batter is gone.

Pour half of the bourbon from the fruit into a glass, and some apple juice and ice if you like, and you have a tasty cocktail!

Douse the fruit in maple syrup, spoon the mixture into the each of the folded pancakes. Sprinkle with sugar and use the  torch to caramalise it. Repeat the sugar/ carmaelisation until you have the desired crust.


Enjoy F.

Bourbon berry pancakes pdf


20131112-094355.jpgWe’re having our very first snow of the season here in the Big Apple. Its not a blizzard or even sticking to the concrete but it is fat, fluffy, pretty flakes. This was my view this morning while walking to the day job, looking south down Fifth Avenue.  You can make out the top of the empire state building through the falling snow just to the right of the lanterns on the Parc V & Sherry Netherland Hotels. To celebrate my favorite weather I think I may make a batch of Nigella’s Gingerbread when I get home this evening.  Tis the season, after all!


Apple Butter

20131008-132332.jpgApples are so abundant late September, early October.  Florrie and I had gone apple picking the weekend before and I had a bag filled with apples in my kitchen, looking questioningly at me. I like apples, but I’m not a big apple eater, preferring instead to bake them into lovely goodness.   Since my bag of apples was starting to languish – it was inevitable- I figured I would make something that requires 4lbs of apples.  Apple Butter!  I love me some apple butter. Its great on toast, pancakes, ice cream, mixed in to yogurt. It can take the place of jam in a range of food scenarios too.  I mixed a gorgeous combination of tart and sweet and crisp apples to make this batch of butter.  Honey Crisp, Jonah Gold, Cortland (the best baking apples in my opinion)  If you use a food mill don’t worry about peeling and coring. If you aren’t, peel and core before chucking into the pot.

I looked over some apple butter recipes before I decided what I would do.  I was shocked at the amount of sugar some of them called for.  4lbs apples:4 cups sugar. UGH. Gross. No.  These little beauties were already sweet, and I knew that once they had cooked down, condensed and caramelized they would be even sweeter.  I pared that measurement down to 1/2 cup.  I wanted the apples to really shine.

To Make:

4lbs apples (dealer’s choice)  quartered

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground clove

1/8 tsp ground all spice

jars to store the butter

Put quartered apples into a heavy bottomed pot with the water and cover. Simmer for 20 minutes until apples are cooked through and soft.   I was using the same pot to reduce the apples, so I poured the hot mixture into a big bowl so I could mill the apples directly into the pot.

Set your food mill, with the medium plate inserted over the pot and ladle in the apples, milling them to remove the seeds, cores and skins.  Discard solids.


Add spices and sugar to the apples, stir and simmer, uncovered over very low heat for about 90 minutes, stirring about every 15 minutes or so. You want the water to evaporate and the apples to condense and caramelize. Scrape the bottom to make sure you don’t get scorch marks.  You should notice the bottom getting lovely and dark and thick.  The overall texture will thicken over time and darken as the sugars in the apples begin to caramelize.

Its ‘done’ when you can drag the spoon along the bottom of the pot and the apple butter doesn’t immediately fill the gap back in.  You can now can the apple butter to keep it and give as gifts, or just fill up a container and pop it in the fridge. Un-canned apple butter will last at least two weeks in the fridge.


I know what you may be thinking… “Where’s the cinnamon?”  I find that its a common tendency to smother anything baked with apples in cinnamon.  I think that’s generally a bad idea. I find cinnamon cloying, overpowering and I wanted the apples to really shine with just a hint of spice to it.  I nearly always substitute all spice for cinnamon  and nearly always reduce the quantity as well.  I imagined some of these apple butter recipes coming out like cinnamon apple candy, and that thought didn’t make me happy.  No sir.

This batch of apple butter though, made me very happy! Its tangy, a little bit sweet, gently spiced and so so so apple-y. Its gorgeous! Coffee,toast, butter and apple butter for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do!