spiced whole grain pancakes with fresh figs

I spent my 30th birthday this month at my childhood best friend’s apartment in Western Amsterdam.  It was complete with balloons, dutch pancakes, dinner on a canal, and even celebratory toilet paper.  

While I was there, I drank my weight in beer, ate more cheese than I care to recollect here, biked all around the city, had an amazing “rice table” at Restaurant Blauw (an Indonesian place you must check out if you find yourself in the area) oh right, and made a few wedding cakes:

All this to say, I’m back in California, and finding myself in need of some serious detoxing, and the nagging need to drop those pesky 10 pounds that have crept onto my figure in the last year.  The last couple of weeks have been all about veggies, quinoa, brown rice, smoothies, some fish, and lots of water – I’ve made variations of this, and this, this, and this.  Which has, of course, left me craving sugar in the worst way.  So instead of eating frozen yogurt for dinner after a grueling work day, I brought out my skillet and threw together some healthy-ish pancakes from ingredients already in my fridge and pantry.  The “ish” part here comes from the requisite dousing in salted butter and maple syrup, but the pancake part is really pretty sound – whole grain flours, non-fat greek yogurt, some eggs, and a splash of almond milk made pretty with a layer of caramelized figs on the underside.  The results were surprising – tender, fluffy, warmly spiced, and not at all “healthy tasting.”  The magic here is of course the figs which, layered over each pancake as it cooks and then set against the hot pan on the flip, caramelize beautifully and add their sweet, jammy pop to each bite.

Makes about 12 pancakes and can be easily halved or doubled.

Adapted from this recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Spiced Whole Grain Pancakes with Fresh Figs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain, non-fat greek yogurt
  • 4 to 8 tbsp almond milk, or whatever milk you have on hand
  • 2 tbsp agave, honey, or maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted butter, plus extra for buttering skillet
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (32 grams) buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 pint fresh figs, washed and sliced into rounds

In a small bowl, beat the eggs and then stir in the yogurt, 4 tbsp milk, agave or sweetener of your choice, melted butter, and vanilla.  Mix well.  In a separate larger bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and spices.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.  If the batter seems too thick, add more milk to thin.  

Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat and coat lightly with melted butter.  Once hot, dollop the pancake batter into the pan about 1/4 cup at a time, leaving at least 2 inches between pancakes.  Place several sliced figs over each pancake.  Cook about 2 minutes or until bubbling and browned on the bottom and then carefully flip the pancakes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes until golden brown and the figs are caramelized.  I noticed the batter under the figs had a tendency to be under-cooked, so be sure to let the pancakes stay on the heat until fully cooked – turn the heat down if needed to prevent burning.  Serve immediately with salted butter and maple syrup.  If you’re cooking for a crowd, you can keep cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven – be sure to cover lightly with a clean dish towel.

  1. You write beautifully — and are an amazing cook!

  2. Your dad thinks “our my skillet” is an error — I’m not so sure. In our home, we have many “our my” kitchen tools!

  3. Alex,
    Any new posts soon?

    -a devoted reader

    • Hey Sofia –

      Sorry I’ve been on a blogging hiatus; I’ll get it back up and running soon. Promise. Got some soup I want to share and some pumpkin bars. Thanks for the comment!


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