Maybe I should re-name “the musician, who cooks,” at least temporarily, to “the musician, who cooks…with cardamom.” I’ve been in a cardamom groove for awhile now, but it’s a good place to be since I love the perfume and taste it adds. It’s the end of July, and it’s my birthweek (it takes longer to celebrate so many years), and these fragrant, sweet pancakes with a spicy, warming ginger-maple syrup made for a very fine birthday breakfast.
Besides the mango, there are four things that really make this recipe work. Whole, fresh ginger root is available in most grocery stores; dried ground ginger won’t give you the same flavor and you can’t strain it once it’s mixed into the syrup. Grade B pure maple syrup, darker and deeper than the more refined grade A, is a perfect compliment to the spicier ginger. For better taste and nutrition, avoid any pseudo-maple syrups (i.e. not from a maple tree). Freshly ground cardamom is worth the extra effort too, but if you’re buying previously ground cardamom, check the expiration date on the bottle so you aren’t getting old stuff. Pure extra-virgin coconut oil is excellent for baking, cooking and beyond, such as making your own body cream. It’s also better to avoid refined versions which don’t have the same rich flavor, aroma and health benefits as the unrefined extra-virgin oil.
The weekend is here and it’s a good time to try these pancakes if you like, so I won’t keep you any longer than to share the recipe below, and to simply say that these pancakes are worthy of a little celebration, birthday or not.
1 ripe mango, (about 1 lb.), peeled, with 1/2 cup/113 grams/4 ounces of the flesh reserved for use
1 tablespoon raw honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin coconut oil
1-1/2 cups/366 grams/13 ounces whole milk, slightly warmed
1-1/2 cups/225 grams/8 ounces whole white wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 cup grade B pure maple syrup
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
Start by peeling the skin off of a small section of the ginger root using a vegetable peeler, and then grate the ginger root using a fine grater. Set aside. Warm the maple syrup in a heat-proof glass container in the microwave for 45 seconds on high or gently on the stove in a small saucepan over medium-low heat for a few minutes until very warm to the touch. If warming on the stove, remove from the heat, and add the grated ginger, stirring to disperse throughout the syrup. Set aside and let the ginger and maple flavors meld together while you are prepping and cooking the pancakes.
Peel the entire skin off of the mango in thin strips, then use the same knife to remove as much as you can of the soft flesh around the large, harder seed in the center. Measure out the required amount of mango flesh and place in a high-powered blender. Add the honey, coconut oil, egg, and milk to the blender, and purée for several seconds on high until smooth. Pour the mango mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom together in a large separate bowl. Add the flour mixture to the mango mixture, stirring until the two become one smooth batter, but don’t overmix.
Heat a large non-stick griddle or seasoned cast-iron griddle over medium-high heat. Using a 1/4 measuring cup or a #12 spring-loaded scooper, scoop enough batter to almost fill the cup or scooper (a scant 1/4 cup), and drop onto the griddle, as many pancakes as your griddle will comfortably hold, and you still have room to maneuver and flip each pancake. Flip when you just start to see little bubbles appear on the surface of the batter, and cook until light golden brown. Place on a platter and cover to keep warm.
Strain the ginger from maple syrup using a fine mesh strainer. Warm ginger-maple syrup slightly before serving if desired. Serve with the mango pancakes.
Makes about fourteen 4-inch pancakes and 1 cup of syrup