Yesterday was my birthday. I feel lucky to have Feb. 17 as my birthday both because I share it with my older brother (as in born on the same day, just 7 years apart, not twin) and because it always falls around a three-day weekend, thanks to Presidents Lincoln and Washington. Three-day weekend folks– there’s no excuse but to have a long, indulgent breakfast.
When I say long, indulgent breakfast, I of course mean a warming and delicious breakfast that you can linger over eating and hanging out with friends and family, not one that takes forever cooking. These apples, spiked with cinnamon and pomegranate seeds topping chai spiced pancakes make for that perfect, mid-winter break breakfast/brunch meal.
Those apples caramelize in some butter and brown sugar and the pomegranate seeds add color as well as bursts of sweet-tart juice with each bite of a tender, spicy cake. Drizzle some syrup and add some crispy bacon on the side, what’s not to love?
Note: I find the best way to remove pomegranate seeds is to submerge each half of a split pomegranate in a big bowl of water then use your fingers to pry out the seeds. The white pith floats to the top while the heavier seeds sink to the bottom. You can then skim off the pith before draining the seeds in a colander. To boost up the pomegranate flavor, if you have pomegranate juice on hand, try reducing a cup or so in a small sauce pan over medium heat until it thickens into a syrup and drizzle that on your pancakes instead of plain old maple.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 medium honey crisp apples, peeled and diced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus an additional 2 teaspoons for the pancakes
- canola oil
- 8-12 ounces milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 8 ounces flour (about 1.5 cups)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- maple syrup
In a medium skillet, melt two tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the apples and stir to coat. Cook until softened slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle in brown sugar and pomegranate seeds before stirring in 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. Reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples are golden brown, about another 6-7 minutes.
While apples cook, mix together 8 ounces of milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla in a large bowl. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cardamom in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until combined with a few small lumps. Add more milk if you want looser pancakes. Cook pancakes on a lightly greased griddle or large skillet over medium low heat. Serve pancakes, topped with apples and pomegranate seeds with warmed maple syrup.
Makes 6-8 4-inch pancakes.