Pancakes with caramel and blackberry compote

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As winter tightens its grip and days get darker and chillier, even the littlest repository of summer berries is treasure. Recently, on a particularly grim day, my last portion of blackberries was summoned from the icy depths of the freezer to bring a little cheer to this pancake party. Starting with a basic American pancake recipe from Nigella Lawson the fireworks are in the toppings: rich, sticky-sweet caramel is balanced perfectly against ripe, acidic blackberries bursting with flavour. It is a combination so simple yet so powerful – I have to admit I haven’t been this excited about a recipe for a while!

You can add a seasonal touch very easily by mixing spices such as cinnamon and cardamom into the compote. A swig of brandy wouldn’t go amiss either…

Makes 16 pancakes:
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
225 g plain flour
a pinch of salt
2 eggs
30 g butter (melted and cooled)
300 ml milk
1 tsp ground cardamom
butter for frying

blackberry compote:

200 g blackberries, frozen or fresh
75 g sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

caramel spread, such as dulche de leche, to serve

1. To make the compote, put all ingredients in a saucepan and leave to simmer over a low-to-medium heat while you prepare the pancake batter.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix cooled melted butter with eggs and milk. Add cardamom. Then pour the egg-mix into the dry ingredients and whisk well, stirring out any lumps.

3. Return to your gently bubbling compote; mash most of the berries with a spatula but leave some whole. Take off the heat and cool at room temperature.

4. In a large frying pan, melt a knob of butter and pour little circles of batter – no more than 2 inches in diameter. When the batter on top of the pancake is blistering and bubbling flip it over and cook the other side for about a minute.

5. Serve with lashings of caramel and blackberry compote.

Adapted from a recipe from Nigella Lawson: http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/american-breakfast-pancakes-141

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