Jan 18, 2010
I’ve always loved burnt sugar. I love the simplicity and rusticity of those hard, translucent lollipops that you can make by chilling burnt sugar syrup; they’re golden-brown like amber and smooth like ice. We found this recipe of burnt sugar sauce in our old Rumanian cookbook (I’ve mentioned it before). I’m used to trusting their recipes, but the first attempt with the sauce resulted in a very runny, thin substance, so we had to considerably reduce the amount of water and milk. Also, I found out that the sauce needed to be cooled well before serving: it’s still too runny when warm. The sauce tasted of milky caramel with a hint of bitterness – that mild kind of bitterness that you find in, say, coffee.
I’ve always loved apples as well. Tart or honey-sweet, green or red, almost any kind, as long they are hard (can’t stand those mushy sorts) and as long as they smell like apples. Not like apple candy, apple shampoo or apple bubble gum, but like real, organic apples! The smell of fresh apples is charming and modest, it’s delicate like silk and melancholic like autumn; it’s one of Nature’s greatest, basic perfumes.
These pancakes are made with local apples that smell of rainy days, and kefir* – sour fermented milk drink. That’s why the pancakes are pleasantly sour-ish.
*If you cannot find kefir, try using buttermilk or a sour thin yogurt instead!
- For pancakes
2 ½ cup wheat flour
½ l kefir/buttermilk/sour yogurt
10 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
2 apples, peeled
- For sauce
6 tbsp sugar
90ml boiling water
1 tsp starch
Serves 4 as standalone dish, 6 as dessert
Make batter of eggs, sugar, vanilla sugar, flour, and kefir, adding flour and kefir gradually. Stir until well-blended.
Grate apples on a medium grater and add to the batter. Stir well.
Cook pancakes on a low to medium heat with vegetable oil.
Take a small saucepan of stainless steel or any other material resistant to burning sugar :)
Heat the sugar until medium brown (or light brown if you don’t like it strong). Add boiling water and keep boiling gently until all lumps have melted.
Dissolve starch in approximately a tablespoon cold water and pour it into the burnt sugar syrup while stirring vigorously.
Finally, add milk and simmer for a 5 minutes.
Chill the sauce before serving.
And, just some pictures of winter in Old Riga, taken on Friday (the hoar frost is gone by now):
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