Sticky Toffee Pudding, or “Sticky Date Pudding,” as some call it, is one of my all-time favorite desserts. And, as you might have noticed, I am enchanted by all things citrus. I started dreaming up a new pancake recipe, and this is what I came up with through some delicious experiments in the kitchen. It’s a sticky date pancake, moist and sweetly spiced with cinnamon, allspice & cloves, with a bright blood-orange and honey syrup and segmented oranges to drizzle over the top. This one is certainly a new favorite in our house; we swooned at the aromas as the pancakes cooked, we oohed and aahed over each warm batch, we licked our plates clean and wanted more. I hope you add this to your repertoire of special breakfasts and enjoy it as much as we did!
Sticky Date Pancakes with Blood-Orange & Honey Syrup
Notes: the whole recipe calls for 6 blood oranges, to be used for zest, juice, and segmented oranges. If blood oranges are not available, another orange variety will work fine as a substitute. I strongly recommend using medjoul dates, since other varieties of dates might not be sweet or soft enough.
- 7 medjoul dates, pitted and chopped into about 1/4-inch chunks
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 cup butter, melted or mostly melted
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbs. brown sugar
- 2 Tbs. white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 pinch each of allspice and cloves
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- zest of one blood orange
- 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 1 orange)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Blood Orange & Honey Syrup:
- zest of one blood orange
- segments of 2 blood oranges
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed blood-orange juice (about 3 oranges)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch
- 3 1/2 to 4 Tbs. honey (to taste)
- In a medium pot, combine chopped dates and water and bring to a boil; turn heat down slightly and simmer uncovered for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the baking soda and stir while it bubbles and foams. Add the melted butter and stir, set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the flour, brown & white sugars, baking powder, salt, and spices and stir with a whisk.
- In a larger bowl, add the wet ingredients: lightly beat the egg, then add the Greek yogurt, milk, zest & juice, and vanilla and stir. Once cool to near-room temperature, stir in the date mixture. Gradually add the dry ingredients and stir just enough to combine all the ingredients.
- Let the batter sit while you prepare the syrup: Zest one orange, then segment it (Cut off the peel on the top and bottom of the orange so it will sit upright, then cutting down in arcs on all sides, slice away the peel & pith of the whole orange. Then carve out each orange segment carefully by cutting between the dividing skin of each one.) Segment another orange, then juice 3 more to make 3/4 cup juice. Set the segments aside.
- In a small pot, combine the juice and zest and cornstarch; stir to dissolve. Heat over medium heat while constantly stirring as it bubbles and thickens, about 3 minutes. Take off the heat for a moment to add the honey (taste and adjust), then return to heat and continue stirring to let it thicken some more, about 2 minutes. Aim for the consistency of maple syrup, but keep in mind it will thicken some upon cooling. Remove from heat and add the segmented oranges.
- Cook the pancakes: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a pat of butter. Swirl the butter around and let it bubble and brown a bit, then lightly swipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove excess butter (this is a trick to get even the first batch nicely browned!). Using a ladle or a half-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter and pour into the hot skillet to make 3 to 4 round pancakes per batch. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until dark brown on the bottom, then flip to the other side and cook another 3 to 4 minutes, or until cooked through but still moist in the middle. Continue cooking the pancakes in batches, adding more butter between batches if necessary. Note that these pancakes do brown a bit faster than other pancakes, so be sure to check the heat on the burners and turn down if browning too quickly, especially after the first batch.
- Serve with the warm orange & honey syrup (with segmented oranges) drizzled over the top. Goes wonderfully well with strong coffee.