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.
March 10, 2014 at 2:25 pm
OH MY, you have hit on some of my favorites, pancakes, dates , honey and blood oranges all combined in one delicious recipe. The pancakes are wonderful and that syrup I think I could drink it!
March 10, 2014 at 2:31 pm
I’m so happy to hear these are some of your favorites too. I’m a little giddy after experimenting with this all morning yesterday, and then again today – and am really pleased with the way these came out! Thanks so much, and I hope you can try them out and let me know what you think – I’d welcome your input on how to tweak the recipe!
March 10, 2014 at 2:44 pm
I will definitely give them a try! Will let you know.
March 10, 2014 at 2:41 pm
I have to make this immediately! I love dates and sticky date/toffee pudding is indeed one of my all-time-favorite desserts too!!! Thank you!
March 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm
You’re welcome! I’m so happy others like these flavors as much as I do, and I hope you love these as a morning treat. Please let me know how it goes if you try this! 🙂
March 10, 2014 at 2:51 pm
This looks so delicious! Yum!
March 10, 2014 at 3:53 pm
Thanks! This was a nice way to start the day and just might be a regular in our weekend breakfast/brunch repertoire!
March 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm
Are you kidding me? Yum. I’m totally making this this weekend. I’ve gotten into making pancakes every Saturday and this is an incredible way to mix it up and make them more mature, while preserving everything sweet and wonderful about pancakes! I wonder if in addition to allspice and cloves, if I threw in some cardamom….hmmm….
March 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm
Oh, Amanda, thanks! I hope you do try, and let me know how it goes. I’d love your feedback too on how to tweak. And I LOVE the idea of cardamom in these too – I think it would go nicely with the dates, the other spices, and the orange flavors.
March 10, 2014 at 4:55 pm
Wow. I love the sound of this. I knew I would like the post from the first word in the title: Sticky, but then it just kept getting better and better. Now I am very hungry.
March 11, 2014 at 8:04 pm
Haha! I am drawn to “sticky” foods too 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment, I’m glad it entices!
March 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm
yum yum yum! You have changed the definition of a pancake! These look so delicious!
March 11, 2014 at 8:05 pm
I thought they were delicious! I had them 3 mornings in a row – uh-oh. I also started up jogging again today… it was time 😉
March 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm
This look delicious 🙂
March 11, 2014 at 8:06 pm
March 10, 2014 at 10:29 pm
I made a date-pistachio bread today… it seems that we both have dates on our minds. 🙂 The combination of dates and blood oranges with a touch of honey sounds marvelous. I am sure the honey accents the “honeyed” flavor of the date and the citrus brightens the dish. Delicious.
March 11, 2014 at 8:07 pm
Hi, Shanna! Now I’m looking forward to checking out your date-pistachio bread! Thanks!
March 11, 2014 at 12:21 am
Laura, these are fabulous! The pancakes seem so hearty and unique with dates and blood orange juice. And your syrup is brilliant. I’m going to make these for my family next Saturday. Thank goodness I have blood oranges available to me because I can see they really make this special. Beautiful photograph too.
March 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm
Wow, thank you! I hope you and your family love them – please let me know how it goes, as I would love the chance to tweak the recipe or otherwise get your feedback 🙂 Enjoy!
March 11, 2014 at 1:15 am
Wow! I don’t usually eat pancakes, but these sound extraordinary! I am bookmarking your recipe for sure! Yummy!!
March 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm
Thank you, that’s a huge compliment. Hope you try them! Best, -Laura
March 11, 2014 at 3:53 am
Subarashii desune! To manage my calorie intake, as I don’t burn as much as I used to, 😦 I limit how much starch I eat. But when I see your creations, I start thinking, that I only live once and I’ve go to have this. The ingredients for the pancakes and the orange honey syrup are brilliant. Hontoni oishiisou desu! 😛
March 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm
Thanks, Fae. To be honest, I was torn while trying to come up with this recipe. I was hoping the dates would suffice as a sweetener, but I did find I needed to add more sweetener (and butter!), and of course all the flour. I did try to cut back on the decadence by adding the Greek yogurt instead of ricotta or mascarpone or the other really naughty things. So it is a bit decadent, but not as much as a dessert would be. I would LOVE to develop this into a lighter, more healthful version now that I’ve made the tasty/decadent version. I was wondering if flax flour or almond flour could be a good substitute for the flour. Maybe the butter could be omitted, and the 3 Tbs. sugar cut down or substituted (agave, or stevia, or honey?). What do you think? I am guessing there are many more qualified out there than I to find good substitutions or a lightened version, so if you are reading this, this is YOUR challenge! But I will also do a bit more experimenting myself next time to lighten up this recipe. In the meantime, ahem, I started my new jogging regime TODAY, after three mornings of Sticky Date Pancakes 🙂 Thank you for your kind feedback, Fae, I missed you! xoxo -laura
March 11, 2014 at 10:55 pm
Sweet, Darling Laura, I have been extremely busy to say the least, also the reason I have not posted for the last 3 weeks. Just barely tried to be active so I wouldn’t be left behind. 😦 Things have settled, but now I am getting ready for a 6 week trip starting in 20 days. I will post about it before I leave.
In regard to the brilliant pancakes, each starch has its own purpose of usage, but to please the gluten-free readers, if any of the other flours work, it may not be a bad idea to switch. When outstanding tasting sweet syrup is used (like yours), why do the pancakes need to be sweet? I think, just enough sweetness/sugar to take the raw taste of the flour should be enough. I think a little white sugar should not hurt, as other sweeteners may kill the distinct taste of the dates (I’m just guessing). Just my 2 cents worth… rule of thumb is 1 tsp b. powder or b. soda per 1 cup of flour. Why are you using 1 tsp each = 2 tsps for 1.5 c flour? Are the allspice and clove necessary for this pancake recipe’s? I think cinnamon complements the sweetness whereas the others don’t (again, I’m just guessing). 😀 ))) What do you think! 😉
March 12, 2014 at 12:46 am
Fae, I wish I could have you here in my kitchen! Thanks for all the great pointers and advice. I do think the pancake sweetness level could be reduced – as you say, the syrup is already sweet! I like a bit of brown sugar in there to make it more toffee- like, but that could be my preference. I didn’t know this rule of thumb about the baking powder/soda to flour ratio – this is good! The ratio I use here came mostly from the sticky toffee pudding recipe; the baking soda has some chemical reaction with the dates, I think it helps break them down so they’re smooth and soft when added to the batter. I will try cutting down on one or the other, the baking soda or powder. About the spices, I have always liked a pinch of cloves with cinnamon (most of the time) – this might be personal preference too – it just smells so wonderful and gives it another dimension. Not sure the allspice is necessary – I’ll have to do some more experimenting! I really appreciate your input! I hope you have a wonderful trip (and stress-free preparations) and I look forward to more fabulous Twist & Tango postings 😉
March 11, 2014 at 8:10 am
I’d love to add this to our special breakfast rotation, it looks beautiful.
March 11, 2014 at 8:20 pm
Thanks! It’s a nice flavor combo, something different for pancakes 🙂
March 11, 2014 at 9:18 am
I do like pancakes and dates! Thanks for sharing such interesting idea! 🙂
March 11, 2014 at 8:21 pm
You’re welcome! Hope you try it! My husband, who swears he doesn’t like dates, said it smelled like apples and he ate his plateful before I told him it was dates 🙂 If you like dates, you should like these 😉
March 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm
Superbb! I jus bought dates yesterday, will try your recipe in the weekend. I love collecting different pancake recipes. 🙂
March 11, 2014 at 8:23 pm
Great! I look forward to your constructive feedback – I would love to tweak the recipe as needed. Hope you enjoy making and eating them! Cheers 🙂 -Laura
March 15, 2014 at 2:09 pm
Wow, this looks so, so delicious 🙂 Love the clove and cinnamon in there too!
March 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm
Thanks! I love waking up to warm spices and citrus 🙂