When I was still working at the farmers market I found such an immense and satisfying joy out of the various fruits that would finally come into season. I would keep in contact with the farmers, asking for updates almost as if I was awaiting the arrival of a very good friend. When the day would finally come, my eyes would go wide and I would power walk as fast as possible to scoop some up before the customers would arrive and eventually clean them out. If I had enough time between setting things up, I would greedily gobble down the fruit, juices running down my face. What a perfect, messy, bliss.
One of my favorites to follow along in their ripening journey were peaches. The farm that grew them had been doing so for about as long as I had been alive. They grew several different varieties with fanciful names like Fireprince and Dixiland. Each variety had a specific ripening window so that they could provide peaches from late April/early May all the way through August. My favorites to work with were the late summer smaller freestone varieties because the had a more intense peachy flavor and were perfectly juicy.
I haven’t been able to find peaches local to Houston that I like as much as those McPeak peaches from Pittsburg, Texas. I’ve been missing them dearly and contemplating whether or not the 3.5 hour drive up there to acquire some would be worth it. As luck would have it, a couple of weeks ago I was picking up some avocados at whole foods and spied a very familiar looking peach and a very familiar name on the tag. It was my beloved McPeak peaches, all the way from East Texas! I bought several, carrying them around like delicate babies. The first one I bit into was just as good as I remembered. I stretched them out as long as I could, simply eating them raw and unadulterated. The last two I saved for these beautiful pancakes, cooking them in a spiced maple syrup. As I slowly ate these, I relished in the fact that something as simple as a peach could bring so much joy.
These pancakes are perfect for lazy mornings. They take a little more labor than a typical pancake, but believe me they are well worth the effort. If you don’t have peaches, you can sub in any sliced stone fruit that is in season where you are. Or, use apples or pears and cook them just a bit longer in the syrup.
Spiced Maple Peach Pancake Stack
notes: the whole spices that you use are up to you. Use what you have or purchase them from a bulk spice section so that you don’t have to fork over too much money and can get exactly the amount you want.
spiced maple peaches & syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 small or 1 large peach, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
7-8 green cardamom pods
5-6 allspice berries
In a mortar and pestle or with the butt of your kitchen knife, gently bruise the whole spices to encourage them to release their oils. Add the spices, the coconut oil, and the syrup to a pan set over medium heat. Once the mixture just starts to bubble, turn the heat down to low, keeping it at a very low simmer. Add the peaches and cook them in the syrup until they are just tender, about 7 minutes or so. When the peaches are ready, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool for at least 15-20 minutes.
70g oat flour
20g buckwheat flour
30g arrowroot flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp psyllium husk (or xanthan gum)
130g nut milk, plus more as needed to thin the batter (I used cashew milk)
30g unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp of the spiced syrup from the peaches
coconut oil for cooking the pancakes
Heat a skillet over medium heat and grease it with coconut oil. While the skillet it heating up, whisk together the dry ingredients. Once they are incorporated, add the remaining wet ingredients and whisk until you get a smooth batter. If it seems to thick, add a bit more nut milk. Pour a quarter of the batter into your heated skillet, then place 3-5 peach slices on top of the batter, gently pressing them in a bit. Cook the pancake for 2-3 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook 2-3 more minutes. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more nut milk if it gets too thick. Serve the pancakes with the spiced maple syrup and any leftover peaches. Makes a stack of 4 medium pancakes. Store any leftover syrup in an airtight container and gently re-heat to use (coffee, tea, oatmeal, etc.).