Lebanese inspired pancakes – try something new on Pancake Day

Somehow Pancake day always seems to sneak up on me. This year I am making a big effort to make sure that doesn’t happen. I am going to be ready!

Crispy bacon, fluffy pancake and syrup. Copyright Brendan MacNeill

Crispy bacon, fluffy pancake and syrup

In our recent Breakfast Survey, you voted pancakes as your third favourite breakfast food. In almost every case, you suggested maple syrup as an accompaniment, with plenty of bacon or fruit.

Scotch pancakes with raspberry jam - of course

Scotch pancakes with raspberry jam – of course

Whilst I love the idea of American pancakes, which can be a good 1cm thick, if they’ve been cooked with a heavy hand, they can be pretty dry, requiring an excess of syrup. (Yes there is such a thing!)  Excellent bacon is an absolute must, cooked to crispy perfection and the syrup has to be maple. The standard Clarks’ Maple Syrup which is sold in most supermarkets is actually a mix of syrup and carob. (They do also make a pure version so make your choice). The fact that maple syrup plenty of beneficial nutrients is probably irrelevant if you’re eating the bacon and pancakes but it’s good to know! The Daily Telegraph recently had a fascinating piece on how maple syrup is harvested – check out the pipes!

Rosie: My favourite breakfast? French toast with pancakes, bacon and maple syrup. …served and eaten in the lovely city of Vancouver

Growing up in England, we always had very thin, large pancakes with lashings of lemon juice and sugar on Pancake. My mother was a deft hand at making them. However, for me under pressure, it always seems to take ages to achieve just the right thinness and size. Inevitably, just as you run out of mixture, you get it right. Not the best way to relax on Pancake Day!

Aunt Jemima's Pancake mix

No resorting to packets please!

I am a big fan of Scotch pancakes. I always use a girdle to cook them on. (Not that sort of girdle). I wish I had asked my mother where her girdle pan came from that I now have. I am fairly sure it has been passed down a couple of generations. It is square with a handle and just needs heating up and lightly greased before using. Any thick bottomed pan would do a good job.

I just love watching the bubbles form telling me it’s time to turn them over to cook the other side. In minutes they’re done ready for butter and jam – raspberry for me.

My recipe today is cooked in the same way as Scotch pancakes but comes from a world away. You’ll need to gather a few ingredients together, but it is really worth it. I have been reading a fascinating cookbook Taste of Beirut byJoumana Accad and discovered the wonderfully named Sfoof which are cakes sold by street vendors all over Beirut. My recipe is adapted from her pancake version. If you love Ottolenghi recipes, this is definitely the book for you.

The flavourings may seem unusual in these pancakes, and it is wise not to be too heavy handed. The turmeric gives them a wonderful golden colour and the star anise complements the cinnamon so well. The syrup is very easy to make, and if you only have one of the two flavourings, just add that. Do be careful not to overcook, otherwise you will have some very interesting fudge. As with many pancake recipes, start with a mixture that is thick, rather than thin, you can always add a bit of liquid as you go!

As the bubbles start to form, add the nuts, then flip over

Using my trusty girdle, as the bubbles start to form, I add the nuts, then flip over

Golden pancakes slathered in syrup

Golden pancakes slathered in syrup

I’m also including my recipe for Scotch Pancakes, just in case those tempt you more. What ever version you choose, just make sure you’d ready for Pancake Day!

Lebanese Inspired Pancakes
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
Trust me these pancakes are very more-ish and well worth the effort of finding the ingredients. Serve with ice cream for pure indulgence. Use a coffee grinder to grind some star anise, use 4 to ensure a good ground and reserve the rest or smash the star anise in a pestle and mortar. Maple syrup will work well if you cannot find the ingredients for the syrup. You need a heavy bottomed pan, a spatula and a plate with tea towel nearby. A jam thermometer is very useful, but you can manage without. Yield very much depends on the size you make the pancakes.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Lebanese
Serves: 8 pancakes
  • 50 gr self-raising flour - wheat or gluten free
  • 25 gr fine cornmeal or semolina
  • 10 gr sugar
  • 20 gr butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 100 gr milk (approx.)
  • 50 gr nuts (pine nuts, pecans or walnuts)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon
  • ½ tsp or ground star anise
  • ½ tsp of turmeric.
  • 200 gr sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 15 ml orange blossom water
  • 15 ml rose water
  1. In a saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water. Avoid the temptation to stir at any point
  2. Add the orange flower water and rose water.
  3. Simmer the syrup for about 12 minutes. To test whether it is ready, either ensure it has reached the Jam setting on your jam thermometer (or 105C) or add a drop to cold water. If it sets it is ready. Set aside
  1. Mix the dry ingredients except the nuts together in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, egg and half the milk.
  3. If using pecans or walnuts, break into small pieces.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Put into a jug for pouring onto the pan.
  5. Add more milk until the mixture is thick but flowing. Adjust after trying a test pancake.
  6. Heat the heavy bottomed pan until hot, smear with a little butter.
  7. Pour the mixture onto the pan until it spreads to about 10 cm. As it begins to set and bubbles appear sprinkle the nuts on top.
  8. Flip over and quickly cook the other side.
  9. Add little more milk if you have difficulty pouring it. Otherwise add 3 to four at a time and keep warm.

Scotch Pancakes
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
These pancakes are so easy and quick to make. You can rustle them up in minutes when you have unexpected guests. Serve with butter and your favourite jam. You can make them with gluten free or wheat flour. You will need a frying pan with a thick bottom or a griddle for best results Have a spatula and clean tea towel to hand. The amount of liquid you need very much depends on the flour. It is best to keep it quite thick to start with - you can always add more.
Recipe type: Cake
Cuisine: Scottish
Serves: 12-16 pancakes
  • 80gr plain flour wheat or gluten free
  • 1 rounded teaspoon of baking powder (check that it is gluten free if you are using that type of flour)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 100ml milk approx.
  • 10 gr sugar
  • Oil for greasing
  1. Add all the dry ingredients to a mixing bowl
  2. Break the egg into the mixture
  3. Add half the milk and mix with a whisk. You are looking for a smooth mixture rather like thick cream. Add more milk if necessary but it's best to start with it being a little stiff.
  4. Heat your frying pan until hot Test with a tiny bit of mixture if it sizzles and sets you are ready. Use a high heat
  5. It's important not to add too much oil to the pan. Dip a kitchen towel into a little oil then smear across the pan so you have a light film of grease
  6. Using a dessertspoon full of mixture try your first pancake It should run a little then quickly set. Look for the bubbles appearing This tells you it's time to turn over. Once turned over it will take just a few seconds to brown
  7. Using a spatula take out of the pan and set aside. Keep warm is you're eating them soon by placing on a clean tea towel and cover them
  8. Add no more than 4 pancakes at a time so you can ensure you can keep up with the cooking
  9. To serve: Let each guest spread butter and their favourite jam on the warm pancake. These keep quite well but are always best served warm. You can freeze them too.


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About Bread Baker Danielle

Danielle founded Edinburgh Foody in 2010. Having qualified as a professional bread baker in France in 2014, she is now on a new adventure in Gloucestershire. Check out severnbites.com Look out for occasional posts for Edinburgh Foody

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