Healthy Sweet Potato Pancakes with Poached Pear & Spiced Brown Sugar Syrup
These irresistible healthy pancakes are sweetened naturally with sweet potato! They can be 100% dairy-free and refined sugar-free if you use oil to grease the pan instead of butter, and omit the brown sugar syrup. The poached pear and spiced brown sugar syrup adds a luxurious touch to this delicious brunch dish, however, to make it healthier, add a dollop of coconut yoghurt and some of your favourite fruits.
If there’s one thing I’ve been craving most during lockdown, it’s catching up with friends on a Saturday morning over a stack of fancy cafe pancakes! This idea came to me after receiving a box of gorgeous produce from the wonderful people at The Good Bunch, which contained wayyyy more fruit and veg than I’d ever usually have in my household in one go! I knew I had to come up with some creative ways to use it all…
The pancakes themselves are naturally sweetened with sweet potato, making them 100% refined sugar-free and dairy-free! At first, I wanted to keep this recipe super clean, but I had some lovely beurre bosc pears lying around and knew this flavour combination would be just perfect. They’re definitely optional if you’d like to keep things on the healthier side, BUT the pears add such a special touch and the poaching liquid becomes the most heavenly spiced brown sugar syrup to drizzle all over (what’s pancakes without syrup?!)
WHY POACHED PEARS?
I love the addition of dreamy, delicious poached pears in this healthy pancakes recipe because you get two elements in one! After the pears are removed, the poaching liquid is reduced further to create a divine syrup full of rich molasses flavour, vanilla bean, cinnamon and nutmeg! I recommend using dark brown sugar for this purpose but light brown will work just fine too. I used vanilla extract with seeds and ground cinnamon, however, these can be replaced easily with 1 x vanilla bean pod and 2 x cinnamon sticks!
HOW-TO MAKE SWEET POTATO MASH (MICROWAVE METHOD)
I’ve recommended a super easy microwave method to prepare the sweet potato for our healthy pancakes! However, if steaming or roasting is your preference, that’ll work just fine too 🙂
What You’ll Need:
- 1 small sweet potato
- 1 microwave-safe dinner plate
- 1 small bowl full of water – small enough that it’ll fit on the dinner plate alongside the sweet potato, but not too tiny!
- Wash and scrub the sweet potato and pat dry.
- Prick the sweet potato all over with a fork (Important! This ensures the sweet potato doesn’t explode in your microwave!)
- Place the sweet potato on the dinner plate alongside the full bowl of water. This helps to steam the sweet potato.
- Microwave on high for 7 minutes.
- Remove the sweet potato from the microwave – It should still feel quite hard! If it is quite soft all over, reduce microwave time by a couple of minutes in Step 7.
- Flip the sweet potato – you should notice the other side is a lot softer.
- Microwave again on high for 7 minutes (make sure there is still water in the bowl), or until it is completely soft and you can pierce it easy with a fork.
- Remove the sweet potato from the microwave and use a knife to split the skin open from top to tail.
- Scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork. This recipe does not need the sweet potato to be completely smooth and pureed (unless this is your preference!)
Poached Pears & Syrup
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup (220g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 4 beurre bosc pears, peeled
- 1 small sweet potato, cooked and mashed
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp butter or oil (to grease pan)
- 1/4 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
- Combine water, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add the pears and cover. Cook, turning the pears every 5 minutes, for 15-18 minutes or until the pears are tender.
- Remove from heat and let the pears cool in the brown sugar syrup. Continue to turn them occasionally then, once cool, transfer the pears to a plate.
- While the pears are cooling, prepare the sweet potato mash (step-by-step instructions above!)
- Return the syrup to medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for approximately 10 minutes (the liquid will reduce by about half). Set aside to cool once again.
- While the syrup is reducing, mix together the mashed sweet potato, eggs, coconut oil, almond milk and maple syrup in a large bowl (by hand or with an electric mixer).
- Add the lemon juice, baking powder and cinnamon. Sift in the flour and mix by hand until just combined.
- Melt butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Once hot, wipe out excess butter with a paper towel and reduce heat to low-medium.
- Pour half cupfuls of batter into the pan. Cook for 4 minutes or until small bubbles start to appear on the surface of the batter. Slide a spatula underneath, flip and cook for a further 2 minutes on the other side. Pancakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with some moist crumbs.
- Serve pancakes with poached pears, spiced brown sugar syrup and chopped almonds.
- Sprinkle peeled pears with a little lemon juice to prevent them from oxidizing before poaching.
- Many varieties of pears work well for poaching. Just make sure they are not too ripe and soft as they will turn mushy!
- Regular milk and other dairy-free milk options will work in this recipe also.
- Leftover syrup can be refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Pour over ice cream for a quick and delicious dessert.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 706Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 410mgCarbohydrates: 106gFiber: 6gSugar: 48gProtein: 12g
This nutritional data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 5/3/2020 and should be used as a guide only.