Spelt-Strawberry Pancakes

My interest in spelt flour I can attribute, and gratefully so, to my sister-in-law Emily. I’d not heard of it before she went gluten-free, and while it is not without gluten it does contain a bit less of it thus making it suitable for those who might have a gluten intolerance rather than full celiac disease. For the rest of us it’s simply a wonderful and nutritious addition to baked goods. I like to incorporate spelt flour into a delicious and hearty loaf from Amy Chaplin’s brilliant cookbook At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen, tuck it into cookies, fold it into cakes, swap out half the all-purpose flour in my favorite muffin recipe. To appease my recent pancake penchant I rather unsurprisingly alighted upon the idea of making a batch using spelt flour, maple syrup and strawberries.

I love spelt because it’s a whole grain and I am utterly and unapologetically partial to whole grains. I also love its flavor — slightly nutty, slightly sweet and with a milder flavor than whole wheat flour. Including it in pancakes makes for a lighter and fluffier crumb that’s gently bound together with just one egg and a little coconut oil.

After two years spent living North Africa and now the Middle East I’ve gotten into the habit of always keeping a bottle of what we Westerners would call buttermilk (laban in Saudia Arabia, leben in Morocco) and pancakes just aren’t right without its addition. For this version, I opted to chop a handful of strawberries and stir them into the batter instead of piling them on top of the stack in a nod to the cornmeal pancake recipe I developed two years ago.

I made up two platefuls of pancakes and served them alongside banana-almond milk shakes (omit the dates) for a quick weekday breakfast. They’re on the agenda again for this Friday, when we can enjoy them at a more leisurely pace along with extra cups of coffee.

nicole spiridakis © copyright 2023