Sticky caramelised star anise pineapple on crispy pancakes

Sticky caramelised star anise pineapple on crispy pancakes

Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast
Emma Lee

Hot sticky pineapple, crisp pancakes, cold cream and a hint of spice. Lovely. These are inspired by a very typical Indian dessert pancake, made in the cold months, that is deep-fried, then glazed in a sugar syrup and eaten with sweetened thickened milk. This is my quicker and easier version and works beautifully. Unfortunately the pancakes cannot be made in advance, but they don’t take long to cook (the batter can be ready to go) and it all comes together quite quickly.


Quantity Ingredient

For the pineapple

Quantity Ingredient
3 tablespoons caster sugar
4 x 1 cm-thick rings pineapple, skin, eyes and core removed
6 star anise
2-3 small knobs unsalted butter
150g creme fraiche
3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, lightly toasted until golden

For the crispy pancakes

Quantity Ingredient
70g plain flour, sifted
55g caster sugar
1 brown cardamom pod, seeds pounded in a mortar and pestle
pinch salt
2 tablespoons ground almonds
30g unsalted butter, melted
100-120ml whole milk
4 tablespoons ghee, for frying
or 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying


  1. Place the sugar in a large frying pan and allow to melt and caramelise until golden. Add 4 tablespoons of boiling water; it will bubble and seize but keep stirring and the caramel will melt back in. Add the pineapple and star anise and cook over a moderate flame, turning the pineapple in the caramel often and moving around the pan if there are obvious hot spots. Once the fruit is lightly golden and glazed, which takes four to five minutes, add two small knobs of butter and shake them in. You can add a spoon of hot water at any time if the caramel looks like it is becoming too dark. Keep cooking the pineapple, turning in the sticky caramel, until the rings have a lovely golden colour and are well glazed. Set aside. These can be made in advance and reheated when you are ready to eat; I add the extra knob of butter as I do so.
  2. Make the pancakes. Mix together the flour, sugar, cardamom, salt and ground almonds. Add the butter and milk and whisk until homogeneous; it should have the consistency of thick cream.
  3. Heat half the ghee in a large non-stick frying pan until quite hot and drop around 1½–2 tablespoons of batter in for each pancake. You should be able to make three at a time, each about 10 cm in diameter (help them spread with a spoon). Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until golden on both sides and slightly darker at the edges, a matter of one or two minutes each side. Lift out with a slotted spatula and place on kitchen paper to drain any excess ghee. Repeat with the second batch.
  4. Place a pancake on each plate and cover with the shards of pineapple. Top with a spoon of crème fraîche and a star anise from the pan and sprinkle over the toasted coconut. Serve immediately, drizzling with any of the pineappley, caramelly juices from the pan.
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