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Arabian Pancakes with Orange-Flower Syrup

Enjoy Nigella Lawson's famous Arabian Pancakes with Orange-Flower Syrup from her Nigella Summer cookbook. A perfect, light dessert to follow a Middle-Eastern-style dinner.

From the book

Nigella Lawson


Don’t think breakfast pancakes, but rather a dreamy, light, aromatic and sweet pudding, slicked with orange-flower syrup and nubbled with pistachios, to go after a vaguely Middle-Eastern dinner eaten languorously outside in the garden on a warm summer evening.

The syrup itself can be made in advance and just stored in a jar in the fridge, just as long as you remember to get it back to room temperature before you pour it over the cardamom-scented pancakes. If you forget, just fill a bowl or pan with hot water from the kettle and stand the jar in it until it returns to flowing form. There is something about the yoghurt in the pancake batter that makes them incredibly light. As for the almond oil in them, you should find this easily in the supermarket now, but if you can’t, then use cooled, melted butter in its place. And you don’t have to get busy at the stove at the very end of dinner to make these. Just cook them before you sit down at table, place them on a large baking sheet or ovenproof plate, tent with foil and keep them warm in a low oven (preheated to 120°C/gas mark ½) until you want to eat them.

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For the orange flower syrup:
225g caster sugar
150ml water
juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp orange-flower water
For the pancakes:
150g plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch ground cardamom
3 tbsp Greek yoghurt or labneh
approx. 125ml semi-skimmed milk
1 large egg
50ml almond oil (or 50g butter, melted and cooled)
To serve:
1–2 handfuls shelled pistachio nuts, chopped

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To make the syrup, bring the sugar and water gradually to the boil in a saucepan, swilling the pan to help the sugar dissolve, but on no account stirring it. Once it’s boiling, pour in the lemon juice and then turn down the heat a little and simmer the syrup for about 10-15 minutes until it coats the back of a spoon. Add the orange-flower water and simmer for another 5 minutes, then cool the syrup and chill in the fridge. 

To make the pancakes, measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl then spoon the yoghurt into a measuring jug and, stirring with a fork, pour in the milk until you hit the 250ml mark. If you need to, add a little more than the 125ml specified to do so. Whisk in the egg and then the almond oil, then stir this jugful of wet ingredients into the bowlful of dry ones. Almost immediately the mixture will stiffen into a thick, fluffy batter.

Heat a dry griddle and when it is hot add about 2 tablespoons’ worth of batter for each pancake. The mixture is quite thick, so you will need to encourage the pancakes into a round shape with the back of the spoon before the batter sets (they will be roughly 7cm in diameter). When the pancakes begin to bubble a little on top, flip them over and cook the other side to a golden brown.

Keep the pancakes warm under foil as you finish cooking the rest of the batter; you shouldn’t need to sit them in the oven unless you’re cooking these before dinner (see above).

When you are ready to eat them, and boy will you be ready, drizzle with cold syrup and sprinkle over a handful or so of ridiculously green, splintered and chopped pistachios.

Makes approximately 20; serves 8–10.

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From the book: Nigella Summer

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