The Sesame pancake (Low carb, low sugar)

By Naomi Pyburn

It’s that time of year again. Wondering what to give up (or take up) for Lent is always a struggle for me. Should I try a classic — chocolate, sweet things, bread? Or shoot for something new like taking up knitting or daily exercise? Something tells me that wouldn’t last long.

But we can leave all that for now. Because it’s pancake day, and there are more important things to worry about.

I’ve always loved pancakes. Maybe it’s the freedom of toppings — Nutella, syrup, strawberries, cream, choc chips, or just straight lemon and sugar? Or go savoury and roll up your favourite meal? Almost anything is good in a pancake.

But pancake day for some can be streaked with guilt over breaking good habits ‘just for one day’. That’s why I decided to test out whipping up some low sugar, low carb pancakes.

I must confess, my track record with the low carb pancake is not good. In the past, I’ve experimented with different ratios of coconut flour, almond flour and flavoured protein powder, trying to achieve something close to fluffy American-style pancakes, but sadly all my attempts fell flat. (I hope you like pancake-related puns.) Like disgusting, throw-it-in-the-bin-quick, spit-it-out, kind of flat. Disaster zone.

I had almost given up on pancakes altogether. But, flip, I thought I’d give it one last shot.

I give you…The Sesame Pancake.

Sesame, you say? That sounds weird. Well, it is a bit different.

Previously, I’d always combined flours and powders, but for this batch I tried simply subbing in sesame flour and xylitol to replace the flour and sugar in a normal drop pancake recipe.

Here are the numbers:

125g sesame flour

a generous tablespoon of xylitol

1 egg, swizzled with a fork

a tablespoon-ish of melted butter

150ml whole milk

1 and a 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

The stars of today’s show.

Usual pancake mix procedure. Measure out the dry ingredients and mix with fork. Make a little well and add the butter and egg. Add the milk in as slowly as you feel is right, as you mix it up into a thick batter (these are drop pancakes, remember, not crepes). Get a pan nice and hot, and use some sort of oil in there — I used coconut oil because it doesn’t burn as much as butter, but other oils are good too.

Spoon the batter onto the hot pan carefully — I used a normal dessert spoon and ‘dropped’ the mixture down through the tip of the spoon. It should only take a minute or so on each side if the pan is at the right temperature, so adjust it if they are taking ages/burning instantly. Keep flipping gently until you have a lovely stack.

Just keep flipping, just keep flipping…

I used Sukrin’s fine sesame flour and Total Sweet xylitol and, I have to say, I have no complaints. The flour is pretty similar in texture to its wheaty equivalent, and mixed well into the batter. In the pan, they behaved very well: good consistency, didn’t run around the pan, browned nicely with a velvety texture, rose and bubbled beautifully. They didn’t fall when stacked, they held their shape and were bouncy to the touch. I’m quite pleased with the overall look.

The Stack in all its glory. Please excuse the intrusion of my indoor hobby. I like to puzzle.

Now for the all-important taste test.

First, I tried them on their own with a little butter to get a sense of the unadulterated flavour. I admit, they tasted a bit strange to begin with — it was hard to block out the feeling that you were eating tahini for pudding. But, I got used to it quite quickly — the fluffy texture and good colour helped a lot. (Have you tried grey, gooey pancakes? I have.)

After I cracked open some strawberry jam (don’t worry, sugar free jam) they really took off, and I woolfed down my plate, with no further questions asked. I’d only ever made my own xylitol jam once before, never had store-bought, but I have to say, Stute’s strawberry jam is absolutely delicious. It tastes just like normal jam, maybe even a bit fruitier, and you feel really good about yourself because it wasn’t made with a mountain of sugar.

All in all, though it has quite a strong nutty taste, I would definitely make these pancakes again and be open to new flour experiments. They were super quick, easy, fluffy and tasty.

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