These fluffy Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes are infused with fragrant cardamom. Served with warm saffron honey and topped with a rose whipped cream.
With pancake day right around the corner I had to share my favourite way to serving up pancakes.
With my favourite flavours of course.
As much as I love pancakes, I rarely end up making them these days. So if there is an opportunity or reason to make them, you can most certainly believe I will be going all out.
There is often the crêpe vs pancake debate when it comes to pancake day. And honestly I’m always back and forth on that too. I love both equally.
But for this recipe I’m sticking to the more American style fluffy pancakes. With my favourite flavours running through it.
You can find these flavours running through many of my recipes on my website. They are my forever obsession.
Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes
These are your regular fluffy pancakes with a not so regular twist.
They’re infused with ground pistachios and cardamom which adds a nutty warmth to the pancakes. These two flavours go hand in hand and complement each other beautifully.
The pistachio and cardamom pancakes are then topped with a warm saffron honey. This is essentially just honey that’s been warmed with saffron.
By doing so, it slowly infuses into a beautifully floral and fragrant honey. Pouring warm honey over the pancakes creates a sticky, syrupy finish that just screams out comfort.
Finally, the pancakes are topped with a rose whipped cream and more ground pistachios. This adds another floral note which works with all the other flavours perfectly.
But also it’s whipped cream, everything deserved whipped cream.
What is Pistachio Kulfi?
Kulfi is a traditional Indian ice cream that’s commonly made with milk, sugar, nuts and cardamom. The milk is often simmered for a long period of time to thicken it and to evaporate some of the liquid, in turn leaving a high proportion of fat solids.
This allows for a very creamy, rich, and slightly more dense texture. Which is usually served straight out of a kulfi mould.
Kulfi is an immensely popular dessert and it also encompasses a huge variety of flavours. Think of it as the Indian equivalent to gelato, and similarly it is a rather broad term.
Some of these varieties include:
- Mango kulfi
- Malai kulfi
- Pistachio kulfi
- Strawberry kulfi
- Saffron and pistachio kulfi
- Coconut kulfi
But these Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes don’t have any ice cream?!
The pancakes encompass all the flavours of pistachio kulfi but just without the ice cream portion. However by all means you can go all out and serve these alongside pistachio kulfi.
Not everyone has access to a South Asian supermarket to buy pistachio kulfi. Nor do a lot of people have access to the equipment to make it from scratch.
And honestly I don’t think I’d expect anyone to put that much effort in for pancakes. I would, but I’m insanely extra and over the top when it comes to food.
So enjoy these pancakes and let the flavours give you all the kulfi vibes.
Pancakes vs Crepes
The debate that arises every year on pancake day. At least in my house.
We love both pancakes and crêpes which makes it hard to decide between them. I won’t lie, there have been several occasions where I’ve made both.
Simply to appease all (including myself). I like options.
By pancakes I’m referring to the Fluffy American Pancakes style of pancakes. They are spongey, almost cakey, yet still light. It’s the best texture!
They work great for heavier toppings and soaking up syrups or sauces. You can stack them up and tuck in on your own or share.
Crêpes originate from France and are a very thin style of pancake. They can also be served with a wide variety of fillings and then rolled up. They can also be served and flambéed with a sauce, like in Crêpes Suzette.
I’m a huge crêpes fan too. I love spreading lemon and sugar over them and folding them up. Or spreading over some dark chocolate and tahini. It’s delightful.
The crêpes are the lightest of the two, in my opinion, as they are so thin. They have the lightest bite and most subtle chew. I have my eggless/vegan crêpe recipe right here.
This is why I always struggle to choose between the two! But if you’re a fluffy pancake kind of person, then this recipe is absolutely for you!
Pistachio, Cardamom, Saffron, and Rose
My absolute soul flavours. And I use these everywhere I can.
I grew up on desserts filled with nuts, cardamom, and saffron. It’s used throughout many Indian desserts ranging from jalebi, to gulab jamun, to kheer, to kulfi and so many more.
The influence of saffron is said to have come from the Persian Empire which once colonised parts of India. Though it is also said that saffron had been cultivated in Kashmir well before this anyways.
Who knows? But I’m glad we have it!
Cardamom is native to South India and slowly made it’s way more north to be used in a plethora of dishes and desserts.
I can only imagine the pure excitement the individual who paired the two must have felt.
Rose was a flavour that took me time to grow into. For many years I found it overpowering and just too floral. It’s taken a while, but now I’m a huge fan.
*Providing* it’s used appropriately and balanced.
Why these flavours work so well
All of these flavours complement each other and have become quite the classic combination. They’re used throughout many Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern desserts for this reason.
Let’s take pistachio kulfi for example. And if you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know my absolute obsession with pistachio kulfi.
It’s an incredible ice cream flavoured with pistachio, cardamom, saffron and occasionally rose. This is the flavour profile we’re emulating here.
We’ve got nuttiness and warmth from the pistachio and the cardamom. The cardamom also exudes an almost minty-ness, but it works so well.
The saffron and rose add the floral notes which in my opinion are enhanced when used in desserts. The sweetness pairs with both really well.
I’ve chosen to use honey here as it complements all the above flavours. Honey can vary in its flavour hugely, from being smoky, floral, fruity, woody, nutty, or earthy. So make sure to use your favourite one here.
The secret to fluffy pancakes
If you want make your pancakes super fluffy the key is all in the batter.
Firstly, self raising flour in combination with baking powder always created the best results in my testing. Substituting the self raising flour with plain flour/all purpose flour and additional baking powder did also work well.
However the self raising flour method did have a slightly more favourable rise in comparison. I’ll include the substitute amounts later in the blogpost for those who would prefer to use plain flour/all purpose flour.
The second tip is to have a batter that is slightly thicker in consistency. This creates less outward spread when the pancakes hit the pan.
Less outward spread means more upward movement and therefore more rise.
What you’ll need
The full recipe can be found at the end of the blogpost
- Self raising flour – I’ll include the substitute measurements for plain flour/all purpose flour in the Q+A. But I do find self raising flour to create the best results
- Baking powder
- Unsalted pistachios
- Ground cardamom
- Vanilla bean paste – or extract/essence
- Honey – or maple syrup/golden syrup/agave for a vegan option
- Double cream – I believe this is sold as heavy or whipping cream in the US
- Rose water
- Icing sugar
How to make these Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes (photos)
Let’s start with the saffron honey
1) Place honey, saffron, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Place this on a low simmer until gently bubbling
2) Once at a gentle bubble, simmer on low for 5 minutes then take off the heat. It will continue to infuse
Let’s make the rose whipped cream next
1) Place double cream, vanilla, icing sugar and rose water into a large mixing bowl
2) Begin whisking until the cream thickens. Do not over whisk or it will start to split
3) Once the rose whipped cream is done, leave aside
Finally let’s make pistachio and cardamom pancakes
1) Place self raising flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and ground cardamom into a mixing bowl
2) Add in the melted butter and milk. Whisk till incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter has a few lumps!
3) Add ground pistachios to the pancake batter
4) Fold the batter until the pistachios are incorporated. The consistency should be relatively thick
5) I used an ice cream scooper to place equal amounts of batter on to a non stick pan. Cook on a medium-low heat and flip once browned on one side
6) Once browned on both sides, you’re done. These can be kept warm in the oven at 70’C for up to 15 minutes
How to make these Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes (video)
Frequently asked questions
How do I make these Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes vegan
Substitute the milk and butter in the pancakes for plant based alternatives. There are now plant based double cream alternatives available which supposedly whip up just like the dairy counterparts. I haven’t tried these myself so I can’t say how successful they are.
Substitute the honey for maple or golden syrup, or agave.
Can these pancakes be made gluten free?
Not something I’ve tried personally but quite a few users have made my Vegan Fluffy American Style Pancakes with Doves Farm gluten free flour blend successfully.
So I’d imagine that would probably work the same here.
Can the self raising flour be substituted with plain flour/all purpose flour?
Yes, it can but I do find that self raising flour generally still comes out on top. I’d still recommend self raising flour but it can be substituted if it’s not accessible.
To substitute for this recipe, mix together 220g plain/all purpose flour with 5g of baking powder (around 1+1/4 tsp). This will create the 225g of ‘self raising flour’ needed for this recipe. Bare in mind you will still need to add the additional 1+1/2 tsp of baking powder within the recipe.
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy cooking!
Pistachio Kulfi Pancakes
For the pancakes:
- 225 g self raising flour
- 40 g unsalted pistachios ground, plus extra for topping
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1+1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract/essence
- 2 tbsp butter melted
- 350 ml milk
For the saffron honey:
- 120 g honey around 5tbsp. Golden syrup/agave/maple syrup will also work
- Pinch saffron
- Pinch salt
For the rose whipped cream:
- 300 ml double cream
- 2 tsp rose water
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract/essence
- 1 tbsp icing sugar
- Ground unsalted pistachios
- Dried rose petals
For the saffron honey:
- Place the honey, saffron, and a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Place this on a low simmer until gently bubbling
- Once at a gentle bubble, simmer on low for 5 minutes then take off the heat. It will continue to infuse
For the rose whipped cream:
- Place the double cream, vanilla, icing sugar, and rose water into a large mixing bowl
- Begin whisking until the cream thickens to stiff peaks. Take care not to over whisk as this can cause the cream to split and become grainy
For the pancakes:
- Place the self raising flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and ground cardamom into a mixing bowl
- Melt the butter in the microwave in 10s increments, it won’t take long at all. Then add to the dry mix along with the milk. Whisk till the flour is just incorporated. A few lumps are absolutely fine
- Add the ground pistachios to the pancake batter and fold until the pistachios are evenly incorporated
- The batter should be relatively thick in order to make fluffy pancakes
- Place equal scoops of batter on to a pre-heated non stick pan over a medium-low heat and cook until golden brown, then flip and repeat. I like to use an ice cream scoop for this.
- The batter should spread slightly as soon as it’s on the pan, if this doesn’t happen it means the pancake batter is slightly too thick. Add 1-2 tbsp more milk and fold in
- A good indication of when to flip will be bubbles across the surface and the edges will appear matte
- I recommend briefly reheating the saffron honey when serving, followed by a generous scoop of the rose whipped cream, more ground pistachios, and a finishing touch of dried rose petals