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Joanne MacDonald, Steam Mill, NS

 By Alain Bossé

Food photography by Steve Smith/VisionFire

Joanne MacDonald from Steam Mills, NS has been a long-time reader of Saltscapes but entered the contest for the first time this year. Her recipe for bacon pancakes with apple fig and pecan sauce wowed the judges; it had incredible flavour and was just decadent enough to cross over into a dessert category.

That’s something that wouldn’t surprise any of Joanne’s friends—while this particular recipe is savoury, baking is Joanne’s passion. When she first got married 25 years ago, she decided to give sweet baskets to all of her friends and family; the following year, the baskets and tins made their way back for refills. It’s a tradition that she’s carried on ever since—she starts baking in September and at the time of this interview in early December, she had filled two freezers with her baking!

Serves 4-6

Pancake Batter

2          cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour

      tbsp (22 mL) baking powder

      tsp (7 mL) baking soda

½         tsp (5 mL) salt

1          large egg

3          tbsp (45 mL) canola oil

¼          cup (50 mL) white sugar

1          tsp (5 mL) pure vanilla extract

¾         cup (175 mL) cooked maple-flavoured bacon bits (cook bacon until crisp then crumble)

2-4       cups (500 mL—1 L) buttermilk


Apple Fig Pecan Sauce

4          med Honey Crisp apples (peeled, cored, and diced into bite-size pieces)

½         cup (125 mL) dried figs (chopped into small pieces)

½         cup (125 mL) chopped pecan pieces

3          tbsp (45 mL) butter

3          tbsp (45 mL) brown sugar

1          cup (250 mL) maple syrup



In a large bowl, beat egg, oil, vanilla extract, and sugar until well mixed. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Gradually beat flour mixture with egg mixture, adding in buttermilk until batter is well incorporated. Add just enough buttermilk to batter until it’s thick but pourable. Stir in bacon bits.

Preheat a non-stick griddle on med-high heat. Spoon 1/3 cup (75 mL) batter onto griddle for each pancake. When bubbles start to form on top of pancakes, flip them over. Cook approx. 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat one more time. Makes approx. 12 pancakes.  Keep pancakes on a plate in a warm area until ready to serve.

Apple Fig Pecan Sauce:

Preheat a large fry pan on medium heat. Melt butter and stir in brown sugar until mixture starts to bubble. Add apples, stir occasionally for 7-9 minutes until apples are softened. Add in figs and maple syrup. Occasionally stir for an additional 6-7 minutes until bubbly hot. Stir in chopped pecans. Set aside. Place 3 pancakes each on four plates and top with sauce. Optional: serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream if desired. Enjoy!


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