Chai Pancakes with Black Tea-Poached Plums
For spice-infused milk: In a small saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, combine the milk, ground ginger, cinnamon sticks, ground nutmeg, and star anise. Using a mortar and pestle, roughly crush the cloves, cardamom pods, and black peppercorns. Add to the milk. Over medium high heat, bring the milk to a simmer, cover with lid, remove from heat, and let steep and cool, about 10 minutes. Strain.
For black tea-poached plums: Cut the plums in half and remove the seeds. If you would like to remove the skins, lightly score the plum skin to make them easier to remove after poaching. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine the tea leaves, vanilla bean, and water and bring to a boil with the lid on. Poach the plums in the tea for 3-5 minutes until fork-tender, then remove from the poaching liquid.
For pancakes: Combine spice-infused milk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk thoroughly. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix until smooth. Batter should be thick and fluffy, but if it is too thick and difficult to stir, thin it with a tiny dash of milk. Oil lightly a medium hot skillet. Cook the pancakes slowly over medium heat, making sure that your skillet is always well-greased. Serve pancakes with poached plums. Makes 12-15 silver dollar pancakes