Monday, August 8, 2011

Blueberry buttermilk pancakes

Against-all-odds, it was the perfect weekend; we had the most unbelievable, sweep-me-off-my-feet kind of trip to beautiful and utterly romantic Carmel-by-the-Sea. Imagine a white sand beach dotted with glowing fires and bathed in silvery moonlight and the sound of waves crashing in the night. Bliss (even if you have to work on the weekend).

What could make a perfect weekend even more memorable than light, fluffy and delightfully sweet and tangy buttermilk pancakes dotted with fresh blueberries. I will be the first to say that I prefer brunch to be savory over sweet, but there is just something magical about these buttermilk pancakes. And if you have leftover buttermilk, whip up a batch of these incredible buttermilk biscuits (warning: you may fight over who gets the last one).

Yes I grew up thinking biscuits and pancakes were made from a box and only ever ate pancakes at IHOP in college. But then in grad school, I had the most amazing buttermilk pancakes at the Hyde Park institution, Original Pancake House; my usual order of a Southwestern skillet with extra salsa came with a side of delicious, fluffy buttermilk pancakes which of course meant that I couldn't eat the rest of the day.

The key to making light and fluffy as opposed to dense pancakes is to lightly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and leave medium sized lumps in the batter. To avoid burnt or under cooked pancakes, keep the skillet on medium-low heat and avoid letting it get too hot. And please, oh please, use butter not Pam and not oil! My last tip: heat the oven to 175 degrees, and as you finish each pancake, keep it warm in the oven until ready to serve.

To serve, I dusted the pancake stack with powdered sugar and passed maple syrup at the table. Happiness!

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes (Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle

Heat the oven to 175 degrees. 

Heat a griddle or cast iron skillet over medium low heat. In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; lightly whisk to barely combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

Test the griddle or skillet by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter onto griddle. Wipe off excess.

Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter. Grab a handful of blueberries and press into the top of the pancake. When pancakes have a lot of bubbles on the top surface and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. If a little batter oozes out, push it back in with your spatula; if a blueberry (or two) rolls out, push it back under too. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven. Serve warm.

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