Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pancakes - they ain't heavy, nor a bother

Sorry for the horrid pun title - I couldn't resist.

(btw, my forays into culinary weirdness will continue next week - I needed a break from these weird food combos I've been trying)

My hubby usually complains because I rarely make pancakes.  "Why" you ask..."Everyone loves pancakes".  Well, for one thing, they are HEAVY.  They lay like lead in your stomach.  Ugh.  The other thing is that merged household conflict.  My mom made great pancakes.  There were more along the Scandanavian idea of a pancake - light, buttery with crisp edges.  Hubby likes his made in a nonstick pan with no butter at all in the pan, because it doesn't give the pancakes that uniform golden color.  You know what I mean, like the kind you get at iHop.  Plus, he was a "short order cook" (as a kid on the boardwalk in Asbury Park for a single summer - yet this makes him an expert :-P)

 he always brings that up whenever I make: french toast, pancakes, or grilled cheese almost to the point of being insufferable because inevitably I am making them "wrong". However, when asked in a kind tone if HE would like to SHOW me how to make them "correctly", he passes. Every time.

Anyway, my mother -in -law was visiting for the weekend, and I had a plethora of blueberries fresh from my CSA pick up.  Blueberry pancakes sounded good, so I went to the fridge to see what else I had laying around - a lemon, some leftover buttermilk, and plenty of eggs, butter, and milk.  Perfect!

I love blueberries and lemon combo.  Scrumptious.  Yummy.  Light. Summer.  Tasty, and just about any other positive adjective you can think of. 

I found a recipe for buttermilk pancakes that I added my own twist to.  Thank you Emeril, for providing a great foundation. BAM!!!!!!!!

Buttermilk.  Such a misunderstood thing.  It's low fat (yay) and it tenderizes the gluten in flour, so you get a lighter product.  You can use it in biscuits, frosting, baked goods, and yes...PANCAKES.  Oh...and did I mention it stays "good" in your refrigerator for a long time? like...weeks?  So it gives you plenty of time to think of other yummy things to do with it - experiment, throw out the flops, and enjoy the successes.

"old fashioned" buttermilk is what's left of the cream after you churn the heck out of it and make butter.  The stuff you buy in the store is "cultured" buttermilk - they use a lactic acid starter, mix it with milk, and you get this relatively thickish golden low-fat stuff that has a tangy taste akin to sour cream or yogurt.   You can also make some in a pinch by adding a 1/4 cup of vinegar to a quart of milk, let it sit for a few minutes, then shake.   If you only need a cup, then it's 1 tbs of vinegar to 1 cup of milk.

So...this recipe is simple.  And I guarantee light pancakes that will float down to your stomach instead of dropping like a brick and remaining there for the rest of the morning. Printable recipe is HERE

You will need:

1 cup of buttermilk
1 cup of flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt (don't measure it, just shake a bit in there)
2 tbs. butter
1 egg
1-2 cups of blueberries tossed in a bit of flour.
1 tbs. grated lemon zest

First, melt the butter in a glass bowl in the microwave.  Add the buttermilk and egg to it, and whisk away til' combined.  Now, take the dry ingredients, dump them all into a sifter, and sift it over the liquid. Please don't omit this step - it takes all of 2 minutes, and will give you a lighter, fluffier pancake.  Your gut thanks you. 

Whisk gently til' combined, then stir in the zest and mix by hand (*note* - if you have lemon haters in your house, just omit the zest).  Gently fold in the blueberries and let sit for a few minutes while you heat up the griddle - Medium to medium-high is a good place to start. 

A trick to know whether or not the pan is hot enough, is to throw a couple of drops of cold water on it.  If they "dance" around - it's hot enough. BTW...this is the heat you want if you are in the "don't grease the griddle IHOP pancake style" camp.  If you are of the "What? no Buttah?! RIDIC!" camp, then read on.  For those that prefer their pancakes cooked with some butter, lower the heat to medium, medium low.  Be warned, the butter will brown, but it should not be smoking or black mmm...K?

Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the pan (4 usually fit in a large skillet) When little bubbles form and the edges are dry, prepare to flip.  Turn over (rebutter pan if you are a "buttery" nut) and brown the other side. 

Store in a warm oven (170 F) til ready to serve.  Makes about 12-14  1/4 cup pancakes, or you can make 4 giant ones - your choice.  Serves 3-4 depending on appetites, but these are so light, figure 3 :)  AND...the leftovers taste just as good at room temperature as they did right out of the pan - that is...if you HAVE any leftovers.

Make sure the people you are making the pancakes for like lemon.  It's not a strong flavor, it mingles well with the blueberries and the two compliment each other quite nicely.  However, if they "don't like lemon :-P", you make be stuck with leftovers...
which is not a bad thing...But you may find the leftovers mysteriously disappear a few hours later as you prepare to chow down on them for supper....

"oh...that pile of blueberry pancakes on the stove? Erm...I think I ate them - they're gone." 

"I think I ate them"?!! how can you not be sure? I thought you didn't like lemon?  Perhaps that smudge of blueberry on the corner of your mouth may jog your memory a bit? hmmm?

just sayin'.


  1. hahaha you're so cute mrs. tucker! and those look quite yummy. i'm a weirdo and don't like pancakes too much...but i like that crispy look they have. i don't like the doughy kind. yours look scrumptious.

    and lemon and blueberry?! sounds sooo good.

  2. Yeah, I never really cared for pancakes either - which is why I didn't make them - but this recipe is SO fast and SO easy, and they are yummy and light, soooo... :)