Sunday, December 20, 2009

Charlene's Kitchen in Philadelphia: Blueberry Pancakes

I love lazy Sunday mornings, sipping coffee, listening to the radio, and enjoying an unhurried breakfast. Today was a perfect day for hot pancakes, especially when we (and the dog) looked outside at literally two feet of snow.

My partner, Jim, and I have tried many store-bought pancake mixes, always in search of the perfect texture and taste without the trouble of measuring a list of ingredients. Premixed packages requiring only the addition of milk or water are certainly convenient, but we got tired of rubbery, flat, bland pancakes and now make them from scratch. Buttermilk has a decent shelf life, so we've started keeping it in the fridge for mornings just like today (or evenings when we have little else in the refrigerator).

The recipe we use is from the trustworthy chefs of America's Test Kitchen. I frequently rely on their recipes from the Cook's Illustrated series, not only because they are almost always fool-proof, but they also provide a lot of useful information about food science and techniques and tools. For example, we might know it's bad to overmix pancake batter, but America's Test Kitchen will explain why. Here is the recipe for "Light and Fluffy Pancakes" from The New Best Recipe, by the Editors of Cook's Illustrated (Brookline, Mass., 2004), page 648-9.

1 Tb. juice from 1 lemon*
2 C. milk*
2 C. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tb. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg
3 Tb. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1-2 tsp. vegetable oil

*or use 2 C. buttermilk

Whisk lemon juice and milk together, and set aside to let thicken.
Whisk dry ingredients together.
Whisk egg and melted butter into milk.
Add milk to dry ingredients and whisk gently until just combined. Do not overmix.
Heat pan or griddle over medium heat; add 1 tsp. oil and coat pan evenly.
Pour 1/4 C. batter onto pan, then add blueberries.
Cook until large bubbles appear, about 2 minutes.
Flip and cook another 1 1/2-2 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve immediately or keep warm in 200-degree oven, uncovered on a cookie rack.

This recipe gives two options for the milk: buttermilk or milk mixed with a small amount of lemon juice as a means of substituting for the tangy taste of buttermilk. We've tried both versions. I prefer the milk/lemon juice combo and Jim favors the buttermilk version. I feel that the milk/lemon juice version is a touch lighter and fluffier and the cakes maintain their texture longer. But both varieties are excellent.

We added frozen wild blueberries (although in summer we'd use fresh) after the batter was dropped in the pan. Despite rinsing the frozen berries under water for a few minutes, some purple streaks still big deal.

And the flip!

Jim gets all the credit here for being in charge of the heat.

With sweet maple syrup and a side of bacon or other breakfast meat, homemade blueberry pancakes are simple and satisfying!


1 comment:

  1. looks great Charlene - pefect for a snowy day, and I love your photos.


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