These are my favorite pancakes. While plain-jane buttermilk pancakes are okay, I really love them with just about any embellishment--fruit, whole grains, ricotta, citrus. But these are the absolute best. The recipe is simple, with buttermilk, stone ground cornmeal, whole wheat flour, lemon zest and a smattering of blueberries. Maple syrup is a must.
Like I said, this is a simple recipe. It's your basic buttermilk pancake formula, so to make sure they're as exceptional as they should be, use good stone ground cornmeal, like Bob's Red Mill. The medium grind is just right (this is the stuff I use for cornbread and biscuits, even cake, so buy a bag--it's versatile). Also use buttermilk rather than regular milk or milk soured with lemon juice. The buttermilk has a unique consistency and makes these pancakes, moist, tender and light, not heavy and dense.
Yet another great thing is that you can use frozen blueberries that have been thawed and patted dry. Of course you can use fresh ones too, but I love making these any time of year. Those are all the tips I can possibly offer--the rest is easy!
I did celebrate my birthday last weekend, by the way, but I decided to forgo a big, gooey cake and save myself for next weekend. We're going to celebrate my 30th with a little trip to New York City and do some serious festing. Skipping the cake worked out well because that left room for pancakes!
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated magazine
I prefer medium ground cornmeal for these pancakes. Whole wheat pastry flour helps with their light texture, but white whole wheat or all-purpose also work well. You can use fresh blueberries when they're in season.
Makes about 16 4-inch pancakes
2 cups frozen blueberries
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 cup stone ground cornmeal (132 g)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (120 g)
2 Tbs. sugar or 3 packs Splenda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg
Zest of 1 small lemon
2 cups buttermilk
Rinse the blueberries in a colander to help them thaw. Spread on a paper towel, pat dry, and set aside to finish drying.
Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, lemon zest and buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until moistened.
Preheat a large skillet on medium-low to medium heat. Coat generously with cooking spray. Pour 1/4-cup portions of batter into skillet, spreading slightly if needed. Dot pancakes with blueberries. Cook until bubbles begin to appear in batter and bottoms of pancakes are golden brown. Flip and cook until opposite sides are golden and pancakes are cooked through. Coat with additional cooking spray for each batch. Serve right away with maple syrup.