Monday, November 03, 2008

Favorite Things: Blueberry-Cornmeal Pancakes

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!

Cornmeal-Blueberry 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
Cooking spray

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.


Peabody said...

These look wonderful.

Cymbaline said...

wow, what a delicous idea!

Anonymous said...

Your site is just one in a long line of sites that I regularly read that has succumbed to "give-aways". In my mind this equates to you're not going to post about the things that I visit your site to read. SIGH. Unless I missed something, you only had one recipe/food entry for the entire month of October.

Hopefully this was only a one month experiment. Please return to recipes. Otherwise, I have no choise but to move on. That would be sad.

Mark Scarbrough said...

Make this recipe this morning. Lovely. It was the perfect thing to my post-election blahs. Oh, I'm thrilled with the results--except that California thing--but now I find myself trolling political blogs all day to keep up the buzz. Anyway, these sure made the morning special--and I hardly need much for lunch. Thanks for a great recipe.

Julie said...

Peabody: I finally got a good enough pancake picture to finally post these.
Cymbaline: Thanks, give them a try.
Anonymous: glad to hear how you feel. I have a question: when I write about a cookbook, would it help to include a recipe from the cookbook? I personally like reading cookbook reviews, and if I'm giving readers a chance to get something out of it, I think of it as a win-win. I'm glad you like my recipes, but when I don't have something new to share, I feel it's better to offer other types of cooking content than not post at all. I loved all the comments I got in the form of entries too. Thanks for commenting here.
Mark: thanks for letting me know how it turned out! I still addicted to election news...

Geoff said...

Great recipe, made them this morning and they were fantastic. I didn't have buttermilk and didn't care to take a trip to the store so I substituted 1.75 cups of soured milk (1 cup milk with 1 tbs white vinegar) and it came out fantastic.

Anonymous said...

these are delicious..made them camping for 12 people and they were a hit

Julie said...

Yes! Thanks for the review...if you can make these camping, then anyone can:)