Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heredity and Pancake Problems

Last week while doing a bit of spring cleaning I came across a magazine I have previously raved about. The December 09/January 10 issue of Fine Cooking provided me with much inspiration through winter and on a chilly spring evening it came in handy again.

Doug doesn't like breakfast for dinner which happens to be a favorite of the kids and I. So when Doug is away over dinner, usually it's breakfast. We had all been craving really great pancakes and I took the opportunity to try FC's Buttermilk Pancakes.

Whisk together buttermilk and eggs. I used some I picked up at the grocery store. If you have access to some really wonderful buttermilk from a small dairy, I think that would make this recipe even better. Commercially produced buttermilk isn't really what buttermilk used to be but wouldn't it be great to find an artisnal one? I wonder if such a thing even exists?

Whisk the dry ingredients well to be sure that leavening is evenly distributed. Pour the buttermilk and well beaten eggs into the dry ingredients and finish with melted butter.

The key to tender, fluffy pancakes is not over stirring the batter. Too much stirring develops the gluten and the result is chewy pancakes ala greasy spoon.

I have a tendency to heat my griddle over medium heat as directed in most recipes. The thing I forget, EVERY TIME, is that medium heat on my stove is too high. Without exception I over heat the griddle and make blackened pancakes with lovely raw centers. In the midst of this problem, yet again, I recalled a story about my Grandma. Grandma was apparently not a great pancake maker. During one particularly trying session the frustration reached it's peak and a pancake flew. The flying pancake, perhaps by luck, hit the top of the swinging "shutters" that separated her tiny kitchen from the dining room. There it hung as and Grandma regrouped. Pancake perfection must skip a generation. I was flinging them into the trash can from across the room.

I pulled a few of last year's blueberries from the freezer and tossed them into a pan with a bit of sugar and a splash of water. A few draws across a fresh lemon with my microplane and an easy blueberry sauce was bubbling away on the stove.

Finally, we had beautiful cakes with sweet butter, blueberry sauce and real maple syrup. They were pancakes I had ever eaten. Henry's squeals of "they're so fluffy" made them that much better.

Buttermilk Pancakes

Fine Cooking December 09/January 10

3 T. melted butter
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 granulated sugar
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
vegetable oil for the griddle
butter and pure maple syrup for serving

Heat the oven to 200 degrees. Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave or small saucepan on the stove and set aside to cool briefly.

IN a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk and eggs. P;our the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled melted butter and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat the griddle.

Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat (or set an electric skillet to 375 degrees) until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the griddle. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake, spacing them about 1" apart. Let cook, undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look dry, 1-2 minutes. check the underside of each pancake to make sure it's nicely browned; then flip. Cook until the second side is necely browned, about 1 minute more. TGransfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.


Georgine said...

On James Street, we love breakfast for dinner!!! Waffles, pancakes and bacon oh my. We usually use Flappin' Jack from William Sonoma - We are lazy but it is Delicious!!!

Anonymous said...

I haven't used a box pancake mix in years. Love my standard betty crocker recipe, but will give this one a shot as well. Buttermilk makes all breakfast cakes (waffles, etc) better!