Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blueberry Pancakes

Stack of Blueberry Pancakes with extra Blueberries
Blueberries on Blueberries

Recipe by Robin and The Boston Cooking School Cookbook

Once while in a summer program at the Yale Forestry Camp in Great Mountain Forest, a friend and I spontaneously decided to make blueberry pancakes. Rather than planning this at camp, we made this decision on a “free morning” hike when we saw lots of scrubby blueberry plants on a sunny slope. We had no idea how many berries to gather. Because the wild berries were so small, we thought we’d probably need a lot.

3 Bowls of Pancake ingredients with Whisk
Wet & Dry Ingredients Plus Blueberries
Anyone who has gathered wild blueberries knows that it takes forever, because of their small size and because it’s hard to resist eating them. After more than two hours of squatting on the slope, we returned to camp in mid-afternoon, stiff and sunburned but loaded to the max with berries.  We’d only stopped picking because we couldn’t figure out how to carry any more.

Of course, we had way too many blueberries. Who knew that pancakes for two only required a cup or less? Or that so much time had passed that other students would have eaten lunch already? Long into the evening, we were offering other students berries from my Sierra cup, while forcing ourselves to eat even more. Wild blueberries are too good to waste!

Blueberry Pancake with Big Bubbles
Pancake is Ready to Flip
This recipe is adapted from the apple pancakes that my mom used to make, which were in turn adapted from her 1945 edition of The Boston Cooking School Cookbook by Fannie Merritt Farmer.  Because I wanted my blueberry pancakes to be thicker and fluffier than Mom’s apple pancakes, I added an extra teaspoon of baking powder. I also reduced the sugar and oil by half. Whereas I preferred melted butter in the fall season apple pancakes, I opted for the lighter walnut oil for the summery blueberry pancakes. You can readjust any of these parameters as you see fit. I also used soymilk instead of cow’s milk. If you use cow’s milk I recommend adding another ½ tbsp. of sugar.

Four Blueberry Pancakes on Griddle
A Bit of Americana
I’ve recently learned that canola oil is frequently made from genetically engineered sources (GMOs), so I’ve stopped using it. Avoid canola oil that is not organic or labeled non-GMO. I used peanut oil to cook the pancakes, and it was superb.

This recipe is even better made with wild blueberries. Because of their small size (more berries per pancake) and intense taste, you can reduce their quantity to as little as ½ cup. Next time I’m in my favorite east coast blueberry patch—revealed to me by a local who swore me to secrecy—I’m going to try that.

Stack of Blueberry Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
Adding Patriotic Flair with Strawberries
Blueberry Pancakes
makes about 10

1 ½ cups flour, sifted
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1 ¼ cup soymilk, at room temperature
1 tbsp. walnut oil, or melted butter
1 cup blueberries
1 – 2 tbsp. organic canola, peanut, or other high-temp cooking oil
Blueberries for garnish
Butter and maple syrup for topping

Sift together dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Set aside.

Beat egg until light. Beat milk into egg. Beat in walnut oil.

Start heating griddle or electric frying pan (350 degrees).

Mix together wet and dry ingredients, stirring vigorously. Do not overbeat, lumps do no harm. Batter should be thin enough to pour.

Fold in blueberries.

Add about 1 tbsp. peanut or other high-temp cooking oil to the frying pan, and distribute evenly—I mop it around with a paper towel. (Fannie Farmer recommends greasing with bacon, or rubbing with a cut turnip!)

Drop or pour batter onto frying pan—I use a ¼ cup measure, which makes 4 cakes that fill my electric frying pan perfectly. Small bubbles will form in the pancake, followed by large bubbles. When you see large bubbles covering the surface, lift pancake with turner to see if under surface is lightly browned. If so, flip over and brown on other side. Remove to platter.

Continue to make batches of 4 pancakes (or whatever number fits in your pan). Add a little oil for each new batch. (I swish the oiled paper towel over the griddle surface between batches.)

Serve pancakes with traditional butter and maple syrup and additional blueberries.  Or garnish with sliced strawberries and blueberries and top with yogurt and strawberry syrup (recipe tomorrow) for a red, white, and blue treat.

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