One of the things I cherish most about The Artist is that he often gets up early on the weekends and makes us breakfast. I have always loved breakfast and having it made for me makes it even more special. Waking up to the smell of it cooking and knowing that I don’t have to get out of bed puts the biggest smile on my face!
Living with a cook and avid foodie, he has to listen to me go on and on about this technique or that ingredient. He watches food programs with me and has become quite a foodie himself over the years. While he has a good repertoire of breakfast dishes, one of his favorites to make is pancakes and waffles. Recently he surprised me with exquisitely made blueberry pancakes. He had been paying close attention while we watched a chef prepare them and wanted to try them for himself.
Rather than mixing the blueberries into the mix (and risk winding up with green batter), the trick is to mix up plain batter and pour it onto a heated, buttered griddle. When the pancakes have firmed up around the edges, scatter blueberries across the surface of each pancake. Give them a second before flipping them. The blueberries will stay suspended in the batter and will be perfectly cooked by the time the pancake is done. If you are using frozen berries, you don’t even need to thaw them first!
I know I am going to get some push back on the next statement, but I recommend you use frozen blueberries. I know, I am the advocate for fresh and local but out here in California, as good as our blueberries are, they just don’t compare to Wild Maine blueberries. And with the advances in freezing technology, the fruit is picked at its peak, frozen within hours of picking and is in near perfect condition when you buy it. Plus, you can enjoy them all year long. That is something I can most certainly get behind, LOL!
Using the frozen berries to make the Blueberry Maple Syrup is also the easiest way to go. After being frozen, they have a little extra moisture in them which translates to extremely juicy berries that add their amazing flavor to the maple syrup. Use the back of a spoon or an old-fashioned potato masher to extract the juice and infuse it in the syrup. This takes only a couple of minutes and your guests will think you slaved over the stove forever on their behalf. Don’t you just love easy recipes that taste like they took a lot of work!
Enjoy these wonderful pancakes on special occasions or if you are lucky like I am, whenever your loved ones feel like making them for you. Celebrate Life!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
While pancakes from scratch are by far the best, there are some good mixes available to us. Two of our favorites are made by Krusteaz and Kodiak Cakes. When you are short on time, they are a great substitute.
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1-1/4 cups milk, or buttermilk
- 3 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil
- 1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or use cake flour for very tender pancakes)
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp fresh baking powder
- 2 tbsp sugar OR 1/4 cup malted milk powder (see Note)
- Beat the eggs and milk until light and foamy, about 3 minutes at high speed of a stand or hand mixer. Stir in the butter or vegetable oil.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together to evenly distribute the salt, baking powder and sweetener.
- Gently and quickly mix into the egg and milk mixture. Let the batter rest for at least 15 to 30 minutes, while the griddle is heating; it will thicken slightly.
- Heat a heavy frying pan or griddle over medium heat. Lightly grease frying pan or griddle. The pan is ready if a drop of water will skitter across the surface, evaporating immediately.
- Drop 1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the lightly greased griddle. Bake on one side until bubbles begin to form and break, then turn the pancakes and cook the other side till brown. Turn over only once. Serve immediately.
- Yield: 6 to 8 (3-inch) pancakes.
- Malted Milk Powder, rather than sugar, is what sweetens most food-service (i.e., restaurant/hotel) pancake mixes. For that typical "diner" taste, try malt in your pancakes instead of sugar. Our guarantee: These pancakes will go together easily, and make a tender, flavorful pancake.
- For Blueberry Pancakes, use fresh or frozen “wild” blueberries – they’re much smaller than normal berries. Use 1 to 2 cups per batch. Do not thaw, place in a strainer and hold under running water until it runs clear. Tap out the excess water. Pour the plain batter into hot pan then sprinkle berries over the top. The berries will defrost while cooking.
- For a whole grain breakfast treat, replace 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour with 1/2 cup of ground oats.
- A grated apple mixed into the batter will keep the pancakes moist longer if you need to cook them ahead and bring them to the table all at once.
- For Buttermilk Pancakes, add 1/4 cup buttermilk powder and 1/4 tsp baking soda to the dry ingredients. No need to increase the liquids.
- For “Sourdough” Pancakes, add 1 tbsp white vinegar per cup of milk.
- To make waffles, substitute 2 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil for 2 tbsp of the milk. Cook waffles as directed with your waffle iron. Hint - if you try to open the iron and it doesn't open easily, the waffle isn't done yet.
- 1-1/2 cups high quality Grade-A maple syrup
- 1 to 2 cups frozen blueberries, rinsed
- Freshly squeezed lemon juice, optional
- In a small saucepan, combine maple syrup and blueberries. Warm gently, pressing on berries lightly to release some of their juice. Stir often. Add a little lemon juice if desired to cut a bit of the sweetness.
- When ready to serve, transfer to a warmed pitcher. Place on a small plate to catch drips from the spout.
- Yield: about 2-1/4 cups syrup