Shh, don’t tell the kids they are good for them…
Of all the dishes I served up at the inn for 18 years, the most frequently requested meal from repeat guests was blueberry pancakes. People remember them, think about them, desire them, and will eat them with gusto when served. Not only a favorite of guests, but family as well, so over time I devised little ways to make them less of a guilty pleasure so I could tuck the (rare) leftovers in the freezer for the kids.
We ate a lot of pancakes when we were kids, but we only had blueberry pancakes after we had actually picked the berries ourselves! So it was either feast or famine for blueberry pancakes, and we enjoyed them immensely in season. In the winter, often mom would make plain pancakes and serve them simply with a little cinnamon and sugar, which she always had mixed in a little shaker on the counter. Sometimes, we even had them for supper, which we thought of as a great treat.
Sunday morning ritual
My own kids and grandkids love pancakes as well. The most frequent request from all the kids in the family for Sunday breakfast. We made them this morning with the grandkids, and added a tasty blueberry sauce, made from berries we picked last summer and tucked away for a cold, icy morning like this. We had snow, sleet, rain, and probably hail before we were done today, but mostly lots of ice, so staying tucked inside was the best.
I fiddled with the pancake recipe for a long time. It began life using buttermilk, but one day the store was out and I needed to get the pancakes in process so I used sour cream and milk. I liked the flavor just as much, if not more, than using the buttermilk, so I started making them that way. I usually have sour cream in the refrigerator, but not so much the buttermilk unless I’m planning a specific recipe, or have some left over from another.
While delicious made with a quarter cup of melted butter added to the batter, I lightened the fat up as well by cutting it in half and replacing it with canola oil. I used the white whole wheat flour one day, and it was delicious! Still light and tender, and so that’s how I make them now, so these cakes are 100% whole grain.
Don’t mix the berries into the batter!
I don’t mix the berries into the batter because I don’t want it to be blue! Instead, I measure out the batter and add the berries one at a time. It is not as tedious as it sounds, and is kind of fun to count and try to get the same amount of berries in each one. I know there are some of you out there who love the blue batter, and if you do, go for it!
Because I don’t mix the berries in the better, I can offer to make any number of different pancakes at the same meal. However, when given the choice, 9 out of 10 people want the blueberries! That’s an exact B&B poll, conducted by me! However, the number changes slightly if chocolate chips are offered as a choice and the number of folks with a sweet tooth, including my granddaughter, is high.
Light and delicious!
These are light and delicious, around 100 calories each, with a hint of lemon, and you can use any berry or fruit you like in place of the blueberries, but we like the blues the best. In winter, frozen, local blueberries work just fine; that’s why I tuck gallons away in the freezer after we pick. Remember, the pancakes will only taste as good as the berries. In the middle of winter, frozen berries will probably be more flavorful than fresh trucked from another continent. These are not overly sweet because usually something really sweet goes on top. However, you can also top them with fresh berries, especially when they are in season.
You can also use a gluten-free flour in this, and make your own plant based “buttermilk” by acidifying two cups of plant milk with 2 tsp. of white vinegar if folks can’t have dairy.
Serve with real Vermont maple syrup of course, none of that artificial pancake syrup please! Yes, I’m a Vermont snob about this. You can also top it with Orange Blueberry Sauce, below, or just sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Sour Cream Blueberry Pancakes with Blueberry Orange Sauce
2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder, non-aluminum
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt
Freshly grated nutmeg
2 large organic eggs plus one egg yolk
Zest of one lemon and tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 ½ cups skim milk
½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tbsp. local honey
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic canola oil
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
Place a sieve over a large bowl and all all dry ingredients. Sift.
In a separate bowl, or one-quart measuring cup, combine eggs, zest and juice, milk, sour cream, honey, vanilla, and oil. Mix well.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid. Mix just until combined, the batter will be lumpy. Over-mixing will make tough pancakes.
Heat the griddle. The trick to making good pancakes is getting the heat just right, and you often have to play with it a little and sacrifice your first cake. On my electric griddle, 285 is perfect. On my Aga, I leave the simmering plate open for ten minutes before cooking. It often takes one practice pancake to get the heat right, so don’t despair! When you figure it out for your griddle or stove, write it down! I seldom lose a “first pancake” any more to a test. Every stove and griddle is different.
Brush cooking oil on griddle along with a dot of butter and pour pancakes from a ¼-cup measuring cup for consistency. You should hear a gentle sizzle. Sprinkle blueberries on top, be generous. Once the edges look cooked and several bubbles have popped on the surface of the cake, take a peek on the underside for brownness. Turn and cook another two minutes or so.
Keep warm in a 250 degree oven while you make the rest.
Serve with warmed Vermont maple syrup! Of course. Or top with Orange Blueberry Sauce, below. Makes about 20 pancakes, more or less.
I have a sourdough starter that I created ten years ago. Ginny Junior has to be fed every now and then, and rather than toss the extra starter, I use it in recipes, such as sourdough blueberry pancakes.
If you have sourdough discard to use, give these pancakes a try. Just add a cup of starter discard to the batter (it’s about the same consistency), and proceed as above. For some reason, these take a little longer to cook, so don’t worry, just monitor your heat so that the outsides don’t brown too quickly.
Blueberry Orange Sauce
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
Zest and Juice of one large organic orange
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch
Put 1 1/2 cups of the berries, zest and juice, sugar, and cornstarch in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thick! It only takes a few minutes. Add the rest of the berries, mix well, and serve.
This is great served over pancakes, but also as a topping for cheesecake.
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