Sunday Morning with Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
My past few posts have been health-conscious recipes that emphasize good nutrition. Bet I had you going there, didn’t I? In all seriousness, the Athletic Gentleman and I do enjoy eating nutritious, whole foods, being active, and living an overall health-conscious lifestyle. However, I don’t think it’s good for my mental health to be too much of a food purist. Occasional sweet indulgences contribute to my full enjoyment of life (and keep me motivated during my workouts!) Our latest bout of foodie hedonism was lazy Sunday brunch. We spent the morning sipping coffee and enjoying the first crop of spring blueberries by packing them into fluffy pancakes.
This is hands-down the best pancake recipe ever, and I can say that because it’s not mine. It’s Alton Brown’s, and it’s a teeny bit more labor-intensive than the standard pancake batter, but so worth it. Pancakes have a high nostalgia factor; I will always love my mom’s pancakes, because they’re what I was raised on. However, when it comes to rich flavor and lofty texture, Alton Brown’s formula deserves accolades — just try it and see.
We added fresh blueberries to these basic buttermilk pancakes, and the hot, juicy berries burst on our tongues with every bite. I like to add fillings to my pancakes once the cake is in the pan, instead of adding them to the batter in the bowl. This ensures an even distribution of fruit (or nuts, or chocolate…) and also allows for different types of filling in one batch, or some filled and some plain. I ate my pancakes topped with maple syrup and cinnamon-spiced apple sauce, while the Athletic Gentleman had his with maple syrup and peanut butter.
Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
(slightly modified from a recipe by Alton Brown)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbsp melted butter
1 pint fresh blueberries
Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside. In a small bowl or measuring pitcher, whisk together the egg whites and buttermilk. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and melted butter. Pour the egg white/buttermilk mixture into the egg yolk/butter mixture and whisk smooth.
(Why bother separating the eggs? According to Alton Brown, when these two wet mixtures are combined, the egg whites and egg yolks will help the buttermilk and butter form a cohesive emulsion, and this emulsion will increase the fluffiness of the pancakes.)
Combine the wet and dry ingredients and whisk together for about 10 seconds. This is the critical part of the recipe: really, just 10 seconds. Resist the urge to beat the batter just a few seconds longer to get rid of some of those lumps. Leave the lumps. Beating out the lumps will produce gluten, making your pancakes dense and rubbery instead of fluffy and tender. My lumpy batter looked like this:
Scoop the batter onto a hot, greased griddle over medium heat. Immediately stud the top of the pancake batter with blueberries, and press the berries down into the batter with your fingertips. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the batter rises up around the blueberries, bubbles form, and the edge of the batter looks slightly dried out, like this:
Flip the pancakes and cook for another 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy with whatever toppings you love. Leftover pancakes freeze well with waxed paper layered between them. Wrap the layered pancakes tightly in plastic wrap, slip them into a ziplock freezer bag, and store them in the freezer. Then just zap them for a minute in the microwave when you’re ready for breakfast.