Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lemon-scented blueberry cornmeal bliss.

It's no secret that my husband loves cornbread. So when I found myself with all of the ingredients to make my favorite blueberry pancakes for breakfast one Saturday I decided to switch things up and make cornmeal blueberry pancakes.

I have apparently lived a very sheltered life, having mostly eaten buttermilk pancakes and a few multi-grain pancakes in my life but not recalling any cornmeal pancakes. The cornmeal adds a nice, subtle crunch and a mild sweetness. These pancakes also have a touch of lemon zest which leaves them smelling (and tasting) positively divine. I couldn't resist adding syrup to mine, but Jared ate several plain and they really are good enough to eat by themselves as they are anything but your garden variety one-note pancakes.

If you really wanted to be fancy, you could use wild blueberries (not something I see in VA Beach... ever) or have a little bacon on the side. That would be an amazing Saturday morning.

Lemon-Scented Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

Note: I used my griddle here because, frankly, using the griddle for pancakes is much more pleasant than using a big skillet on my tiny burners. However, you can just as easily use a skillet on medium heat. Also, although I normally cut recipes in half, pancakes freeze beautifully so whether you're cooking for 1 or a family, go ahead and make the whole batch. Then just freeze any leftovers in a single layer on a baking sheet covered in parchment. Once they're solid (about 2 hours) store them in a zip lock bag. Reheat in the toaster, an oven set to 350, or even the microwave.

Serves 4

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 large egg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Vegetable oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (if using frozen, rinse and dry the berries to keep their color from bleeding into your pancakes)

1. Preheat a griddle to 325 degrees and the oven to 200 degrees. Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, zest, egg, and melted butter until combined.

2. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the bowl. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and mix gently until combined. You want to make sure you don't have any large pockets of the flour mixture, but don't mix out all of the lumps as over mixing will result in tough pancakes.

3. Brush the griddle with a thin but even layer of vegetable oil. Using a 1/4 cup, pour the batter onto the griddle in 4 places (or as many will comfortably fit on your griddle). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of berries onto each pancake and allow the pancakes to cook until large bubbles appear on the center of the pancakes and have set (i.e. are not actively boiling). Mine took 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Repeat, placing cooked pancakes on a baking sheet in a single layer to stay warm until ready to serve. Monitor the pancakes carefully and don't be afraid to adjust the griddle temperature if they seem to be browning too quickly or too slowly.

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