Start the morning with a stack of Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. Pillowy soft and fluffy with a delicate lemon flavor and full of blueberries!
I have a confession - I prefer savory for breakfast. When we go out for breakfast or brunch, I tend to pick menu items with eggs, bacon, or potatoes. Pretty standard breakfast fare. However, that doesn't mean I'm not sneaking a forkful of pancakes from someone at the table, usually my kids. Or sometimes, someone may suggest having a breakfast appetizer, a stack of pancakes for the table.
But for a good pancake, I will make the switch to sweet. That means a pancake with a decent base flavor and a lofty and airy texture.
Lemons and blueberries
There is something about the pairing of blueberries and lemon. There is mutual admiration thing going on with these two flavors. Lemons give blueberries a little sparkle and the blueberries temper the acidic tartness of lemons. These pancakes have a delicate lemon flavor. It won't hit you over the head but it is definitely there providing a beautiful scent. Also, the lemon zest adds some dimension to the flavor. It doesn't add more acid just a hit of freshness.
One of the most important attributes of a good pancake is the fluffy factor. A pancake should be airy and soft. I also like to have some crispy edges on the outside for texture. Pancakes are essentially like a quickbread - the rise in structure is due to the reaction between a chemical leavener (baking powder) and an acid (lemon juice and buttermilk).
But to get the biggest bang from the chemical reaction buck, be ready to cook the pancakes as soon as you mix the dry and wet ingredients together. That means have your pan or griddle hot and waiting for you not you waiting for it.
The Art of the flip
The very first question of the very first cooking class I taught, was why is the top of a pancake different than the bottom. During a lecture about a dessert we were going to make, it was totally off-topic.
But it is a good question about some basics in cooking. First, when the batter hits the hot oil and pan, there is an immediate reaction. The pancake starts to form a cooked surface but also the pan has cooled because of the addition of the batter. This is when I add the blueberries. They stay intact and the batter doesn't turn a weird green/blue/gray color from berries that burst while being incorporated. When the pancake is flipped the underside is not completely in contact with the pan. It has a bumpy surface from the batter bubbling up as it cooks. The parts of the pancake that do not contact the cooled pan will not brown.
This brings up another topic, when to flip a pancake. When the batter is poured on the hot surface of the pan, it has a smooth and glossy appearance. As the pancake cooks, you will see bubbles start to rise and pop on the top surface. Also, the batter will start to lose its sheen and the edges of the pancake will look golden brown. As the pancake is flipped and the uncooked side hits the pan, it will rise. The baking powder is doing its job.
As you take the pancakes out of the pan, add a pat of butter to the top followed by syrup. I am definitely in the pure maple syrup camp. To me, the flavor of real syrup is worth the cost.
The next time you have a hankering for pancakes, try Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes. What a way to start the day!
Lemon Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 pint blueberries
- Preheat griddle if you are using one.
- Combine the dry ingredients, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt, in a mixing bowl.
- Combine the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk melted butter and egg together. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and zest, again mixing together. Lastly, add the buttermilk to the bowl, mixing with the whisk.
- The griddle should be ready now. If you are not using a griddle, put a pan with a small amount of vegetable oil such as canola over medium-high heat before you mix the dry and wet ingredients together. The pan or griddle is hot enough when droplets of water sizzle when added to the pan.
- When the pan is hot, add the wet ingredients to the dry. This is a thick batter. If it feels too thick, add another ¼ cup of buttermilk. Whisk just until everything is incorporated. You may have a few lumps.
- Add ⅓ cup of batter to the hot pan. Place blueberries, about 6, onto the pancake.
- The pancake is ready to flip when bubbles rise and pop on the surface of the batter. It also looks a little drier. You may see crispy edges that are golden brown on the pan side of the pancake. It takes about 2 minutes to cook the pancake, then flip. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add a pat of butter to the top of the pancake when it is removed from the pan. Serve with maple syrup.