19 July 2009

Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

There are some things that are just wrong.

Pre-cooked, shrink-wrapped pancakes are an excellent example. If you don't have time to make some batter (10 minutes?) and drop it in the pan, eat something else. No, seriously, eat something else. In German, pancakes are called Pfannkuchen and when they're freshly prepared they're wonderful. The pre-cooked version that you heat in the skillet? An unlimited residency/work permit couldn't persuade me to eat them again.

Okay, that's probably a lie, but you get the point.

In any case, I spotted what appeared to be nice blueberries yesterday when I went shopping, and so I bought them along with some vanilla yogurt for Sunday breakfast.

. . . and so good for you, too!

As fate would have it, my flatmate also spotted blueberries when she went shopping and having heard me go on and on about how my pancakes were much better than those pre-cooked Pfannkuchen things--especially my blueberry pancakes--she bought a tub of blueberries, too. When I got home from the market, she suggested that I make blueberry pancakes for Sunday breakfast.

Now it's time for a small confession.

Previously, I had only ever used Bisquick to make my pancakes. I'm not referring to the shake and pour stuff I just saw on the Betty Crocker website, but the pancake and baking mix. Okay, not a huge difference, but still! In any case, I recently had another experience with forgoing stuff out of a box I had grown up with and learning to make that stuff from scratch, and now I can truly say goodbye forever to Jiffy's Cornbread mix, because my own cornbread is superb. With that experience behind me, I was definitely ready for the no-Bisquick pancake challenge.

So, after scouring the web for a Buttermilk Blueberry Pancake recipe that made sense and didn't involve beating egg whites, I ended up with this one from Elise at her Simply Recipes blog. The only tweak I had to make was to add a bit more milk. A good tip I got from Elise was to drop the blueberries in the skillet on top of the batter, rather than mixing them into the batter itself. This prevents the blueberries bleeding and turning the batter completely purple. No big deal, but I liked the way they turned out. It also certainly helps that one of the few things I always insist on bringing with me when I move back and forth from the US to Europe is a standard set of measuring equipment for US recipes. A half a teaspoon of baking powder? A cup of milk? No problem.*

Nick, my flatmate's nine-year-old son, was all the proof I needed that the pre-cooked Pfannkuchen debate had been positively decided in my favor. After the first bite, he gave me the look every cook wants to see after trying something new, and then exclaimed how delicious they were.


Before they were drenched in maple syrup

With all of that leftover buttermilk, perhaps it's time to try some homemade ranch dressing. Who needs you Hidden Valley?

*And yeah, I learned this the hard way.


  1. Another thing you can do with leftover buttermilk (which seems to keep an awfully long time) is to make blue cheese dressing. Ping me if you need the recipe. Also if you need recipes for anything else you're using "convenience foods" for.

    What are you using for cornmeal in your cornbread, though? I never found the right cornmeal in Berlin. You either had that extremely fine stuff the Turks use or polenta, which is too coarse. I still drag back two bags of Lamb's ($1.98 each) from the HEB in Austin every year.

  2. Thanks Ed! I'd love to have the blue cheese dressing recipe.

    Ach HEB in Austin. Could you stock up on flour tortillas next time you're there and ship 'em over? I'd die for a decent breakfast burrito.

    As for the cornbread, I used polenta, but which wasn't quite as coarse as normal. In fact, when I use it for polenta, it's not coarse enough. Go figure. In any case, I had no choice actually, I had to bring some cornbread to a Thanksgiving dinner party. It was actually quite good though, and the texture was fine. I think that it was pretty moist so that may have been why. This is the recipe I used:


    * 1/4 pound butter
    * 2/3 cup white sugar
    * 2 eggs
    * 1 cup buttermilk
    * 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    * 1 cup cornmeal
    * 1 cup all-purpose flour
    * 1/2 teaspoon salt


    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease an 8 inch square pan.
    2. Melt butter in large skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Quickly add eggs and beat until well blended. Combine buttermilk with baking soda and stir into mixture in pan. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt until well blended and few lumps remain. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  3. Good lord, *flour* tortillas? Easy as pie: all you need is flour, lard, salt, and baking powder. I got tired of paying four euros for those Casa Fiesta things and found a recipe. Check out Hungry In Berlin, way back about a year ago, I think, for the feast John, Aimee, and I had with carnitas and flour tortillas; I think my recipe is there.

    As for the dressing, my files reveal this:

    Buttermilk dressing (2 cups) (same dressing they used at Reata in Ft.

    1/2 cup minced red onion
    2 scallions, thinly sliced
    1/2 tsp roasted garlic, or minced (I used minced)
    1/2 tsp dried thyme
    1 cup sour cream
    3/4 cup buttermilk
    1/2 cup mayo
    kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

    Whisk everything together in a bowl. Let sit in fridge for a few hours or
    overnight. In an airtight container, it will keep for about a week in the
    fridge. (I served this dressing on iceberg wedges with ripe tomatos.)

    but...dang! I can't find the roquefort dressing!

    Lemme go look...

  4. You ROCK Ed, thanks for the recipe!!

    Okay, I'll check out the flour tortilla recipe and see if I'm up for it. But I'm relieved to know that they're not magical creations and that I might be able to manage them on my own. Thanks dude.

  5. Corn tortillas are torture unless you learned how to make perfect masa at mamacita's side.

    Flour tortillas = idiot simple. Cheggidout: I can do it!