Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Glorious Pancakes

I've never really been a fan of pancakes. I'm way more of a french toast kind a gal. I have sad nostalgia of bisquick mix with crappy 'pancake syrup' or late nights of never ending stacks of IHOP whenever I think about this breakfast favorite. It blew my mind, though, that real pancake recipes are so simple. I used dozens of standard and untraditional recipes and came up with two super easy and incredibly different flap jacks. And screw syrup, get excited for blueberry sauce. 

First up: the baked pancake (pictured above). Just look at that puffy piece of heaven! Okay, totally deflates the second you take it out of the oven but that doesn't take away from its deliciousness and easiness. My hand crank egg beater and mini iron skillet were ideal for this delicacy. The hand crank wont over mix the ingredients and the skillet goes in and out of the 425 oven with ease (by the way, preheat oven to 425). I stayed true to about 90% of this recipe from the Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Mix 1/3 cup flour, a tablespoon sugar, and a pinch of cinnamon and salt together. Lightly beat 2 eggs and half a cup of milk in another bowl. Combine dry and wet ingredients. Butter the crap out of your skillet, pour in the batter, and stick it in the oven. I made two batches using my 6 inch diameter caste iron skillet. It should take about 20 minutes or until all the giant heat bubbles around the edges have browned. Now your almost done. Once your baked-cake has reached a stunning golden brown, take it out of the oven. Give it a sprinkle of about half a tablespoon of sugar, a squeeze of lemon and put it right back in for two minutes, or as long as you can make yourself wait. I made it two minutes. The pancake comes out of the skillet with buttery easy and has a crepe like consistency with lovely, crunchy, rounded edges. Lemon sugar crepes are as classic as crepes get so its not a surprise nothing had to be added to this delicious baked pancake. But, like, you totally could add some killer blueberry sauce. I mean, no pressure, but you could.


Speaking of easy awesomeness, this sauce fits the bill. The magnificent Barefoot Contessa is to thank for this recipe. I only had to tamper with one ingredient because I didn't have vanilla infused sugar on hand. Anyhoo, put a pint and a half of pretty little blueberries, a cup of sugar, a splash of vanilla, the juice of half a lemon, and a cup of water in a sauce pan. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring occasionally, then drop the heat down to a simmer for about 15 minutes. The Contessa strains the sauce through "a fine sieve." I enjoy the texture of cooked blueberries and don't own a fancy sleeve so I left the sauce as is. 

While the baked crepe was a deflated delight, I wanted to do the pancake justice. I knew a dairy was going to be the star of the show but I couldn't decide between sour cream or yogurt, so I used both. Combine one and a half cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 tablespoons baking powder, and a pinch of salt. In another bowl whisk together 2 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, a little lemon zest, and a splash of vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing only until combined. Fry in tons of salted butter. 

These were some killer flap jacks. The yogurt and sour cream gave them this wonderful consistency of fluffy and full at the same time. I used Chobani vanilla greek yogurt, which turned out to be a surprisingly commanding yet welcomed flavor. Its subtle sweetness balanced perfectly with the salty butter the batter was fried in but didn't overpower the lovely blueberry sauce. Hints of lemon in the batter and sauce really brightened up the whole dish.

I like pancakes a lot now.

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