When I went to America last year, the last thing I expected to become obsessed with were pancakes. I know, plump, golden pancakes the size of at least your plate, and probably your head are even more American than apple pie, but I thought it would be other things that turned my head. I was wrong: I couldn’t get enough of them. I sought them out, single-minded when it came to breakfast or brunch menus, and when I got home, I kept thinking about them. So, whereas last year it was English, and before that, Scottish, this pancake day, I’m going American.
The key to a properly light and fluffy buttermilk pancake – one which seems ready to float off the plate – is in the mixing. Or rather, the lack thereof. When the wet ingredients are mixed into the dry, you should stop short of fully combining the mixture, while there are still a few little lumps of flour. A short rest in the fridge between mixing and cooking will help smooth these lumps out, and ensure that your pancakes are crisp on the outside and impossibly soft on the inside.
For these particular pancakes, I keep a bag of frozen blueberries in my freezer, so that I can throw a handful into the batter. They will defrost as the batter cooks, their indigo juices bleeding into the pancakes, and providing little pops of sweet-sour juiciness as you eat. I like these pancakes with the unlikely British twist of golden syrup drizzled on top, the metallic sweetness pairs well with the tang of buttermilk, but my husband insists on the earthier, darker maple syrup.
Buttermilk blueberry pancakes
Makes: Breakfast for 4
Takes: 40 minutes, including resting
Bakes: No time at all
What you need
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons caster sugar
50g melted butter, cooled
100ml whole milk
100g frozen Blueberries
Vegetable oil, for frying
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk together the wet ingredients (except the vegetable oil!), and then add these to the dry ingredients. Using a spatula, briefly fold the ingredients through until they are mostly combined: there will be a few floury lumps, don’t worry about these. Stir the blueberries through the batter. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After the resting period, heat a frying pan over a medium heat, and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the pan. Spoon three tablespoons of the batter into the pan and cook until the underside of taught and golden brown – a couple of minutes. Flip the pancake and cook similarly on the other side.
- Set the cooked pancake to one side and continue with the rest of the batter. While you’re working your way through the batter, you can keep the cooked pancakes warm in a low oven, with a little greaseproof paper between each pancake, although I do like to give each one a final flash in the pan to restore them to their crisp glory.