I’ve been making pancakes at the weekends for as long as J can remember. He loves them; his friends love them; my friends love them. I’ve made them with spelt flour, buckwheat flour, self raising flour, wholewheat flour; I’ve added coconut flakes to the mix and made all sorts of quick fruit compotes to go with them; I’ve cooked them in coconut oil. But in the end, I always return to these ones – they really are the nicest. Simple, straightforward with ingredients that I usually always have on hand.
The acid in the sour cream is what makes these so delicious – it produces tender pancakes that are light and moist. If you don’t have any sour cream, you can use buttermilk and if you don’t have buttermilk just add a spoonful of vinegar or lemon juice to milk and leave it to thicken for 15 minutes or so.
The addition of a little baking soda is really important here – when baking soda meets with an acid (like sour cream, buttermilk, vinegar, etc) there is a chemical reaction which results in the production of carbon dioxide, water and a salt. This reaction happens at room temperature before exposure to any heat and is what makes the pancake batter fluffy while still sitting in the bowl. Joy the Baker has a really good explanation of baking powder vs baking soda here.
I tend to buy punnets of blueberries in the height of summer and stash them in the freezer. I just pop them onto the pancakes frozen. By the time the pancakes have been flipped, the blueberries have not only thawed but have heated through completely.
Because I make them so regularly, I bought a really wide 32 cm non-stick pan which I also use to make cocktail sized blinis for parties. The larger surface facilitates making a lot of pancakes in a shorter space of time.
Left over pancakes are eaten standing at the fridge, when J comes home from school at the same time as asking when dinner will be ready…for the more civilised among you, these re-heat really well in a low oven or in the microwave.
Sour Cream and Cinnamon Pancakes with Blueberries
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Best Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe
Makes about 18 x 4 inch pancakes – enough for 3 – 4 servings or double up the recipe for larger portions or more people.
- 1 cup/125 g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp caster sugar
- 150 ml sour cream (or buttermilk or mix one teaspoon of vinegar into 150ml of milk and let it sit for 15 minutes until it thickens)
- 150 ml milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tbsp/30g melted butter in a medium sized bowl and cooled slightly
- Punnet of blueberries
- Butter for the pan
- Maple syrup to serve
- Measure out and place the first 6 ingredients (which are the dry ones) in a mixing bowl and give it a good whisking to evenly distribute the ingredients and aerate the mixture.
- Crack the egg into the cooled melted butter and whisk until it is a uniform creamy mass – I find that this helps the butter to be more evenly distributed.
- Loosen the sour cream by pouring in a little milk into it and whisking until smooth. Then pour this into the egg mix and whisk until there are no lumps left, finally add the rest of the milk and whisk thoroughly once more.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture. Using a circular stirring motion, gently stir to draw in the dry ingredients to the middle, being careful not to over mix – a few floury patches are fine. It should be quite thick and a bit lumpy.
- SET ASIDE for 1/2 an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.
- Once the batter has rested the surface will be covered in holes and bubbles – this is just how it should be. Don’t, whatever you do, stir the batter at this stage. You just want to scoop out tablespoonfuls, straight into the frying pan.
- Pre-heat the oven to 75 C or very low. Get an oven proof dish out and a piece of foil to cover it with.
- Put the widest non-stick fry pan you have, on a medium low heat. If it is too high, the outside burns before the insides are cooked…Once the pan is hot, brush with a little butter (I stick a piece on the end of a table knife and swipe it around the pan, cringing whenever the metal touches the non-stick base).
- Using a tablespoon, scoop out and place the batter on the pan – I can get 4 to 5 pancakes going in mine but it is a rather large pan. The batter spreads so just try spacing 3 out to start with.
- Once the batter is in the pan, plop 3 or 4 blueberries on the top of each pancake. They will need to cook for 3 minutes or so. Keep checking and also keep an eye on the heat which you may have to keep adjusting. (Just have a peek under the pancake, by lifting a corner with a spatula, to see how it is colouring)
- When the tops of the pancakes have lots of holes in them, it is time to flip them over. If a blueberry escapes, just push it back under. This side will not take as long to cook – about a minute – so keep an eye on them. When they are done, remove them to the ovenproof platter, loosely cover with foil and pop them in the oven. Carry on with the next round, lightly buttering the pan when you need to and keeping an eye on the heat.
- Serve with proper Canadian maple syrup.
Bananas. Don’t add the blueberries. After all the pancakes are done, wipe the pan clean with a paper towel and melt a little butter in it. Then slice up a couple of not too squishy bananas straight into the pan and let them caramelise, flipping over once. Serve on top of the pancakes with maple syrup.