Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Night of Pancakes and Relaxing

I am sure many of you have already gotten back to "real life," but tonight is my last night of winter break.  School starts back tomorrow, and while in many ways I look forward to it, I am also sad to see my days of relaxing in the warm coziness of my little house come to an end.  Today, I spent a day in a workshop (which thankfully ended early), and then came home.  I have things I really should be doing, all work related, but I have decided to enjoy this last night by blogging, watching TV, and eating pancakes for supper.  

I realize pancakes are technically for breakfast, but when you just want something comforting and quick for supper, pancakes are the way to go.  Tonight was perfect for pancakes because my husband, although he likes them, does not love them.  In fact, he does not love any breakfast food. So, when he called to say he was going to be late, I took advantage and made my favorite pancakes, several slices of bacon, a sliced orange, and a cup of herbal tea.  A humble but deliciously satisfying meal.  

So, let's get down to it.  These pancakes are heavenly.  They are light and airy with a slight tang from buttermilk and sour cream.  They practically float off the plate.  The only thing holding them down (well, besides gravity, of course) is a generous drizzle of berry syrup.  The syrup is made of a mixture of blueberries and blackberries, but you could use any berries available.  I make this syrup a lot during the winter months.  It offers bright flavors and is a perfect way to use all the berries I freeze throughout the summer.  You can choose to use fresh or frozen berries, but whatever you choose, make them the best you can get your hands on.  You can also use lemon juice rather than orange juice in the syrup, but in the winter, I almost always have oranges around.  Even though they are not local, there is just something about oranges that says winter to me.  You could, of course, opt to eat the pancakes with maple syrup or molasses instead, but who would pass up luscious berries on a cold January evening?  Certainly not me.

So, whether you eat these for supper, breakfast, lunch, or sometime in between, enjoy!

Sour Cream Pancakes with Mixed Berry Syrup (adapted from The Bride & Groom First and Forever Cookbook)- serves 3-4

Berry Syrup:
2 cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen (I use half blueberries and half blackberries, but any choice of berries will do)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 tbsp orange juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp orange zest, optional

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp melted butter, plus more for unmelted butter for swirling in the pan

Berry Syrup:
Combine the berries, sugar and butter in a small saucepan on medium heat.  It will be dry at first, but the berries will release their liquid within a couple of minutes.  Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook 5 minutes.  In a small bowl, whisk the orange juice, cornstarch, and zest (if using).  Slowly stir the juice mixture into the berries and simmer one more minute until slightly thickened.  Remove from the heat to cool slightly. 

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, sour cream and baking soda until smooth and combined.  Gently stir the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture until just combined.  Stir in the melted butter. 

Heat a non-stick griddle or cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, swirl in a small sliver of butter.  Spoon approximately 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet and cook 2 minutes or so until lightly browned.  Flip the pancake and cook 2 minutes more until cooked through and golden brown on both sides.  Remove the pancake to a warm plate and repeat until all the batter has been used. 

To serve, stack several pancakes on a plate and drizzle with the berry syrup.  Enjoy! 

You can chill any leftover batter and use it the following day.  The taste of the pancakes will be the same but they will not be as light and airy as the day the batter is made.  The syrup can also be refrigerated for use within 2-3 days.  The syrup is excellent over ice cream or cake as well.


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