I have a friend named Denita.
Denita lives in Utah with her husband. Last year while traveling the USA, Ben and I stayed with them for a week. We hiked up mountains, wandered American supermarket aisles and ate Mexican food – good Mexican like carnitas, fish tacos, chipotle and mole. I miss that week.
De and I share an appreciation for food. This includes wholesome recipes and vegetable-centric cooking, with nuts and grains and all things delicious. It also includes appreciation/shock for all things crazy American. Australia is most certainly not saintly when it comes to food and health, don’t get me wrong. And yes, there is incredible food in the USA, much tender and thoughtfully crafted cooking that inspires me daily. But there is also outrageous food in the USA. I’m talking Paula Deen’s “Lady’s Brunch Burger“, as well their desire to deep-fry anything and preferably everything.
My friend and I will often send each other links for these horrifying recipes, just to keep the “oh dear Lord” dialogue going. There was a suggestion I watch some food travel shows, where a rotund host journeys to different parts of the country in search of “the best sandwich/doughnut/pizza…” And so, for a bit of entertainment whilst engaging in my most hated chore, dusting, I watched a show on America’s best diners. PS. dusting is the worst.
Along with the 12 egg omelette (that’s a single serve, people) and the granola crusted deep fried brioche french toast slathered in caramel sauce and whipped cream, there was a diner in Georgia that served pancakes. Big, fluffy, farmhouse-style buttermilk pancakes. And I developed the most intense craving for pancakes of my life!
The next morning I woke in the hour of six without an alarm. My body must have known this was the perfect hour for pancake preparation. I listened and promptly walked to the shops for buttermilk.
It. Was. On.
This classic American recipe is honest goodness, with old-fashioned pancake staples like flour and buttermilk and sugar and butter. There’s a time and a place for coconut flour pancakes, ones with seeds or Greek yoghurt and even flourless pancakes. But sometimes, you just need a fluffy diner pancake recipe. This is that.
The blueberry maple syrup comes highly recommended by myself, a seasoned pancake seasoner. It involves simmering defrosted (or fresh) blueberries in pure maple syrup with a squeeze of lemon juice, which (along with a side of tart yoghurt) helps to cut through the sweetness.
You win this round, America.
Diner Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup
Serves 2. Freeze any uneaten pancakes individually in plastic wrap (and then just unwrap and pop into the toaster!)
1 cup Spelt Flour (or regular plain flour, or 3/4 cup plain and 1/4 cup wholemeal flour)
1 heaped tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled (plus extra for the pan)
1 & 1/4 cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberry Syrup Ingredients
1 cup Blueberries (defrosted from frozen, or fresh)
1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup
1-2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice, to taste
To serve: unsweetened Greek or Natural yoghurt
1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and soda and sea salt together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Whisk the egg and add the butter, buttermilk and vanilla in a small mixing bowl.
3. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and fold in the egg mixture gently. Do not overmix the batter! Some flour flecks and lumps are normal.
4. Heat a non-stick pan (or use two pans and cook two at a time) over low-medium heat and add a generous knob of butter. When you flick some water on the pan and it dances, the pan is hot and ready. Scoop 1/3 cup mixture onto the pan and form a large, flat-ish pancake (more or less depending on your desired size. I wanted large pancakes so made them big! Beware this makes for more difficult flipping). Cook for ~2 minutes until bubbles start forming and then flip your pancake and cook for a further minute or so, until your pancake is golden. Keep warm on a plate covered with foil and cook your remaining pancakes, adding more butter every second pancake if desired.
5. Make your blueberry syrup while the pancakes are cooking by placing the blueberries and maple syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, the mixture bubbling gently, until you’re ready. Add the lemon juice and taste, adjust for more juice/syrup as desired and serve warm over the pancakes with tart yoghurt.
Pancakes, book, Saturday, happy. Miss and love you, De x