blueberry buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat.

Alfalfa. Darla. Spanky. Our Gang. The Little Rascals.

Buckwheat is a largely unfamiliar grain that in American culture has wierd word associations with a generation of Hollywood kids who grew up even before we were born, as well as with pancakes. Even with the added boost in name recognition from this historical film connection, it is an underused food item not only in the US and Italy but also in our own kitchen. For years now we've had several boxes of pizzoccheri (buckwheat pasta noodles from northern Italy) sitting untouched in our supply closet. They are hard to find over there and in specialty stores over here, so we tend to hoard them, waiting for that special occasion to use them with their traditional recipe. A special occasion which just hasn't been materializing like it is supposed to.

On the other hand the dr bob refrigerator supply department always has buckwheat flour on hand ready to add its unique flavor to our whole grain bread machine products. And to this very tasty breakfast treat we occasionally make when blueberries are not more outrageously priced than our subconscious food budget Nazi allows us to fork over for them (usually summer). Buttermilk, another ingredient with a strong pancake word association, is also a staple we always have in stock in powdered form for our bread machine production.

For us "pancakes" means only one thing—buckwheat pancakes, and this recipe from our largely unused food magazine archives is one of the reasons we still continue to subscribe and impulse buy them. For those rare jewels that say to us "Make me, make me" when we actually happen to be listening. And we make them. And make them again. And again.

Contrary to popular belief, one does not need a pancake mix box to make pancakes. They are a snap to make from scratch. Using a nonstick frying pan, or better yet, two in parallel for quicker results, the grilling is easy too. We rub the center of the pan with the end of a stick of butter before each single pancake is plopped down, rolling the pan a bit to help it spread out. One per pan so they don't crowd each other. And then we stack them on a plate on the stove using a deep bowl as a cover to keep them all warm until all the batter is used up. ms_ani likes them with the traditional maple syrup and butter treatment, while dr bob goes with a light powdering of confectioner's sugar and some exotic jam or jelly like guava or mango or papaya, but even strawberry goes well with the blueberries (dulce de leche too!). Either way, we are satisfied customers.

ingredients

small batch larger batch
dry
3/8 c 3/4 c unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 c 1/2 c buckwheat flour
1 T 2 T sugar
3/4 t 1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t 1/2 t salt
1/8 1/4 t baking soda
wet
1 c 2 c buttermilk (powder+water)
1 T 2 T vegetable (or olive) oil
1 2 large eggs, separated (yolks+whites)
pan items
melted butter (judgement call)
3/4 c 1 1/2 c fresh blueberries
9 18 approximate yield

instructions

  1. Mix group 1 (dry) ingredients in a large bowl. Stir in group 2 (wet), except for the egg whites which first require electric mixer beating in a medium bowl until medium firm peaks form. Then gently fold the whites into the batter.
  2. Heat a large nonstick pan or two over medium-high heat and lightly brush with melted butter or rub with the butter stick. Drop batter in 1/4 c amounts (only suggestive!) into the pan and spread to 4 inch circles. Sprinkle 5 or 6 blueberries over each round (sometimes we just dump them all directly into the batter first) and cook until the upper side is covered with small bubbles and the bottoms are golden (the color helps you regulate the heat), about 1 minute. We flip them over for about 10 seconds to make sure they are really done. Then brush or rub the pan with butter and repeat until the batter is gone.

notes

  1. The blueberries can be substituted by chopped strawberries, or other suitable fruit, but then you have to change the name of the recipe. Of course.
  2. Sometimes we just skip the fruit and do the pancakes plain. And one time while making the small recipe, the larger recipe white flour amount went in by mistake. Much fluffier pancakes but otherwise no problem.
  3. This recipe entered the dr bob cooking school with photos.
bkwtpnck.htm: 6-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]