Harvest and Honey

An open-ended love letter, culinarily inspired.

blue corn, blueberry & lime pancakes with sugared pine nuts

3 Comments

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“I realized something else tonight. Something about pancakes.”
“What about them?”
“We both got so obsessed with that first pancake being thrown away that we forgot something really important,” Max explained. “That first pancake tastes just as good as all the other ones. It’s not its fault that it was first in line and the pan wasn’t hot enough so it got a bit lumpy and misshapen … and when you’re really famished, that first pancake tastes better than all the ones that comes after it.” – Sarra Manning, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me

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Have you ever counted the rings on a pancake? Like checking a tree to see how many years it has stood the test of time, I am here to say that you can also do the same with a pancake. With my pancakes you can, at least. This is something I figured out when I was 14 years old and just beginning to come into my own as a proficient pancake maker. For several months during my 8th grade year, I came home from school and made myself a batch of pancakes.  Not even bothering to stop and measure quantities, I would dump a heap of instant pancake mix in a small glass bowl and hold it under the stream of running tap water, eyeballing it until it looked just right. Boy did I ever feel like a pro when I did this.

Measuring cups? Who needs ’em? Not me that’s for sure, I’d think to myself, ego inflating with every perfectly proportioned batch of batter. I’d fill the skillet with oil and basically fry the pancakes until the edges were extra tasty crispy and the whole of them were deeply golden brown. A cascade of sweet strawberry syrup on top of my little individually portioned short stack and I was in pancake heaven. The fact that you can devour fried pancakes that are swimming in sugary syrup every single day as just a little “snack” is a true testament to the metabolic powers of youth. As for the rings on my pancakes, I’ll get to those in a second … IMG_1659IMG_1677

One of life’s most reliable occurrences, ranking right up there with the sun rising and setting each day, is the unreliability of the “first pancake.” No matter what you do to mitigate the problem, to prepare for the worst, you will inevitably wind up with a lumpy, misshapen, amoeba-like creature that will probably cause you to question whether or not you should even continue with the remainder of the pancake batter at all.

“Maybe I should just chuck it all and head to Denny’s instead?” you think to yourself, staring at the sink drain and trying to avoid the temptation to dump all of the batter straight down into its infinite blackness.

Happens every time. The first pancake of the bunch is always the sacrificial lamb. Whether it is due to an insufficiently heated pan, a lack of focus by the cook, or just a flipping wrist that hasn’t had a chance to warm up properly, the first pancake is always bad. Knowing this – accepting this – makes for a much more enjoyable and stress-free pancake cooking experience. And that’s really what pancake cookery should be, right? Because the cooking of pancakes leads to the eating of pancakes and from what I can tell, a meal that involves pancakes is almost always designed to be just a little bit special. After all, what do people make on lazy weekend days, gathered all around the family table in collective excitement over the meal to come? Not Cherrios, that’s for sure. Pancakes are so often the classic go-to breakfast food of choice when a meal is intended to be a little something more. Sorry Cheerios. Then there’s the whole “breakfast for dinner” thing. An institution of which I am a huge fan and proponent, “breakfast for dinner” is always exciting and feels like a real occasion for celebration, even if it’s “just pancakes,” which it usually is, isn’t it? So you see, pancakes are always just a little more special than your average bear of a meal. More exciting and delicious than a bowl of cereal at breakfast and more interesting and unexpected than a regular ole’ dinner at dinner time. And apparently, the most righteous after school snack when you’re a hungry 14-year-old who is just beginning to learn her way around a stove.

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Seeing as how I found myself in a daily pancake cooking routine, my 14-year-old self did become somewhat of an expert in this department, and I’d like to think I have a trick or two up my sleeve to offer when it comes to proper pancaking. If you divert your gaze to the photo of the pancakes just above, you might notice the small rings that run around the little flapjack, not unlike the ones on those tree stumps you used to examine when you were younger. Contrary to how it may appear, this pancake is not 100 years old. It’s hardly more than 10 minutes old, max, and those rings are the result of my tried and true pancakery method. Developed after weeks of consistent testing and practice, and in a direct attempt to get that first pancake to look more like the rest of the bunch, 14-year-old Lauren came up with the simple “swirl” method of pancake making. I haven’t trademarked it yet or anything, but I stand by its effectiveness. Rather than pouring your batter in a single stream onto your griddle, ladling it in a slow and steady swirl motion helps to control the shape of the pancake, resulting a perfect circle every time – even with that first pancake. As long as your griddle surface is nice and hot and your batter has rested for a bit, you should be on the road to success. See? No smoke and mirrors, just a simple swirl. And you get the added bonus of lovely ringed pancakes, which add real character. When it comes to perfect pancakes, it really is all in the wrist …

 

 
 Blue Corn, Blueberry & Lime Pancakes with Sugared Pine Nuts RECIPE

 

1 3/4 – 2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup blue corn meal
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1.5 cups milk (you can go up to 2 cups here, if needed)
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted (or 2 tablespoons melted butter if you prefer)
Zest of one lime
1 cup blueberries
2/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
Butter for your griddle
Maple syrup for serving
bananas for serving

 

DIRECTIONS: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, corn meal, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to evenly incorporate everything.

 

In a second bowl, combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, coconut oil, and lime zest, whisking to evenly combine. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir just until everything is mixed. Let your batter rest for 10 minutes before use.

 

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium heat and add about 1 tablespoon of butter, swirling to coat the whole pan. Cook your pancakes in batches, making them as large or small as you like (I do about 1/4 cup of batter for each). Add a few blueberries to each pancake before flipping. When you see bubbles forming all over the surface of your pancake, flip and cook the second side (takes about 3 – 4 minutes on the first side, and 2 – 3 minutes on the second).

 

Serve the pancakes with sliced bananas, warm maple syrup and a sprinkling of the sugared pine nuts (see below).

 

for the Sugared Pine Nuts:

 

Combine the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup waster in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar is totally dissolved. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

 

Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and add some of the sugar syrup to coat (this is still pretty hot, so use a spoon or spatula to do this). Stir the pine nuts, ensuring they are all coated in the sugar water and bake at 375 degrees F for 10 – 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Keep an eye on them because they go from being deep brown and delicious to black and burned very quickly.

 

 
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Author: Harvest & Honey

Lauren McDuffie is a freelance food and travel writer, photographer, stylist, cookbook author, and award-winning food blogger. She lives in Indianapolis, IN with her husband, Lucas, and two children.

3 thoughts on “blue corn, blueberry & lime pancakes with sugared pine nuts

  1. Testament to metabolic youth. Ha. Love that! I think I am gaining weight reading this blog. I love it so much. I really hope you win the blog a wad. You so deserve it!! ❤️❤️

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