Tuesday 15 July 2014

Hedgerow Berry Pancakes

When I was a little girl pancakes made an appearance on our supper table at least once or twice each month.  I know now that they were one way for my mom to stretch the food budget but, at the time, I looked forward to pancake night every bit as much as kids today anticipate pizza night.  It was a big treat.

Often our pancakes were dressed with Roger's golden syrup, spooned from a gallon tin the looked just like a paint can. Sometimes, they were served with jam.  Sometimes they were topped with a sprinkle of sugar and lemon juice squeezed from a small plastic lemon.  That was my favourite.  

I've since learned that the sugar and lemon juice was a make-do measure too.  Having no syrup or jam in the house one day, my mom offered us what was on hand.  It was such a hit with us that we continued to enjoy it for all of our growing up years.

Pancake suppers are still a treat to me, and I still like best to serve them with melty butter, a sprinkle of sugar, and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Berries pair beautifully with lemon so, at this time of year when wild berries are plentiful, I add them to my pancakes too.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1-2/3 cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • about 1-3/4 cups milk
  • 3 Tablespoons oil, plus more oil for cooking (I use sunflower oil)
  • about 2 cups of fresh berries, gently rinsed (I used thimbleberries and a few early blackberries this time but any berry you choose to use will work.)
  • butter for spreading on your pancakes
  • sugar for sprinkling over the melted butter
  • lemon wedges for squeezing over it all

Begin by whisking together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  

When they're well combined, make a well in the center.

Break the egg into a two-cup measure and beat it well.  

Add in enough milk to make two cups.

Pour the egg and milk into the well in the dry ingredients and add the oil.  

Mix everything together to make a thick batter.  Try not to overmix it.  The dry ingredients should be moistened but there should still be some lumps in the batter.

Heat a non-stick or cast iron pan over medium heat and add a little oil to coat the bottom of the pan. 

Ladle in enough batter to make a pancake about 6 inches in diameter.  You may want to use the back of the ladle to spread the batter out a bit.

Sprinkle some berries over the batter in the pan.

Cook the pancake until the batter begins to set up around the edges and small bubbles appear on the uncooked surface.

Flip the pancake and cook the other side.  The bottom of the pancake will look like this:

Keep the cooked pancakes warm in a 200F oven until the entire batch is cooked.  Serve them berry-side-up, with the butter, sugar, and lemon on the table so each person can dress them up the way they want to.

This recipe makes about 6 pancakes.  I usually eat two, and my fella does the same.  I often make a double batch though, because any leftover pancakes can be frozen for another day.