When I hear people say they don’t like buckwheat, I inevitably think, “That’s because you’ve never had my buckwheat pancake.” At Friends & Family, our baked buckwheat pancake is a fan favorite. We warn customers that their order will take up to 20 minutes, but the prospect of waiting doesn’t deter them. Thicker and more filling than a regular flapjack, one buckwheat pancake is enough for me. You could make these entirely with buckwheat flour, but I use some all-purpose flour for a more balanced flavor profile. The pancake is finished in the oven, which imparts a dreamy fluffiness and a crispy exterior. Starting the pancake on the stove allows for an evenly brown, crispy layer, while finishing it in the oven promotes the batter in the center to rise and gel into a light and airy pancake. Once you get the hang of this technique, it’s possible you won’t make pancakes any other way.
You can certainly serve your pancake with the de rigueur butter and maple syrup, but I strongly recommend trying a berry compote made from scratch. Every effort spent on it will be well worth it. If available in your region, opt for huckleberries—the funky, wild cousin of cultivated blueberries—but in their absence, blueberries will do. Nothing complements the depth of buckwheat better than the bright tang of dark berries. But don’t limit yourself when it comes to pancake toppings. Personally, I enjoy mine with a little bit of everything: a light sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar, a lump of butter, warm maple syrup, and a side of berry compote. Pancake nirvana, indeed.
¼ cup (40 g) buckwheat flour
¼ cup (35 g) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (120 ml) buttermilk
1 large egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus butter for frying and serving
Vegetable oil for frying
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
Berry Compote (see below) for serving
Place an oven rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Sift the flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center with your hands. Whisk the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla together in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Whisk slowly from the center out to draw the dry ingredients into the liquids. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine. The mixture will be slightly thicker than regular pancake batter.
Preheat the pan over medium-high heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of butter and a drizzle of oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Using a rubber spatula, pour all of the batter into the pan; gently spread it over the entire surface. When the mixture starts to bubble around the edges (1 or 2 minutes), transfer the pan to the oven to bake for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and flip the pancake with a wide flat spatula (like the one you use to flip burgers). Bake for another 1 or 2 minutes, until both sides have a brown and crispy exterior and a toothpick inserted in the fluffy center comes out clean. Transfer the pancake to a plate. Put the confectioners’ sugar in a sifter or fine strainer and shake it over the surface of the pancake to create a thin, even layer. Serve immediately with butter, maple syrup, and berry compote.
Makes 2 cups
¾ cup (150 g) sugar
¾ cup (180 ml) water
½ vanilla bean
3 cups (1½ pints) blueberries, huckleberries, black currants, or blackberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Put the sugar in a heavy medium pot. Add ½ cup (120 ml) of the water to moisten the sugar, but do not stir. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a paring knife, scrape out the pulp with the back of the knife, and put the pulp and pod into the pot. Cook over high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and reduce to a thick syrup. Refrain from stirring at this point; it could cause the sugar to crystalize. Add the berries and stir with a wooden spoon, encouraging them to release their juices. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar is dissolved and the fruit looks saucy. Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining ¼ cup (60 ml) cold water and add to the pot. Cook while stirring constantly until the compote thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a heat-resistant glass jar and let cool completely. Remove the vanilla bean, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. The compote will keep in the refrigerator for a week.
Baked Cornmeal Pancake
In the summer, when I crave lighter flavors, I prefer making the baked pancake with cornmeal instead of buckwheat. Just replace the buckwheat flour with ¼ cup (40 g) yellow cornmeal and add 2 extra tablespoons all-purpose flour.
Reprinted from Mother Grains: Recipes for the Grain Revolution. Copyright © 2021 by Roxana Jullapat. With permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
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