Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So late, I'm right on time!

I am SO tardy blogging about what to do with June strawberries, that it's time for the fall crop! See how, as my beloved mother used to say, things have a way of working out? Tee hee.

A few months ago, I was watching an episode of "Throwdown with Bobby Flay," and he was challenging NYC's Clinton Street Baking Company to a blueberry pancake throwdown. Now I have never made a superlative pancake at home, but after watching this show, I was inspired to try, try again. Even though it's a pain, I think the secret to ethereally light pancakes is to separate the eggs and whip the whites, as you do for waffles, and as is the Clinton Street Baking Company's method. Moreover, they top all of their pancakes with this decadent maple butter that is butter and real maple syrup melted and sort of whipped together to form a lusciously sweet emulsion. Man oh man, were these pancakes DIVINE! And as it was strawberry season and too early for fresh blueberries, I converted the copycat recipe that I found on a lovely British blog called Let Her Bake Cake to include a deliciously tangy strawberry-lemon compote. This is a MUST for your next brunch!

Buttermilk Pancakes with Strawberry-Lemon Compote and Maple Butter
Let Her Bake Cake, inspired by Clinton Street Baking Company)
Serves 3-4

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 eggs
1 scant cup buttermilk
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Separate the eggs so that the yolks go into a large bowl and the whites go into the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl large enough to fit a hand held electric mixer.

Add the buttermilk and melted butter to the yolks in the bowl and beat together. In another bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

With a stand mixer or electric mixer, whip the egg whites to hold soft peaks.

Now pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir lightly until just combined. Some lumps are OK. Fold in the egg whites until just combined. It's okay if some of the whites aren't fully incorporated.

Rub a nonstick frying pan with a bit of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add batter to pan to make whatever size pancake you want (I made four smallish ones at a time in my 10-inch skillet). Pancakes are ready to flip once a few bubbles appear on the surface and and the tops are starting to look dull. Flip and cook another minute or two.

If you wish, you can keep the pancakes warm in a very low oven while you cook the remaining batter.

Strawberry-Lemon Compote

1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
2 tablespoons sugar
strips of peel from one lemon (no pith!)
juice of one lemon
1 split vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*)
1/4 cup water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer until mixture is thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking time. Fish out the lemon peels and vanilla bean, and spoon compote over pancakes while still warm.

*If you are using vanilla extract, wait until the compote is done cooking, then add the vanilla at the very end.

Maple Butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup maple syrup

In a small saucepan, warm the maple syrup over low heat, then add the butter, one tablespoon at a time, whisking in thoroughly before adding the next pat. Serve immediately over pancakes.

1 comment:

jsgrant said...

This sounds great! I love maple syrup and butter on pancakes. But I also like fruit. And so I often warm up some unsweetened apple sauce with some maple syrup and right at the end stir in a pat of butter (the european kind with high butterfat content). This gives a lovely flavor and I pretend it's vaguely healthy!