Sunday, July 10, 2011

Freakishly Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes

Mornings are my favorite time of day. So naturally Sunday mornings are the ultimate for me. There is nothing more amazing and refreshing about waking up with the sun beaming through your window, and  your kids jumping on your bed and knowing you don't have to rush anywhere. You can wake up and enjoy the moment. Pancakes are so easy to make (no, I'm not talking about the shake and pour kind) and they are so comforting on a Sunday morning. My favorites are blueberries. They add just the right amount of extra flavor and sweetness without taking over the spotlight the way chocolate chips would.
These are not heavy, not doughy. They are pillows of heaven.
These pancakes really evolved for me. They started out as Martha Stewart blueberry pancakes. But over time I tweaked them here and there, and I think I am pretty much the closest I have ever been to the ultimate fluffy pancakes.

First of all I decided that melted butter in most recipes really weighs down the batter. So I got rid of it. So you can probably guess that I hate buttermilk pancakes. I prefer good old fresh milk. It keeps the batter silky and rich without the heavy flavor. Second of all I add an extra dose of baking powder. That was actually probably the first tweak. Oh yea and NO SALT. I think that salt in any dessert makes it taste like you bought it at the supermarket. Very commercial. Trust me, omit the salt and your desserts will taste insanely homemade. And the real secret here is in the eggs. I separate the eggs, beat the yolks with the milk till they are bubbly and airy. And I beat the egg whites with the sugar (just like making a meringue) till soft peaks form. The result is an extravagantly whipped airy perfection that I then fold into the rest of the batter. Another important tip is that I never mix in the blueberries before they are on the grill. You guessed it, it weighs the batter down. When it comes to start making the pancakes, I never pour. If you pour the liquid that doesn't make it to the pan will fall back into your bowl or cup and get heavy. The trick is that you want to disturb the batter as little as possible once all the ingredients are mixed. So use a classic ladle and gently scoop out the amount needed and put them on the hot pan. When putting your blueberries in, don't drop them on. Gently place them scattered around the pancake.

 Once they are cooking, DO NOT TOUCH THEM. Don't even check them. Wait till you see lots of bubbles at the top and the edges of the bottom start to get golden. Then flip them. The same with the other side. No patting them down with your spatula, no moving them around. Just let them do their magic. You will see them rise to unbelievable heights. And then when you take them off the heat. Let them sit for about 5-10 minutes to let any excess steam escape. Because steam = liquid = weight. Now, a little note I should mention to you. I never believe in first pancakes. The first pancake always comes out wrong. I don't exactly know why, but its always the odd one out. So no worries if your first pancake is a flop. :-p
When you cut into them you will see a world of fluffy goodness. Trust me the little extra time is so worth it, and you will never go back to plain old hot cakes again.

Freakishly Fluffy Blueberry Pancakes
Makes 8 medium pancakes

2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3 tbsp. sugar
3 eggs separated
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tbsp. butter, for greasing the pan.

In a bowl sift the flour, baking powder and baking soda and set aside. In another bowl whisk the egg yolks with the milk until lightly frothy. Beat the egg whites using a whisk attachment on medium- high speed for 1 minute. Lower the speed and sprinkle in the sugar. Raise the speed and let it beat for 3-5 minutes or until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle the flour mixture onto the egg yolk and milk mixture and whisk to combine and eliminate any lumps after each addition. After all the flour is mixed in, using a rubber spatula, gradually fold in the egg white mixture, careful not to break the air. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter is melted, using a ladle, scoop out batter filling 3/4 of the ladle and pour them into the center of the pan. Don't tilt the pan. Let the batter spread by itself. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until there are lots of bubbles on top and the edges of the bottom are lightly golden. Gently flip the pancakes and cook for another minute or so until golden. Let the pancakes rest for 10 minutes before eating.

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