I’ve wanted to make buckwheat pancakes for a long time. I finally made my dream come true Sunday morning.
Part of the reason it’s taken me so long to make the pancakes is because I couldn’t find buckwheat flour. It’s at Whole Foods! you might say. Or maybe you’ve seen it at other health food stores. You’re lucky because I couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t until I went to Local Harvest Grocery, a small organic grocery store near my work, that I found buckwheat.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with buckwheat, it’s essentially a plant that’s ground down into flour so you can use it in everyday cooking. In France, savory crêpes are usually make with buckwheat rather than all-purpose flour. It has a nutty, tangy, complex flavor. It’s very hearty and healthful.
At first, I was going to make pancakes using all buckwheat flour, but then I came across a recipe from Vivian Howard. I’m a big fan of Howard’s PBS series, “A Chef’s Life,” which delves into Southern cooking and culture. She said in her cookbook, Deep Run Roots, that her husband makes these pancakes every Sunday for her family. That was enough endorsement for me.
I’ve adapted the recipe somewhat to my tastes but I basically kept it the same. It combines buckwheat and all-purpose flour and uses A LOT of butter. Some of you might be tempted to sub in vegetable oil or another oil for the butter, but I’d strongly urge you not to do that. The butter makes the pancakes fluffy and soft AND it makes them turn golden brown around the edges when you fry them.
Also, full disclosure: I subbed in almond milk for buttermilk because I didn’t have any of the latter on hand. The pancakes still tasted great though.
These pancakes are extra delicious when you add blueberries to the batter but I bet they would also be good with bananas. Whatever you do, make sure you serve them with lots of maple syrup and extra pats of butter. Don’t doubt the butter; embrace it.
Here’s a song to get you started on your pancake-making journey. It comes to you courtesy of my youngest sister, who sent it to me Sunday to complement my “Dimanche vibes.”
Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes (adapted from Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
10 Tbsp butter, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups almond milk
blueberries to mix into the batter
maple syrup and more butter for serving
Whisk together the flour, buckwheat flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Melt two tablespoons of the butter and whisk it into the lightly beaten egg and almond milk in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Don’t overmix; the batter should be slightly lumpy.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and wait until it starts bubbling. Pour 1/4 cup pancake batter into the skillet at a time. Sprinkle some blueberries in the middle. Cook until little bubbles appear on the surface, about a minute and a half, and then flip and cook for another minute. Place cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with a tea towel to keep them warm.
Serve the pancakes with extra pats of butter and maple syrup. Enjoy!