Cultural note that has little relevance to this blog post but that will tie in, I promise:
I remember sitting in a hostel in Spain explaining to an English aquaintance why I prefer French toast to pancakes. “French toast,” I explained, “doesn’t just absorb all the syrup and get soggy, whereas pancakes do. That’s why French toast is better.” My friend looked at me, completely dumbfounded as to what I was talking about. I asked if she knew what French toast was. She shook her head. OMG. This girl is missing out. I LOVE French toast. It’s so delicious. I talk her through the cooking process and her face lights up. “Oh! Eggy bread!”
Yeah, that’s what she called it. And then, here’s the kicker. Her face scrunches up in horror and she gasps. “You eat eggy bread with syrup?”
“Yeah, what else would you eat it with?”
Get ready for this, fellow American readers. “Ketchup!! We eat it with ketchup!!” Now it was my turn to scrunch my face up in horror.
And out of this conversation was born French Toast / Eggy Bread night, in which we made up a batch of this delicious treat and served it with two bowls – one filled with syrup, and another with ketchup. We tasted each other’s version and agreed that we preferred our own country’s way of serving it.
All that to say, as a general rule, I do prefer French Toast to pancakes, for exactly the reasons I told Kate. Pancakes, first of all, are generally tasteless. And, when you add syrup (ahem, yes, syrup) they get all soggy. Tasteless, soggy, overly sweet – there just isn’t much good to say about these things. But then I found Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe for blueberry pancakes, and I had to admit, I was tempted. They looked good. And as I made them, they smelled good. And when I ate them, I was floored. They even tasted good! In fact, they tasted delicious. I’m not going to lie. Best. Pancakes. Ever. The blueberries completed the pancake experience. They give them texture and add a burst of flavor to every bite. And they’re even better than French Toast.
Serving suggestion: use real maple syrup, not ketchup.
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vegetable oil (or PAM)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries
Combine the wet ingredients and whisk until combined. Whisk dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour in the buttermilk mixture and stir very gently with a spatula until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not overmix.
Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 tsp oil (or PAM) and brush to coat skillet bottom evenly. Pour batter into pan by 1/4 cupfuls.
Sprinkle blueberries over each pancake. Drizzle pancake with a bit more additional batter.
Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately with syrup (and fresh whipped cream if you have it!).