In walking out to the coop these past couple of mornings my thoughts turned to pancakes. I don’t make pancakes often, but on the first weekend of fall they’re exactly what I crave. Fall raspberries are in abundance at the farmer’s market so I decided to make my favorite cornmeal pancakes sweetened with berries.
What makes these cornmeal cakes special, beyond adding a couple of freshly laid eggs to the batter, is the extra step of slightly cooking the cornmeal first. I’ve never been a fan of baked goods where the cornmeal adds particles of grit, like something the chickens would like. Instead, these cakes are thin, delicate and light, almost a cross between crepes and pancakes. For even smoother pancakes you can let the batter rest overnight, making them easier to make in the morning.
These cakes are perfect with just a sprinkling of powdered sugar and extra berries or better yet a light drizzle of superb real maple syrup like the Pure New York Maple Syrup made by the family of my friend Kathy.
FRESH RASPBERRY CORNMEAL PANCAKES
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½ cup cornmeal, finely stone-ground if available
2 cups milk, low fat or skim milk is fine
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut up
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
dash of salt
canola oil for frying
2 cups fresh raspberries
Dump the cornmeal into a large glass measuring cup and slowly whisk in 1 ½ cups of the milk. Add the butter and heat in the microwave on high until the milk comes to a boil. This will take 1 to 2 minutes or more depending on your microwave; but watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over. Once the milk is hot, the cornmeal will begin to cook and thicken so immediately whisk until the butter is melted. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup milk and pour into a large bowl. Let the mixture cool slightly, stirring often.
Quickly whisk in the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until the batter is smooth. The pancakes can be made immediately or the batter can be covered and refrigerated overnight for smoother pancakes. Either way is fine.
Heat a griddle to 350°F. or a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush generously with oil. (No nonstick spray please, while perfect for many things, with pancakes it will bake onto your griddle or nonstick pan and you’ll never be able to get them clean.) Pour a scant ¼ cup of batter on the griddle and scatter a few raspberries over each pancake. Cook until the bubbles have formed and popped and the underside is golden brown. Carefully turn; the pancakes are delicate so use a large spatula to get underneath the entire cake. Cook until the underside is golden. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar and accompanied by maple syrup.
Makes about 20 pancakes
Copyright Janice Cole 2008