I have a special thorn in my side for this recipe, which to this day remains my most-requested dish when I have guests. Once upon a time when yours truly was attached, I set out to make a recipe that beat IHoP’s. Little did I know that once I perfected the sweet syrupy goodness it would be the beginning of the end of “date night”, as now that I could recreate almost any dish he loved at home there was no real need to venture outside, right?
Anyway, after living on my own for a bit I realized that as much as other people loved my pancakes, I didn’t love them. They were just too sweet. Rather than abandon them entirely I decided to come up with a recipe that I’d be delighted in serving and eating, which required quite a bit of playing around.
There was the question of how much sugar, which I ended up reducing from a third to a quarter-cup. They ended up tasting a bit…empty (I prefer mine to not need syrup) and in need of a topping to balance it out. I added a bit of vanilla to the batter, but needed something to round out the flavor. I settled on a hint of lemon after randomly coming across a recipe for ricotta pancakes (which would have been perfect for the berries, but I wanted a recipe that didn’t involve me having to run to the store in pj’s). Turns out it makes a hearty, complete flavor mix when topped with a not-very-sweet-at-all mix of berries cooked in balsamic vinegar and a healthy dollop of crème fraiche in lieu of whipped cream. I could very literally eat these every day. Except for date night, that is.
Buttermilk Pancakes with Balsamic Berry Compote (Click HERE to Print)
Prep time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
1 ¼ Cup All-Purpose Flour (I prefer a mix of 1 cup Lily White and ¼ cup Whole Wheat)
1 heaping tsp Baking Powder
1 LEVEL tsp Baking Soda
¼ tsp Salt
1 ¼ Cup Chilled Buttermilk
¼ Cup Vegetable Oil
¼ Cup Sugar (I use Sugar in the Raw)
1 Large Egg
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
½ tsp Lemon Zest (optional)
1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Berry Mix
1 tbsp Good-Quality Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Water
1 Stick of Cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
Rinse and drain berries. In a non-reactive saucepan combine sugar, water, cinnamon stick and balsamic vinegar. If using fresh berries add to saucepan and keep over low heat. If using frozen berries, allow balsamic mixture to come to a boil over medium heat, add berries and lower flame once the mixture has returned to a boil. Simmer over low heat 15-25 minutes or until blueberries begin to burst and the liquid has reduced to syrup; remove cinnamon stick and set aside. If the mixture has reduced too far, add water by the teaspoon until desired consistency.
While the berries are cooking, prepare pancakes. Combine first four ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and whisk until sugar has dissolved. Make a well in dry ingredients and add the buttermilk mixture; stir until JUST combined (the lumps serve a purpose, I promise!). Allow to rest for five minutes.
On a griddle or large shallow pan, heat over medium heat until a drop of water instantly sizzles on the surface. Coat with oil of choice (I use butter) and add pancake mix in ¼ cup increments, making sure to leave space between. Flip as soon as you see bubbles start to form, about 1 ½ -2 minutes. Serve immediately with compote, top with whipped cream or crème fraiche.