Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Buckwheat Pancakes, Blueberry Compote

Buckwheat can go both ways: from adding a sublime depth of flavor to being overly heavy hippie food that's more focused on whole grains than good taste. I've had buckwheat pancakes that fall into both categories, but I think I've found a recipe that's worth sharing.

From the Anson Mills website, their buckwheat buttermilk pancakes with lemon butter and blueberry compote is worth the effort. The three parts of the recipe- lemon compound butter, blueberry compote and pancakes- too me a total of 45 minutes to prepare, and I'll be (happily) eating leftovers of the first two parts for the next couple of days.

Compound butters are a simple way of adding a little extra flavor in an unexpected way. Here, you add lemon zest, juice and a small amount of powdered sugar to soft butter and refrigerate it. The variations can be endless. At Eve restaurant, for example, they serve three compound butters with their bread at each table- an herb, a salmon, and a sweet one that I think is honey and cinnamon, though my memory could be mistaken.

I particularly liked this recipe for blueberry compote because the end result has blueberries of different textures- some cooked into a sauce and some that are added right before the end and allowed only to warm up, thus remaining their plump integrity. It calls for cinnamon, but star anise or cardamom would also be welcome substitutions.

The buckwheat buttermilk pancakes call for a slightly different preparation than what I'm used to seeing. The butter is melted, and some of the ghee is reserved for the cast iron skillet- nothing new there- but adding the buttermilk to the warm butter and warming them together slightly was a different approach. It could have the potential to separate if it got too hot, but a little whisking brought it back together, and it never got so hot that it would have scrambled the egg you whisk it into. With both baking soda and baking powder in the mix, the cakes puffed up beautifully.

Overall it was a fantastic Sunday morning breakfast, with a pot of nilgiri tea with cream and sugar nearby, some orange juice and Dr. Arwulf Arwulf providing the soundtrack on 89.1.

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