I'm back (and the best pancakes ever)

I've been a bad blogger. I got home from Europe last week and only now am I putting up my first post. It's not as if I have a shortage of stories to share and I certainly have more than enough pictures (we took over 600). It's just that I moved into my new apartment on May 11th, left on the 17th and now that I'm back, we've been busy unpacking, installing doorknobs (and light fixtures and curtains), and taking a lot of trips to Target and The Container Store. Soon, very soon, we'll be nice and settled and then I'll really be back.

As a little preview of what's to come, I'll say that El Bulli was extraordinary. Out of this world. Better than I expected. I also promise to tell you about the pastries we ate in Paris, the gourmet food at a charming country inn in southeastern France that made me feel so far away from my frenetic New York life (until I found out that the owner is related to Florent Morellet from the popular 24-hour diner, Florent), and a visit to Girona, Spain for more extreme cuisine at an El Bulliesque restaurant.

I'm not sure when exactly I'll be able to start writing. Maybe in just a few more days?

Until then, I'll leave you with this recommendation. When Saturday rolls around, wake up early and make yourself a batch of what I believe are the best pancakes ever. Thanks to Luisa, I discovered these back in November. They couldn't have come at a better time since I had half a bag of fresh cranberries I needed to use up.

For Daniel's birthday this past Saturday, I made them once again, this time with blueberries. They were just as fluffy and melt-in-your-mouth good as the first time. A ½ cup of cornmeal makes them crunchier than a traditional flapjack (and a lot less sweet), but they're also completely fool-proof. Never have I had such success with a plate of pancakes. Seriously, after plopping the batter in a pan, topping it with blueberries and giving it a quick flip, I ended up with a plate piled high of these fat, fruit-filled disks.

If you happen to have any leftovers, don't even THINK of throwing them out. They taste just as good when reheated in the toaster. I should know. I had a plate for dinner that same night.

Cornmeal-Cranberry Pancakes
Makes about 24 4-inch pancakes
10 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks, plus more for greasing pan
2 cups milk
4 large eggs
2 cups flour
½ cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ¼ cups chopped fresh cranberries
Maple syrup

1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts. Set aside until lukewarm, about 15 minutes. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in ½ cup of the warm milk mixture (it cannot be hot, or it will cook the eggs). Pour in the remaining milk mixture and stir to combine. 2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring slowly, just until the dry ingredients are well moistened. The batter should be lumpy and will start to bubble. 3. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-high heat until a few drops of water sprinkled on it sizzle. Lightly grease the pan with butter, then add 3 to 4 tablespoons batter to make a 4-inch pancake. As soon as the batter sets, sprinkle the top with cranberries. Cook until bubbles break on the surface. Flip and cook for another 30 seconds, or until the bottom is lightly browned. Repeat, buttering the pan and adjusting the heat as needed. Serve with maple syrup.

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Patricia Scarpin said...

These pancakes look delicious, Lia - I have never tried pancakes with berries.

Lia said...

Patricia, you should definitely give them a try!

MyMyMichl said...

They sound delicious. I cannot wait to try them, But why goop them up with maple syrup? The maple flavor blots out the rest of the flavors. If you simply must have something sweet on top of them, may I suggest some thyme scented honey?

Welcome back,

Lia said...

MyMyMichl - Thyme scented honey sounds great. Do you make add the thyme to the honey yourself or buy it somewhere?


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