buttermilk cornmeal pancakes with warm Cherry sauce
Earlier this season I was asked to participate in the Northwest Cherries ~ Tree to Table campaign, bringing dishes from chefs around the country to our tables at home. I said Yes, and then…life threw a few curve balls our way. I caught a couple balls but sadly dropped the cherries. Luckily (for us in the NW anyway) our produce stands are still teeming with beautiful cherries so I thought I’d bring you breakfast.
I’m still hoping to bring you one gorgeous dessert from a phenomenal chef, famous in these parts, but recently I’ve learned, while keeping hopes high, it’s best to keep promises to a minimum.
These are whole-grain pancakes made with cornmeal and white whole wheat flour, and it’s buttermilk that keeps them deliciously tender. They’re topped with a seductive warm cherry sauce scented with orange and cloves. It seems to me a fitting breakfast for this time of year caught between warm summer days and crisp fall mornings.
Cornmeal Pancakes with Warm Cherry Sauce
- 1 cup medium-grind (or fine to medium-) stone ground cornmeal (4 oz.)
- ½ cup white whole wheat flour (2.25 ounces)
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ cups lowfat buttermilk
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups sweet pitted cherries (about 10 ounces – do not thaw if using frozen)
- ¼ cup water (+ 1 Tablespoon later)
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (from about 1 orange)
- 3 whole cloves
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* You may have noticed…I generally have a preference for mixing varieties of fruit when cooking with them. I think it’s visually more appealing, but more important I think the flavor profile is broadened and deepened…what one variety lacks, another makes up for. For this sauce, I used Bing and Rainier cherries.
In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and then whisk in buttermilk and olive oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. (Don’t over mix or your tender cakes will turn tough. There should be lumps.) Set aside for 15 minutes – or longer if need be, but not less than.
If you’re going to be making the pancakes all at once and then serving everyone together, place a large baking sheet in a 200°F oven, on the middle rack.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, cover partially, and set aside for the flavors to marry.
Cooking the Pancakes: Preheat a cast iron skillet, or a griddle, over medium to medium high heat. When water dances wildly and evaporates quickly, the pan is ready. Prepare the pancakes, using ¼ cup batter apiece. Flip when edges are dry and bottoms are a golden brown, about 2 minutes. Cook about 1 minute on the flip side. (Reduce heat if pancakes begin to brown too quickly.) To keep them warm, place them single file on the baking sheet. (Stacking would make them soggy.)
To finish the sauce, mix cornstarch with 1 Tablespoon water. Add to the pot with the cherries, and return to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir gently with a rubber spatula, being careful not to crush the cherries. Continue cooking until sauce has thickened and looks bright and clear.
Serve (and of course eat) right away.
Printer friendly pancakes, click here.
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(This recipe modified only slightly from one by Maria Speck in Ancient Grains for Modern Meals )
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