My dad used to make the best pancakes. On the weekend, he would heat up the griddle and prepare a batch. He would open a box of Bisquick and assign me the duty of mixing the batter until it was just combined and the clumps were dissolved. (Yes, we ate pancakes from a box and I don’t regret it one bit.). I remember stealing tastes of the batter as we waited for the griddle to heat up. Once it was ready, he would make piles of quarter-sized pancakes for me and bigger ones for everyone else. I loved how the small coin-sized pancakes were crisp and easy to eat by hand. I always ate them plain, no butter, maple syrup or sauce on top. Neither did I care for any additions like berries, banana or chocolate chips cooked into the batter. I saw these as inconveniences which would just get in the way of the pancakes themselves.
Fast forward fifteen years and my taste for pancakes has gone through quite the revolution since my Bisquick days. It wasn’t until my adult years that I started experimenting with pancakes beyond the box. I started with blueberry pancakes and banana pancakes. I moved on to cornmeal, chocolate chip oatmeal, lemon poppy seed, and my absolute favorite, pumpkin pancakes. Another favorite has to be buckwheat. I absolutely adore the robust flavor of buckwheat in pancakes as well as crepes (pictured to the left). My palette has tasted it’s fair share of buckwheat pancake recipes and my favorite by far is a modified version from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. While I love the original version, I’ve adapted it below for those sensitive to typical wheat flours or dairy. If this is not an issue for you, feel free to use all-purpose flour (in place of the spelt), cow’s milk and butter instead. If you make any plans this next week, please let it include these pancakes. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
2/3 cup spelt flour
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup non-dairy buttermilk (*see below)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp unsweetened original almond milk
1 large egg, separated
2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter, melted and cooled sightly
2 cups frozen blueberries
1 tsp pure maple syrup
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.
Make the non-dairy buttermilk by mixing together 3/4 cup of unsweetened original almond milk and 3/4 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or distilled vinegar. Combine the non-dairy buttermilk and remaining almond milk (1/4 cup + 2 tbsp) into a large Pyrex measuring cup or medium bowl. Whisk the egg white into the milk mixture. In a smaller bowl, mix the egg yolk and melted Earth Balance. Add the yolk mixture to the milk mixture. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined (do not overmix!). The batter will be pretty thick.
Heat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick spray (butter or oil also works). Allow the skillet or griddle to heat up before adding the batter. Once ready to go, ladle 1/4 cupfuls into the skillet. When the top starts to bubble and the underside is browned (2-3 minutes), flip them. Cook for approximately 1-2 minutes more until the second side is browned. Spray griddle between batches to keep them from sticking.
Meanwhile, prepare the blueberry sauce by heating the frozen berries and maple syrup in a small sauce pan over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, covered, until the juice from the berries has time to thicken.
Serve warm, with blueberry sauce, a pat of butter, or pure maple syrup.
I recommend trying a version with blueberries or bananas, which are both excellent. While we often top ours with blueberry sauce or maple syrup, my favorite is plain with a little butter on top.