Thursday, September 5, 2013

sour cream pancakes with peaches and birch syrup

Right now the peaches are pretty unbelievable. To be clear, I write this not as someone who is picking peaches from an orchard down the road nor as someone who visits a weekly farmers market and has a supplier providing a beautiful heirloom variety (I genuinely wish either of those things were true). No, I say the peaches are pretty unbelievable because the box of peaches at Trader Joes this year are very good peaches.

I did not grow up eating good peaches. By the time they made it to Alaska, the fruit was either still crunchy green or ripe beyond saving. It took me a while to get used to the soft luscious texture of ripe fruit. But one of the benefits of life in southern California is great produce.

I was sleeping in on a Sunday morning when my husband texted me from the living room to say he was craving pancakes (such is modern life). Knowing I had a handful of peaches at that just perfect state of ripeness on the counter was the motivation I needed to get up.

The pancake recipe is from Ina Garten. Her recipe is originally for sour cream banana pancakes, but I have pretty strong feelings about bananas. I left the banana out and what remains is a perfection of a pancake: light, barely sweet, with a bit of sour cream tang.

When I was a kid I thought my mom was crazy for putting sour cream on her pancakes instead of butter. She would put a little dollop on and then drizzle the syrup over. She told us it was a perfect contrast to the sweetness of the syrup. She was so very very right (about this and a number of other things).

One of my favorite summer memories is making these pancakes for my mom during a July visit. Just as I suspected, she loved them too.

Recipe from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style Cookbook.

sour cream pancakes with peaches

recipe makes 12 pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk
2 extra-large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (I downgrade it to 1/4 teaspoon)
Unsalted butter

1) Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt all together into a medium bowl. Sifting seems like such a fiddly step until you don't do it and end up with a baking powder lump in your pancake.

2) In a separate bowl, whisk sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Next, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, taking care to mix only until combined.

3) In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Spoon the pancake batter into the pan (I find a 1/3 or 1/2 cup measuring cup perfect for this.) Once little bubbles begin to form and pop on the top, the pancake should be ready to flip (only takes a couple of minutes.) Flip the pancake and cook for another minute or so, until browned.

4) After each pancake, wipe out the pan, and add more butter for each fresh pancake. Continue cooking pancakes until all the batter is used.

5) Top each pancake with a dollop of sour cream, a scoop of diced fresh peaches and maple or birch syrup.

For topping:

4 ripe peaches, diced and tossed with a tablespoon of sugar
Maple or birch syrup
1 pint sour cream

Enjoy a wonderful breakfast with family !

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