A childhood classmate loved to tell the story of the first time we met. We must have been in kindergarten or first grade and our mothers had arranged for us to carpool together. On the first day of the carpool, in the story my friend tells, I jumped in the backseat of the car with him and proudly exclaimed, “I just ate 100 pancakes.”
Every time I think about this story, I want to go back in time and give that little girl a pat on the back and an “atta girl.” It’s obviously a completely exaggerated claim, but I like the gumption (and the appetite) behind it. My carpool friend didn’t have the same reaction. He found the thought that anyone would eat 100 pancakes, let alone boast about it, a bit unsettling. In his words, “I thought you were terrifying.”
His repulsion did not turn me off pancakes and to this day, when pancakes are on the table, my stack is always the highest. I never miss the opportunity to order pancakes when I see them on a menu and I like to think that I know a thing or two about them. Which is why I was shocked when I stumbled across a recipe for beer pancakes in Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cookbook.
I picked up my copy of this classic years ago in a used bookstore and was flipping through it this past weekend. I love looking through older cookbooks as I’m always amazed by how much has changed in the world of food.*
Take rumaki. Chicken livers folded over water chestnuts are then wrapped with bacon and scallion before marinating in soy sauce, ground ginger, and curry powder. Broiled right before serving, Claiborne writes “this appetizer has become almost as popular as pizza pie in metropolitan America but it is still worth repeating.” It’s the “almost as popular as pizza pie” that gets me. I’ve never heard of rumaki.
But I digress. Along with the recipe for rumaki, which I’m thinking I’m going to have to try, there was also a recipe for beer pancakes. Yes, beer. In pancakes. I had to make them and with the addition of 1 cup of fresh blueberries, I got these pancakes. And they are good. Like good enough to have 100 of them. Happy cooking!
*Looking for a great read about how much food has changed in the United States over the past several decades? Check out The United States of Arugula: The Sun Dried, Cold Pressed, Dark Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution. Interested in Claiborne and his role in America’s food revolution? His memoir, A Feast Made for Laughter, is a delicious read. ________________
Beer and Blueberry Pancakes – Printer Friendly Recipe
Makes 8 (5-inch) pancakes
Adapted from “Beer Pancakes” in Craig Claiborne’sThe New York Times Cookbook
I made these pancakes on a” breakfast for dinner” night and as a result I used New Belgium’s Skinny Dip blonde amber ale for the beer as that is what I wanted to drink with my meal. It worked great, imbibing my pancakes with a faint taste of yeast and giving them great fluff, although any light beer will work just fine in this recipe.
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ tablespoon granulated sugar
1 large egg, separated
½ cup beer
¾ cup whole milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted plus more for greasing griddle
1 cup blueberries
For serving: butter, Lyle’s Golden Syrup (my favorite) or maple syrup
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Beat the egg yolk in a medium bowl and stir in the beer, milk, and butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Beat the egg white until stiff with a whisk by hand or use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Gently fold the egg white into the batter. Stir in the blueberries.
Heat a griddle or large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Brush the griddle with a little butter and drop about 1/3 cup of batter onto the griddle. Bake until the surface of the pancake is covered with small holes and then turn over with a spatula. Cook until the other side is brown. Serve hot and stacked high with a pat of butter and Lyle’s Golden Syrup (my personal choice) or maple syrup. Eat. Enjoy. Get seconds.