Cast Iron Cooking: Blueberry Walnut Buttermilk Pancakes

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Blueberry Pancakes

Are you like me, a city girl who thought cast iron cooking was “old fashioned” only for certain southern dishes, just not done any more now that we have our super duper all clad or YUCK teflon pans. Do you think cast iron pans are grandmother cookware that only works with a wood burning stove, or are just rusty, old, heavy pans that belong in yard sales?

I am here to make a confession. This was my thinking and when got married I wanted to slim down the “stuff” we were putting into one household. I made my husband get rid of his cast iron. I will never live it down, because I now am the owner of six cast iron pans that I use all the time. All were inherited or given to us second hand except for one Lodge cast iron frying pan I purchased new on sale for $15. This doesn’t include our two enameled cast iron dutch ovens. These are now a happy family.

Over the next few months, I am here to make restitution to cast iron, by delivering to you a series called cast iron cooking. If my husband would have known how to take one of those pans and cook some pancakes or seared scallops, or an oven baked steak or roast chicken, I would have changed my mind. I’ve asked why he didn’t defend the pans that he cherished, and he said, “I didn’t know enough myself. I knew they were supposed to be good, but I didn’t know why.” He wanted to keep them for sentimental reasons, remembering that his grandmothers used this type of cookware, but they cooked on wood burning stoves in the hills of Tennessee, and this alone elicits some mysterious knowledge of cooking that is foreign to us today.

So because he figured I would not ever embrace the cooking of “yesterday,” he got rid of the pans, except for one griddle. He hid it, just not able to part with it. He brought it out when we wanted to make pizza in a 500 degree oven, and then we realized we both had misjudged cast iron, and we had a lot to learn.

If this is you, and your about to get rid of your grandmother’s cast iron, or you think you need to spend a thousand dollars to have the “right” pots and pans as a verified foodie or food blogger or passionate home cook, maybe I can help to change your mind.

I will share with you what to purchase, although in truth, you will find people who will just hand you their cast iron. That’s how I got mine. They don’t want it for the same reasons I didn’t. I’ll show you how to clean it up, share with you my methods for storing, seasoning and cooking.

These blueberry pancakes were cooked on a cast iron griddle that only a few weeks ago was given to me by a neighbor. A few swipes with course steel wool, and a oven-oiled seasoning and it was good enough to join it’s family.

Purple Food: Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes – A Throw Down Between the Fresh and Frozen
I was swept away with the blueberry pancakes on a recent throw down, as Bobby Flay challenged Clinton Street Bakery. A few things I was able to gather from watching the episode was to separate the eggs, and fold in the egg white peaks at the end and to use plenty of blueberries. Bobby’s recipe is available through the food network, but once he added lemon and ricotta cheese, he lost me.

I think Bobby Flay is an amazing savory cook, but when he gets himself involved in sweet throw downs, he often goes way overboard with too many ingredients, but i understand he is trying to win and he has to be different. He’s Bobby Flay. But the pancakes I drooled over were from Clinton Street Baking Company, so out I set to make my own.

This fits into my serious on purple food, and blueberries are one of the big super foods.

The Process
One thing they both discussed was not turning the batter blue. I started with Wild Maine frozen Blueberries, and I ended up with a blue batter. Now this does not bother me at all, nor did it bother my judges. But, I tried again with fresh blueberries, repeating everything exactly the same, and my batter stayed it’s beautiful “batter yellow” color. l

Egg whites separately beaten and folded in to fluff up the pancakes, and buttermilk, my favorite addition to cakes and pancakes. The egg whites will form a very thick batter that you will scoop onto the pan, not pour. Give the pancakes plenty of time to cook through.

You can see some differences between using frozen and using fresh blueberries. Even if you add the frozen (thawed) blueberries to the batter after you put pancake in pan, it still tends to turn the batter blue.

The pancakes on the left are made with frozen; the pancakes on the right with fresh blueberries.

This batter will be thick because of the folded egg whites.


Fresh blueberries or frozen, you will love these fluffy pancakes. The addition of walnuts turns these pancakes into a double super food breakfast.

Recipe  for Blueberry Walnut Buttermilk Pancakes(Adapted from the Food Network, Inspired by the Food Network Throw Down)
Ingredients

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour or all-purpose
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, plus some for frying
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
  • 2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • canola oil for the griddle

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together in on bowl. Add buttermilk, vanilla, melted butter. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold in gently. Add blueberries.
  3. Spoon onto a medium heated griddle. Once pancakes start bubbling, turn over.

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