Or, Nick’s recipe for fluffy blueberry pancakes.
Recipe adulterated from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s rather more prosaic and healthy “wholemeal drop scones” and inspired by watching huge amounts of Gilmore Girls on DVD over Christmas.
Yes, that’s Gilmore Girls, with its horrific soft-focus yellowed-white-balance small-town-America sleeves and its gentle family comedy-drama, ought to be television anathema to me. This is not Battlestar Galactica. This is not 24. This is not CSI:NY. This is not Silent Witness.
But actually its TV catnip to both me and my wife. Maybe its the casual references to Fugazi, Belle & Sebastian, Slint, XTC, Wu-Tang Clan, and The Cure. Maybe it’s the bizarre characters who function as meta-in-jokes (the guy who seemingly works every menial job in town; Grant Lee Buffalo dude busking every so often). Maybe it’s the fact that the cross-generational daughter-mother-grandmother dynamic is observed so well, with so much feeling and nuance, passive-aggression and all.
Friends had been recommending Gilmore Girls to Emma for ages but we’d dismissed it because of the covers. It couldn’t be any good, surely? But it is.
Anyway. At Luke’s Diner they eat a lot of pancakes, of with blueberries in them. Seemingly at 7am every morning, when it’s light already and the whole town is awake and already in work. I get into work at ten to nine every day. American fascinates me.
So I’ve been making blueberry pancakes. They’re great. As human beings we don’t really eat blue food so they may freak you out a little, but I’m sure you’ll get used to it. Here’s how I make ’em.
• 125g plain flower
• Heaped teaspoon baking powder
• Pinch sea salt
• 20g caster sugar
• 1 large egg
• 140ml milk
• 25g butter, melted
• A knob of butter
• A handful of blueberries
Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and pinch of salt into a big mixing bowl, and give it a good whisking just with a spoon; this saves you having to sieve the flour; sieving just aerates it, and so does this. It also mixes it.
Whisk in the egg, with a proper whisk (I use an electric handheld one), slowly adding the milk as you go. Then add the melted butter; this will make the mixture go all smooth and delicious and awesome looking. Possibly it emulsifies; I dunno.
(Aside: I’m listening to Sowiesoso by Cluster as I’m typing this, and there’s a small piano melody in track 4, Umleitung, barely 3 notes, which really reminds me now, post-Christmas, of the Vince Guaraldi Charlie Brown Christmas album; it’s awesome.)
Then, add in a good handful of blueberries, and gently stir them in with a spoon. I use frozen ones; we tend to keep some in. Let the mixture stand for a bit so they can defrost; I often make it in the evening and fridge it to make breakfast with the next day, but blueberries are small and you’ll want your pan hot, so they’ll be fine if you need pancakes fast and don’t have fresh to hand.
So now you get your pan hot, and use that knob of butter to grease it. Just a little knob, don’t be ashamed boys.
How big do you want your pancake to be? Dollop that much batter in, blueberries and all, and spread it around. It’ll rise a little, but not too much; just enough to be fluffy. Don’t spread it too thin, though; these are more like Scotch pancakes or drop scones or, hopefully, dirty great American diner pancakes.
You can toss if you want to; I tend to flip. It’s easier, and it can get gloopy with all the blueberries if you time it wrong. I always flip regular thin English pancakes, though. Because I have skills. These are ready to flip when bubbles start popping on the top side, and you can slide your spatula underneath.
And that’s it. Fluffy blueberry pancakes. Serve them how you like; golden syrup, maple syrup, a sprinkle of sugar and a squeeze of lemon (my favourite; the acidity does great things to blueberries). Emma likes them plain. Either way, Lorelai Gilmore would approve.