Mother’s Huckleberry Buttermilk Pancakes
3 cups all-purpose flour (See Love Note 1)
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil or clarified butter or for brushing griddle or pan
2 cups fresh or frozen huckleberries
1. Preheat oven to 200°F. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
2. In another mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs.
3. Slowly pour buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients while gently stirring and mix just until combined. (Don’t over-mix or you will activate the gluten in the flour and the pancakes will be chewy, like bread, instead of fluffy). The mixture will be a little lumpy (and that’s okay. If you have pockets of flour bigger than a dime, smash them against the side of the bowl to break them apart without having to stir the batter more). Pour in the melted butter and gently mix just until incorporated. (Sometimes melted butter solidifies when added to cold ingredients. Adding it now helps it disperse evenly in the batter and smooth out some of the lumps).
4. Place a griddle (See Love Note 2) or wide (preferably 14-inch) sauté pan over medium heat for several minutes. If using an electric griddle, set the heat to 350 °F.
5. Sprinkle griddle with a few drops of water; they should bounce around before evaporating. If they sizzle away quickly, the heat is too high. If they just sit there and slowly steam, the heat is too low. When the griddle is properly heated, brush with clarified butter or oil, then wipe with a paper towel so it’s evenly greased. (Big spots of oil or butter will promote uneven browning and your pancakes will have dark and light spots. Even if you have a non-stick griddle I wouldn’t skip this step.)
6. Use a 4-ounce ladle (See Love Note 3) to pour several 5- or 6-inch pools of batter onto the griddle, about an inch or two apart.
7. Evenly drop 2 tablespoons huckleberries in each pancake as it cooks, before flipping.
8. Cook until bubbles begin to pop on the surface of the pancakes, the edges look a little dry, and the underside is golden, about 2 minutes (Try not to flip before they’re ready, because the more you flip the cakes back and forth the less fluffy they will be). Flip them over and continue cooking until pancakes are cooked through, about 1 minute more. (If the undersides of the pancakes are browning or burning before the surface of pancakes get a chance to form bubbles and dry out, the heat is too high. If it’s taking much longer than 2 or 3 minutes for the bubbles to form, the heat is too low).
9. Repeat with the remaining batter. Keep pancakes warm on a heat-safe platter or baking sheet in the oven.
10. Serve topped with softened or whipped butter and maple syrup.
1. While some people like their pancakes thick and rib-sticking, I like my pancakes thin and light so they won’t sit in my stomach like a lump. But everyone’s got an opinion, Try cooking up two pancakes and see how you like them. If you want yours a little thicker, stir in ½ cup to 1 cup more flour.
2. Old-fashioned ovens often had griddles built right in to the cook top. That’s not a common feature in ranges these days. Luckily there are many different griddles you can buy to put on your stove, from heavy cast iron to lightweight nonstick aluminum. Some sit on just one burner, some are elongated to stretch across two, or there are electric models that plug in, sit on the countertop, and allow you to set a precise temperature.
3. Ladles come in all sorts of standard sizes, from 1-ounce to 12-ounce, which helps measure as you serve. At Mother’s we use a 6-ounce ladle, which holds about ¾ cup of batter. That makes a big, plate-sized pancake, but it’s likely too big to be practical at home. Instead use a 4-ounce (1/2 cup) ladle, which makes 6-inch pancakes. To find out how many ounces your ladle is, fill it with water, pour water into a measuring cup, and read the results. If you don’t have a ladle that’s the right size, use a dry measuring cup to scoop the batter.