All of the finalists in the National Cornbread Cook-off were sent home with a really nice gift basket, chock-full of logo-wear and products from Martha White Cornmeal and Lodge Cast-Iron Skillets. This was much nicer than the disappointing pat on the back and "Thanks for trying . Be sure to enter again next year!" send off that you get with some competitions. In fact, thanks to this adventure, over the past four months I have gone from owning zero cast-iron pieces of cookware to owning five, one of which produces corn muffins in the shape of little cacti (eat your heart out Martha).
One of the things included along with the requisite t-shirt, apron, mug, and key-chain, was a large bag of Martha White cornmeal. Although I thought that I would go several weeks without the desire to eat anything corn-related, I decided to make pancakes this morning, and adding a little bit of cornmeal to the batter always makes then nice and crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It also provides a slight crunch and nutty taste. I even prepared them in my skillet before I retired it to the cabinets for a well deserved vacation.
The butter served with the pancakes is a compound butter, or softened butter that has been mixed with flavorings like spices, nuts, or herbs. I love adding a little orange zest, sun-dried tomatoes, or maple syrup to butters and then spreading it over warm rolls, vegetables, or grilled steak. The honey-pecan and cinnamon flavors in this butter add a nice touch to these already delicious pancakes. Here are some tips for these blueberry and pecan packed pancakes:
- If using frozen blueberries, in order to prevent turning the batter blue, try dropping the blueberries onto the pancakes after you pour the batter onto the griddle. Alternatively, be extra careful when folding the blueberries into the batter.
- For an extra rich flavor, use a high-quality European style butter (such as Plugra) for the Pecan Honey Butter.
- To make this recipe lower in fat and calories, use a low-fat sour cream and low-fat (1% or 2% milk). Substitute 2 egg whites and 1 whole egg for the 2 whole eggs.
- Add the zest of one lemon to the batter for some bright citrus flavor.
Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes with Pecan Honey-Butter
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
Pure maple syrup
With an electric mixer, beat the 1/2 cup butter, honey, and cinnamon in a small bowl until fluffy. Stir in the pecans and season with salt.
Sift the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, oil, and vanilla. Gradually add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients until blended. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Brush the griddle with melted butter. Pour the batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto the griddle. Cook until the bottoms brown, 3-4 minutes, and then flip the pancakes and cook until the second side browns, about 2 minutes longer.
Serve the pancakes topped with the pecan honey butter and warm maple syrup.