Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Unfortunately during the week it is always rushed but at the weekends I really enjoy having a late leisurely breakfast with my family. One of my favourite meals to make for breakfast is pancakes. Pancakes are to Canadians like a fry is to the Irish. It’s what you would get for breakfast if you were a guest in a Canadian home. They are always served with real Canadian maple syrup and in my house they are generally made with blueberries. My husband has even been treated to pancakes made with wild Canadian blueberries that we picked fresh in the morning at my family’s lakeside cottage in Canada.
Making pancakes is pretty straightforward; all it takes is a hot pan and some pancake batter but there are a few tips to getting your pancakes perfect. First you need a good pancake recipe. Don’t be fooled in to buying a pre-made mix. It is just as easy to make your own from scratch and they will taste so much better. My favourite recipe to use is Nigella Lawson’s recipe for American Breakfast Pancakes. Okay, don’t say it. Yes, I know I’m Canadian. It’s not my fault that she named the recipe after another country that also loves pancakes. If I have buttermilk on hand, I like to supplement this for the milk in the recipe. Buttermilk gives the pancakes a lovely flavour. If doing this, you need to add a little more buttermilk than what the recipe calls for (at least 50mls) as it is thicker than ordinary milk.
Next, when you have your batter mixed, you want to leave it stand for a couple of minutes so that it thickens nicely. This allows the baking powder to work, which makes the pancakes nice and fluffy. I generally heat my pan while I’m allowing the batter to thicken. You want the pan to be nice and hot before adding the batter. Also, it helps to mix your batter up in a bowl that you can pour from when it comes time to cook. It makes things a bit less messy.
Finally, I add the blueberries once the batter is poured in the pan and air bubbles are starting to form on top of the pancakes, then I flip them over. I find that adding the berries at this stage allows for a more even distribution throughout the pancakes. Unless you have a seriously big pan, you will have to make a few batches of pancakes before they are ready to serve. I find either popping the hot pancakes in a oven to stay warm or zapping them in the microwave before serving ensures they are always piping hot for your guests.
Last but most importantly, the perfect companion to pancakes is of course maple syrup. I always have a big jug in my refrigerator (I have a Canadian supplier). The maple syrup would be cold if served straight from the fridge so I always pour some into a pouring jug and heat it up in the microwave. In addition to maple syrup, there is also no harm in adding some breakfast sausages or bacon on the side to enjoy with the pancakes. In Canada, you would find peameal bacon (also known as Canadian bacon) alongside a plate of pancakes.
On Sunday morning, I whipped up a batch of blueberry buttermilk pancakes with Canadian maple syrup and Irish streaky rashers for my family to enjoy. They were delicious. Pancakes and maple syrup always remind me of visiting the sugar bush and going to maple syrup festivals in Canada as a kid. It is something that is very unique to our country and something I would recommend doing once in your lifetime if you happen to be visiting Canada at the right time of year when the sap starts to run from the trees.
Updated – I have added the recipe for my Canadian Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes to my blog.