Last Wednesday, Muslims around the world celebrated the end of Ramadan. The first three days after Ramadan are called Eid Al-Fitr and are spent celebrating the completion of 30 days of fasting and a period of intensive worship. Most Muslims celebrate with plenty of food, time with family and visiting friends. Unfortunately, Eid here in Cuxhaven, Germany was pretty boring and most Muslims seemed to have just gone to work as usual that day. Honestly, it seemed like just another day. My husband had the second day of Eid off and in order to make it a little more special than an ordinary day, we had a weekday brunch at noon! I asked the hubby if he had any requests and he said “something American.” To me, that equates to pancakes with real maple syrup (not the cheap, fake stuff). Thankfully, one of the grocery stores here stocks Canadian maple syrup…so we can have maple-y goodness on our pancakes. My husband, who has only lived in Libya and Europe, actually never tasted pancakes until after we were married. I’m pretty sure they are now his favorite breakfast food because he requests them pretty often. For some reason the word “pancake” will not stick in his vocabulary, so he just requests an “American breakfast” (actually he says it in Arabic and asks for “ftoor Amreekee”) when he wants them. I once made French toast when he requested “ftoor Amreekee” and he asked me where the round cakes with blueberries were, lol. So clearly, “ftoor Amreekee” means pancakes.
I usually make blueberry pancakes for us, but I decided to change it up for Eid Al-Fitr and I used some lovely Georgia pecans that I bought in America when I was visiting my family last month and brought back with me. Since Georgia and Alabama pecans are my favorite nuts, I use any excuse to include them in a recipe! Before moving to Germany, I was always lazy and used Aunt Jemima pancake mix. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?), pancake mix is not available here and I have to make my pancakes from scratch. Luckily, I have found the fluffiest buttermilk pancake recipe and will never go back to pancake mix even if it was available! The pancakes are about an inch thick, which allows for the perfect amount of syrup to seep into the pancake, and they have a lovely, light texture. Look at how thick this beautiful stack of three pancakes is.
The recipe is so easy and you can make it with ingredients that you probably always have on hand. Please do not let the fact that it is a buttermilk pancake recipe deter you because you actually do NOT need a carton of buttermilk in your fridge. Instead, you make the buttermilk a few minutes before the batter. Which is great for me because I hate drinking buttermilk and wouldn’t know what to do with the rest of the carton if I actually had to buy it for this recipe! The key to these pancakes is to keep the mixing of the batter to a minimum and then allowing the batter to “rest” for at least 10 minutes before cooking. The batter will be very thick and somewhat lumpy; not a goopy, yet somewhat thin batter like Aunt Jemima pancake mix.
Now, you can make plain buttermilk pancakes with this recipe or you can be fancy with mix-ins by adding blueberries, nuts or chocolate chips. Or whatever your heart desires! There are two methods to incorporate the mix-ins. You can gently fold them into your batter before the “resting” step. Or you can pour your batter onto the griddle/pan and then sprinkle the mix-ins on top of each pancake as it just starts to cook. Either method works fine; however, the primary benefit to sprinkling them onto the individual pancakes as they cook is that you can make more than one type of pancake if you have picky eaters at home or just want a variety for your brunch.
In order to make our brunch a little different than my usual breakfasts, I used some of my recently acquired seashell dishes that I found locally in Cuxhaven. I feel like they are appropriate since Cuxhaven is directly on the North Sea and we are living a few hundred meters from the beach. They are super cute and just the perfect size for pancakes. I prefer to keep my pancakes separate from the rest of my breakfast foods because I don’t like the maple syrup mingling with my eggs, etc. Unless there are chicken & waffles on the menu, then my fried chicken is more than welcome to mingle with the maple syrup! I used the second plate for some eggs, toast and halloumi cheese to accompany the pancakes.
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
Mix-ins: blueberries, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.
Butter or non-stick spray to grease your griddle/pan
The first step is to make buttermilk. Basically, you will make sour milk and should not be afraid of it. You are just making buttermilk and your pancakes will taste delicious. To make the buttermilk, mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in 3/4 cup of milk. Set it aside for at least 5-10 minutes to sour. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set this aside as you are waiting for the milk to sour. At this point, I usually prep my other brunch items: start the coffee & tea, slice some cheese, wash some fruit, set the table, etc.
Pour your homemade buttermilk into the bowl with the dry ingredients, add the egg and melted butter (or canola oil…I use oil because it’s easier). Gently mix the ingredients together until it is just mixed. The batter will be quite lumpy and thick, so don’t overmix trying to make it smooth. You want it to be lumpy. If you plan to incorporate your mix-ins into the batter as we discussed as one option earlier, gently fold them in right now. Otherwise, save your mix-ins for later. Set aside the batter for at least 5-10 minutes. You will know it is ready when little bubbles start to form on the surface. If needed, you can also let this batter sit for longer than 10 minutes. At this point, I usually warm my oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit then turn it off, which will allow me to keep my pancakes warm until I am ready to serve them. I also usually prepare my mix-ins, so I chopped up my pecans as the batter was resting. My batter has tiny bubbles on the surface at this point, so I am ready to cook them!
Warm your griddle or pan over medium heat. (I used a heavy pan since my cast-iron griddle is still packed away in the cellar because German kitchens are tiny and have very little storage space.) Once warm, spray the griddle/pan with cooking spray or melt some butter on the pan. Pour about 1/4 cup batter on to the hot cooking surface. I usually use a ladle for this step and then use the ladle to gently push my batter into a round shape. Immediately sprinkle the mix-ins over the pancake, if you are using the option to add them during the cooking step. Once you start to see several bubbles forming in your pancake batter, it’s time to flip them! Then let them cook until they are browned on the other side.
Place the pancake on a plate and keep it in the warm oven. Before starting the next pancake, grease your griddle/pan with non-stick spray or butter and repeat the steps to make the rest of your pancakes. Once you have made all the pancakes, leave them in the warm oven (make sure it is turned off!) until the rest of your brunch foods are ready. I made some sunnyside-up eggs in a bell pepper ring and some pan-seared halloumi cheese. I seared my halloumi in butter, which is my favorite method! If you don’t know what halloumi cheese is, it is a dense, Middle Eastern cheese that is best served “grilled” or seared in butter. By “grilled,” it means that it is usually seared in a hot pan with no oil or butter. However, I prefer to pan-sear it in butter. Basically, I just melted some butter in a pan over medium heat, added some halloumi slices and cooked them for about 2-3 minutes until they are browned. Then I flipped them over and seared the other side until browned.
I find that halloumi cheese is a nice alternative to breakfast meats! You can find it in pretty much every Middle Eastern store and some locations of Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s carry it. Halloumi cheese has many uses, so click on this link to view the Google search that I have so thoughtfully done on your behalf! Once everything is ready, plate your food, pour the orange juice, serve your tea/coffee and enjoy!!
The Fluffiest Pancakes
The fluffiest pancakes that are perfect to make with blueberries, nuts or chocolate chips.
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
- Butter or non-stick spray to grease your griddle/pan
- Mix-ins: blueberries, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar in 3/4 cup of milk. Set it aside for at least 5-10 minutes to sour.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Pour your soured milk into the bowl with the dry ingredients, add the egg and melted butter (or canola oil). Gently mix the ingredients together until it is just mixed. The batter will be quite lumpy and thick, so don’t overmix trying to make it smooth.
- Heat a griddle/pan over medium heat, and grease with cooking spray or butter. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.