Buttermilk Pancakes & Maple Caramelized Peaches

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Every time I work on a new pancake recipe, I think to myself, "Damn. I promised these people waffles next time."  Truthfully, I'd rather have pancakes any day of the week over most waffles. I just really, really love pancakes. The day I finally learn how to make waffles so good that they could make me forget about pancakes, y'all will get a waffles recipe.

Until then. I think this one will hold everybody over. Imagine if peach cobbler wanted to be on your breakfast menu. It would be these pancakes. I'm talking about sweet, ripe summer peaches caramelized in brown sugar and maple syrup with a pinch of spices, spooned over fluffy homemade buttermilk pancakes and topped with whipped cream. This is dessert disguised as breakfast, and I'm owning that. (If you're looking for something slightly healthier, check out my older post for Vegan Peaches & Cream Oatmeal!) I don't think pancakes really need much more of an introduction, so let's get into it.

Buttermilk Pancakes & Maple Caramelized Peaches

For the Maple Caramelized Peaches:
3 to 4 large peaches, ripe but firm
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp apple pie spice
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup real maple syrup

For the Buttermilk Pancakes:
2 cups White Lily flour (or 1 c. cake flour + 1 c. regular AP flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
2 cups buttermilk, more if needed
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Ghee or clarified butter, for skillet (or use additional regular butter)
Maple syrup for serving, if desired
Whipped cream for serving, if desired

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: Makes about 16 pancakes
Special Equipment: (This section contains affiliate links.) Griddle, large non-stick skillet, whisksilicone spatula, silicone basting brushextra large spatula

Use the best peaches you can buy. I always have better luck at farmer's markets in the summer versus the grocery store peaches, which taste like nothing. 

If you're particular about peach skin, you could take the time to peel them. I don't find that necessary here as I would with a pie or cobbler. Just slice them up. If you have a toddler who steals food, you may want to add an extra peach.

In your non-stick skillet over medium high heat, add 1/4 cup butter. Once it's melted and sizzling, carefully slide the sliced peaches in. Sprinkle with sugar, a pinch of salt, apple pie spice and a tiny splash of almond extract. If you don't have apple pie spice, cinnamon and ground nutmeg will work just fine. 

Once the peaches have softened and are bubbling in their own juices, pour in the maple syrup. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Reduce heat and let the peaches simmer on the lowest heat until needed, stirring occasionally. 

On to the pancakes.  This is my basic buttermilk pancake recipe.  I make a batch of plain pancakes every couple weeks for my daughter Raven (read: she demands pancakes on Sunday mornings when I would rather be sleeping in.) They freeze and reheat well, so I separate them into plastic bags for her breakfasts at daycare.

I like to just melt the butter in the bowl I'll be mixing all the liquid ingredients in, to save a dish. Let it cool before working with it though.

Separate the egg whites into a separate, smaller bowl and set aside. Add the yolks to the melted butter and whisk thoroughly. 

Whisk in the buttermilk. 

By the way, don't ask me if you can just make your own buttermilk with milk and lemon juice. I personally think you should not be lazy and just buy actual buttermilk, but hey it's your pancakes. (If you truly can't get/find buttermilk and want a better substitute, try plain full fat kefir.)  In this recipe, the addition of sour cream adds enough tanginess that regular whole milk will also be fine if nothing else.

Finally, whisk in the sour cream, sugar and vanilla until you have a smooth, thick mixture.

In another bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Pour the dry ingredients into the buttermilk mixture, stirring just a few times until it's mostly incorporated.

Remember those egg whites from earlier? Give them a quick stir to loosen the mixture. You don't need to whip the whites, like I used to think was necessary in the past. Pour the egg whites right into the batter then finish whisking a few times until no big pockets of flour remain. 

I like to switch to my silicone spatula at this point because the batter is thick and the spatula is better for scraping the sides of the bowl. You don't ever want to over mix pancake batter as it will trigger the gluten formation, making them tough. It's kind of like being gentle with biscuit dough. You're looking for a slightly lumpy, thick but pourable batter. Sometimes I end up needing a tad more buttermilk, but it varies by batch.

Preheat your griddle over medium heat while you're doing the batter so it's ready to go. One change I have made recently is using ghee or clarified butter for my pancakes. I have so much of it on hand between my rounds of Whole 30 (quite obviously, I am off the wagon currently.) Clarified butter has the milk solids removed, so it doesn't burn so quickly at high temperatures. That makes it really great for pancakes. You get the flavor and crispy edges that are so great, but it will cook more evenly without scorching. 

I've found that scooping the batter with a 1/4 cup measuring cup is a good amount for each pancake, so they'll all be around the same size. Use a silicone basting brush to smear butter all over the hot griddle. Then drop the batter. It should sizzle slightly around the edges. After the first batch you can decide if the heat needs to be adjusted up or down.

Once the edges of the pancakes look slightly dry and bubbles have risen to the top, flip the pancakes and let them continue cooking for another minute or so. I like to cook my pancakes on the slower side, so they have time to brown and rise properly. For my stove top, that lands at about five minutes total per batch on medium heat. As you cook each batch of pancakes, transfer them to a serving platter and tent with foil. Alternatively, keep them warmer in an oven preheated to 200° F.

To serve, arrange two to three pancakes on a plate and top with caramelized peaches. Optionally, top with extra maple syrup and/or fresh whipped cream! (You don't really need any sweetener in the cream, so just vigorously whisk 1/4 cup cold heavy cream by hand until it transforms into whipped cream. Done. Also, I'm pretty sure that little workout negates the pancakes.)

Watch out for sneaky toddlers.

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