Most visitors to Vacationland busy themselves with swimming or hiking or sailing. And me? Well, truth be told: as much as I subscribe to the virtues of physical fitness, my favorite summer pastime remains on the extreme energy-conserving end of the spectrum. Luxuriating over a pancake breakfast is the best way I know to start (and sometimes end) a vacation day. Taste my faithful recipe, chock full of Maine’s finest berries, and I’m sure you’ll hesitate before changing from bathrobe to swimsuit.
Yield: About four 6- to 7-inch pancakes
Prep Talk: I like to make the batter immediately before cooking so the berries have no time to get mushy and/or bleed into the batter. I’m also a firm believer in cooking pancakes á la minute. After all, there’s nothing better than a fresh-from-the-griddle hot pancake to melt the requisite slab of butter on top.
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (scooped into the measuring cups; then leveled)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly and finely grated nutmeg, or more to taste (do not use bottled ground nutmeg, as it can often be bitter)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly and finely grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup Maine blueberries (the best blueberry around!)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
1 | In a large bowl, stir together the first six ingredients, taking care to break apart any clumps of orange zest.
2 | In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla extract.
3 | Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients in two additions. Whisk well after the first addition, just long enough to break up any big lumps of dry ingredients. Gently whisk in the second addition, and only to combine. (Over-beating the batter can toughen pancake texture.) Carefully stir or fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula or other blunt utensil, so as to avoid bursting any berries.
4 | Using a paper towel, grease a skillet with a thin film of vegetable oil. Set the skillet over medium heat until hot. (Note: I prefer to use a non-stick skillet. I always grease it before cooking the first pancake in a batch—as an extra precaution against sticking—but not after that.)
5 | Use a ladle or measuring cup to deposit the batter into the center of the skillet. Form the batter into a uniform 6- to 7-inch circle with your ladle or a smaller utensil. Cook until bubbles litter the entire surface and the bottom of the pancake is a uniform golden brown. Flip the pancake, and cook the other side to golden brown as well. Repeat with the remaining batter. Serve pancakes piping hot with butter, extra blueberries, and nothing less than pure native Maine maple syrup!