Buttermilk and red currant pancakes

When I was growing up on rare occasions my mother would make pancakes for dinner. This was an incredible treat and felt like being on vacation in the middle of the week. Although she made different sorts — including potato pancakes which I will write about another time — my favorites were made with buttermilk. This particular kind of pancake was referred to as “Finnish”; although that name referred to our family heritage, at the time it sounded as luxurious as having breakfast for dinner actually was. Many years later, my mother’s recipe is alive and well as part of my comfort food collection.  

For this occasion I have made a quick red currant jam to pour over the pancakes, but any fresh fruit in season will do just perfectly.

Ingredients for the pancake batter 

  • 350 ml buttermilk
  • one organic egg
  • 125 grams fine spelt flour
  • a pinch of ground cinnamon
  • the zest of a half of a lemon
  • one teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a few tablespoons or organic unsalted butter or
  • extra virgin olive oil

Ingredients for red currant jam

  • 250 grams fresh red currants (or any other red berry you might fancy )
  • 50 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice (but water will also do)
  • 50 ml raw honey
  • a handful of fresh stone fruits or the fruit of the season

Measure the flour and sift it into a bowl large enough to whisk the batter easily. Grate the peel of the lemon with a zester catching the thin yellow curls into the flour (be sure and set aside the other half of the lemon to make the red currant jam). Pour the buttermilk into a separate bowl and crack the egg into it. Whisk the egg and buttermilk until smooth, adding the cinnamon, vanilla extract, a pinch of salt and the lemon zest too. Stir in the sifted flour with a wooden spoon into a smooth batter and set it aside to rest (because this makes for fluffier pancakes later).

Now make the red currant jam if you are in the mood.  Wash the currants in a colander and place them stems and all  n a sauce pan with 50 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bring the bright red berries to a simmer at medium heat and cook them twenty minutes. Pour the warm currants through a sieve and press them gently into a clean sauce pan with a large wooden spoon. Add a generous spoon of honey and cook the fruit at very low heat while baking the pancakes as explained below.

Put a cast iron frying or crêpe pan on medium heat. Once warmed, spread a teaspoon of oil or butter evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Pour a ladle of batter into the pan, tilting it to spread out the batter as thinly as desired. Bake the pancake a few minutes or until the edges are golden and bubbles start to appear on the surface. Flip over the pancake with a spatula until baked on both sides and put it on a large platter.
Repeat the baking process by melting butter (or olive oil) on the bottom of the pan, and adding the batter one ladle at a time until seven or eight pancakes are all done and ready to be devoured.
Meanwhile cut up some fresh ripe fruit (at the moment I am writing this it is summer so I mixed purple and red plums with a white peach and added some cherries to go along with them) and toss them in the juice of a half a lemon. Drizzle some honey over the fruit if you like.  Serve the pancakes with the fresh fruit salad and the brilliant red currant jam I hope you felt like making.
Suggested combinations 
Feel free to vary and change the fruits and toppings you want to serve the pancakes with. Sprinkle them while still warm with a dusting of ground cinnamon and even cardamom or poppy seeds. If you make pancakes often I definitely recommend making a batch of my lemon-scented flour
I save any leftover pancakes and use them as wraps for a savory breakfast.

This recipe is my twist on one of Jamie’s 17 Food Revolution recipes. I gladly contribute to Mr. Oliver’s campaign as super ambassador of the Food Revolution. I too feel that teaching and passing on cooking skills to friends and family makes life not only more meaningful but infinitely more valuable on an every level. Read more on this here.


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