After poring through a dozen recipes for blueberry pancakes, it all comes down to the million dollar question: can you use a stainless steel pan to make pancakes? Every recipe I read called for a nonstick pan. The problem for me is that I don't own a nonstick pan. My husband, Marcus, thinks we will all die slowly of cancer if we use them. This morning I set out to find out if stainless steel pans work (not if we would slowly die of cancer from using nonstick, a debatable topic in my house). My conclusion: yes, you can in fact make pancakes with a stainless steel pan. It all comes down to the fact that stainless steel pans eventually become "nonstick" if they get hot enough. You just have to be patient and wait for the pan to "release" the pancakes from it's hold. Of course, this means you have to use oil, but I think oil is necessary anyway for browned edges that give pancakes flavor and texture. You end up with a crispy shell and soft pillow cake inside.
I ended up using a recipe from America's test kitchen. I liked this one the best because it called for whole milk with lemon rather than buttermilk, which I didn't have on hand. Letting the lemon sit for a while with the milk changes the consistency a bit so that it's more like buttermilk. Who has buttermilk in their fridge? Not me. Unfortunately, I only had 2 percent milk, so I used 1 and 1/2 cup of milk and a 1/2 cup of cream to increase the fat content. I'm not sure what Christopher Kimball would think of that. Probably not much.
Makes sixteen 4-inch pancakes, serving 4 to 6
When fresh blueberries are not in season, frozen blueberries are a good alternative. To make sure that frozen berries do not bleed, rinse them under cool water in a mesh strainer until the water runs clear, then spread them on a paper towel-lined plate to dry. If you have buttermilk on hand, use 2 cups instead of the milk and lemon juice.
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice from 1 lemon
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup fresh blueberries or frozen blueberries, preferably wild, rinsed and dried
1. Whisk lemon juice and milk in medium bowl or large measuring cup; set aside to thicken while preparing other ingredients. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to combine.
2. Whisk egg and melted butter into milk until combined. Make well in center of dry ingredients in bowl; pour in milk mixture and whisk very gently until just combined (a few lumps should remain). Do not over mix.
3. Heat 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes (arugulafiles note: I used medium to low for a stainless steel pan); add 1 teaspoon oil and brush to coat skillet bottom evenly. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto 3 spots on skillet; sprinkle 1 tablespoon blueberries over each pancake. Cook pancakes until large bubbles begin to appear, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using thin, wide spatula, flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on second side, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes longer. Serve immediately, and repeat with remaining batter, using remaining vegetable oil only if necessary.
More blueberry recipes featured on the arugula files.