Here’s the thing: I’m a typical, plain-Jane pancake girl. But I’m also me, which means I’ll try anything you sling in my direction, and I will try it with an open heart. Most of the time, that works well for me.
Aaaaand sometimes it doesn’t. Welcome to the September edition of Baked, Occasionally. *waves*
It’s my fault – maybe. Me and buttermilk pancakes have never been a thing, really. it’s a little bit like me and buttermilk pie: I don’t get it. Something about it is too sour, too tangy, too something – this from a girl who lives and breathes for sour and tangy most of the time. Pancakes in my life have been sweet: not too sweet, but lightly sweet, breakfast-y but not in a doughnut way, and that’s where they live in my taste buds. I have zero time for tang in my pancakes, basically.
However: I’ve made nearly a sport of out changing my own mind about things, so when Natalie said we were doing these pancakes, I skimmed the ingredients list and was like “okay: let’s do this.” I love orange things generally, and these were relatively easy to make – the latter a plus due to how busy we’ve been this month. I whipped these up in no time, and wasn’t sorry I had; I just wish I had liked them better.
Issues (my own, perhaps):
Batter – Odd, for a pancake. Natalie nailed it when we were discussing these by saying they reminded her of the Bouchon muffin batter that ages; it’s impossibly thick, but fluffy at the same time. I had to thin mine out with a few tablespoons of milk to get it to “normal pancake spread” consistency,” and it was still thicker than my own normal pancake batter.
Flavor – Both Natalie and I agreed we were expecting a smidge more orange flavor, given the amount of zest and juice in these. Oranges are notorious for smelling delicious, only to fade away into baked goods, leaving only a whiff of themselves behind. Like orange rolls, orange-scented croissants, and every orange-almond cookie I know, these need a touch of orange extract to really drive them home.
Tang – I don’t know, guys: I’m not a fan of the buttermilk tang here. I’ve had good buttermilk pancakes, and this one just seems overpowering to me in the tang department. I suspect it’s the combination of the buttermilk and greek yogurt that puts it over the top: It’s not offset by enough sweetness, and it’s almost amplified by the citrus…something has to give here.
Sunshine – What is that sunshiny thing that shows up in the center of buttermilk pancakes? I like it, and it’s not there with regular milk-based ones, I swear. Science?
Exterior – Lovely. It’s slightly crispy and it gives way to a really billowy interior, which i loved. It keeps the crispy even when coated in butter and syrup – believe me…i checked.
Potential – I think these things, with a little whittling, could be amazing. I need to work on them, which is supposed to be one of the things we do here. This month for both of us has been super busy, so neither of us had time to play with them and make them their best thing.
Verdict: These pancakes would be amazing…as crepes. I think they have all the makings of an excellent crepe, but as a pancake? I remain firmly in the traditional pancake side of things. But these as a crepe? Potentially splendid: messing around a bit with the buttermilk and the orange flavors here could result in greatness, I’m almost sure of it.
You want to give it a go? I’m leaving the recipe right here for you. I also highly suggest you go read Natalie’s post about these very same pancakes, because these were her choice (and hers are SO FLUFFY) and she’s going to have some tips for these as well. If you’re a fan of buttermilk pie and sweet-and-and tangy things which lean more towards the tangy part? You’ll love these. They cook up perfectly, I’ll give them that, and the honey butter gives them a little boost in the sweetness area (but when has honey butter ever steered anyone wrong, really.) I promise to work on these as a crepe when I un-bury myself from, well…August and September. We had school start in late August, and about 283,280 have happened since then. We’ve been sick (thanks, school friends!), given assignments, and taken on responsibilities that are exciting and challenging, and should be amazing: I’m just in the process of sorting it all out so everything runs smoothly here. It’s happening.
Adapted (because I had to add more liquids, yo!) from Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
For the Honey Butter:
- 1 cup European-style (cultured) unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
- 3 Tbsp clover honey
For the Orange Pancakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¾ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 cup (230 g) plain full-fat Greek yogurt, strained
- ½ cup (120 ml) well-shaken buttermilk, plus 1/4 cup more (or use milk) to thin batter
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- zest of 2 oranges (about 3 tablespoons)
Make the honey butter:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and honey on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Scrape the honey butter into a ramekin to use immediately with the pancakes. Leftover honey butter should be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.
Make the orange pancakes:
Preheat the oven to 200°F, if you plan to make all of the pancakes before serving them.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the orange juice, yogurt, buttermilk, 1/2 cup of the butter, the eggs, sugar, and orange zest.
Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour the wet ingredients into the well, and stir together until just combined. Add in that extra buttermilk or milk, a few tablespoons at a time, as needed, until your dough is thick but not immovable.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Brush the pan with some of the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add 1⁄3 cup batter to the pan per pancake, cooking until bubbles form on the tops and the pancakes are browned on the bottom. Flip and continue cooking them until they are completely browned on both sides, another minute or so. Continue buttering the pan and making pancakes until all the batter is used.
Serve immediately as the pancakes are made, or keep them in the oven on a heatproof plate just until you’ve cooked them all (don’t leave them in the oven longer). Serve with so. much. honey butter.