Cornmeal Berry Pancakes + Homemade Maple Syrup

2.14.2013


In a nutshell, the story goes something like this: 
In the mid/late 40´s my paternal grandmother had developed a line of instant cake and pancake mixes, had spent a year or more developing it, had registered a name and was ready to give it a go, an idea that had started with my grandfather, her husband, after he had gone to college in the US, Cornell University to be precise in 1918, and came back in love with boxed mixes, especially pancakes. 
Some kind of argument happened between them, I assume a huge one, that no-one knows in detail, put an end to her dream due to an unexpected decision on his part to back out of the whole thing. 



My father´s parents were a very interesting pair, with avant-garde lives for their time. I didn´t know him, he died a year before I was born, but my grandmother is my connection to food, I made my first recipe, an apple crisp which was my first post also, with her, and until she died almost three years ago at the age of 90, the only person in my family with whom I could talk about food the way I like, that is for hours, in detail and with unabashed excitement. 



I grew up with my father eating thick, fluffy (american) pancakes whenever he could, something very unusual in this country, and a very hard thing to pull off in my home, due to my mother´s marked lack of skills in the baking and cooking section of married life, except for a few dishes that involved an english roast, a corn pie, porridge, polenta, a stew or two and not much else from what I recall.


It always struck me as odd that my dad would have such unusual tastes. But a few weeks ago we got to talking about the pancake mix episode, and besides giving me a few extra details that really didn´t explain the real reason as to why the whole thing was suddenly stopped, he reminded about my grandfather´s college days studying engeneering, and how he had come eating cereals and pancakes. 
So that´s the reason my grandmother made them and my father in time became addicted. 



Especially now, that I´m so into cooking, baking and all things food related because of this blog, I wonder what would´ve been to have my grandmother introduce the first boxed mixes in this country. Since I´ll never know, I decided to celebrate today with some homemade pancake mixes and homemade maple syrup.
If you´re thinking that it is a weird recipe to celebrate valentine´s day you´re right. Because what I´m celebrating today is this blog´s 1 year anniversary, my little baby who made the last year so ridiculously rich, interesting and exciting, a feeling hard to explain because food blogging is mind-blowing. 



Two of the best things in life come together, my love for food and a place to make probably the most amazing and fullfilling virtual friendships a person can hope to have, a topic that amounts to a post in itself that will be up on saturday, a luscious dulce de leche mille feuille dedicated to everyone who reads this blog.
Because you have a place in my heart. A big one.

On to our recipes today. I started this blog thinking of my grandmother who let me into this magical world of cooking, so I decided to make some pancake mixes and homemade maple syrup, the latter really a need I have since I´m hardly able to get the stuff here. I have resorted to the homemade mix of sugar syrup and maple extract, which is artificial I know, but has the flavor that I love so much, and besides it´s either that or nothing. So there´s no discussion. 



As you can imagine I gave the first homemade pancake mix to my dad together with the homemade maple syrup and he was beyond himself, happier than a dog with two tails.
That is after making these for the post and eating what is missing. They are phenomenal. The pancake mix itself is perfectly balanced, right down to the amount of salt, a recipe I found at Chez Us, a site that combines some glorious pics with great recipes. This is one of them.

The addition of berries is a happy one. I particularly like the pronounced tartness of the raspberries and blackberries (I used some I had frozen myself) with the maple syrup. This type of food is what I believe makes breakfast-all-day so appealing. Be sure to cut the berries in pieces, especially the blackberries, otherwise you can´t get a flat pancake.



CORNMEAL BERRY PANCAKES WITH MAPLE SYRUP
from ChezUs

If you want thicker or thinner pancakes, add a few tablespoons more pancake mix or milk. I use ½ cup berries per cup of dry pancake mix, not counting the addition of egg and milk.
If you make your own maple syrup, follow the recipe, and the next day check to see if you need more extract. It varies according to the brands. Today I used double the amount in Diana´s recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup berries, chopped coarsely
Maple syrup, for serving

Directions
Mix pancake mix with egg, milk and butter according to the original recipe. Add the cut-up berries and stir very slowly until coated. Do not mix too much.
Heat a pancake skillet over medium low heat. You can add a smidgen of butter before each pancake, I do for the first few. Add about ¼ cup pancake batter to the skillet and make sure the berry pieces are flat.
Cook about 1 or 2 minutes on one side, flip over and cook for 45 seconds to 1 minute more.
Transfer to plate.
Eat with maple syrup.



28 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary! Thaks for your great blog and for sharing such an interesting family story!

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  2. Happy, happy anniversary to your beautiful blog, Paula! I'm so lucky to call you a friend...a dear foodie friend. And how wonderful you had your grandmother to foster your love of cooking and baking!

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    1. You know the feeling is mutual, right? 100%

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  3. Happy Anniversary!

    I love the story about your family and cooking. I have also heard various stories about my family and am currently in a genealogy project that is taking fascinating twists and turns. In trying to verify stories I have heard, I am discovering additional information.

    These pancakes look delicious!

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    1. TY Christine, and I wish I could track down all of the stories in my family too!

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  4. I love adding berries to pancakes! So delicious.

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  5. Yum. I love pancakes of all varieties. I've never made them with cornmeal though. Sounds great.

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  6. Happy Anniversary Paula! I love your blog and all your recipes. It makes me smile every time I see a new post.
    Amazing how something like pancakes can hold such fond memories of family. I'm a major pancake fan and these look scrumptious!

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  7. Happy Anniversary Paula! These pancakes look so yummy! Perfect for celebrating your blogoversary! I love pancakes anytime!

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  8. Happy anniversary! Thank you for sharing the lovely story and the pancakes look amazing!

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  9. Happy blog birthday! Pancakes are a fantastic way to celebrate. I bet the combination of berries and cornmeal is amaze. Love it!

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  10. lovely story and love pancakes, (and a fan of anything vintage) happy blogoversary

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  11. I love all the berries bursting through!

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  12. I cannot think a better way to celebrate the first anniversary! Amazing pancakes and beautiful story.

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  13. What a fabulous story, Paula! I wonder what could have been so bad as to cause him to drop the whole plan? What a mystery! These pancakes are beautiful, the combo of berries and cornmeal is perfection. Happy 1 year - here's to many, many more. :)

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    1. TY Heather! As much as we asked my grandmother, she dismissed it with a two sentence explanation... guess we´ll never know...I hate that!

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  14. happy birthday paula! a momentous anniversary. as always, i love reading about your love for food, and the family connections interwoven with those recipes, cooking and eating experiences. i look forward to many more years of Vintage Kitchen Notes :-)

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  15. Is your blog only one? That's incredible - your recipes, writing and photo are so accomplished :-) Gorgeous looking pancakes, by the way!

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  16. You've only been doing this for a year, Paula?! You totally could've fooled me - your photography, culinary skills and warm, witty, hilarious voice are amazing and what keep me coming back for more. I'm so thankful I've met you this year. My own blogging experience just wouldn't have been the same without you and your support. I know we haven't met in person yet but I feel like I know you and can call you a friend. Happy blogiversary, dear Paula. These pancakes look amazing and I love the backstory. I can't wait to continue following you on your blogging, cooking journey!

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    1. I too feel we´re good friends Nancy. We´ll always share our love for baking!

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  17. Stumbled on your blog & just love these pancakes with berries. Happy Anniversary too!

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  18. Paula, congratulations and Happy Blogiversary! Wishing you tons of new and "vintage" ideas and stories for many, many more years to come! It has been a real pleasure "meeting" you through your absolutely lovely blog - I enjoy "visiting" and commenting so much! And what a great story about your grand-mother, loved reading it! And your pancake recipe looks amazing too!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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    1. I should congratule you too Andrea, since we started blogging almost at the same time!

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  19. Paula - I love cornmeal pancakes, especially with homemade blueberry syrup or our local prickly pear cactus syrup! Being from a Vermont family - maple syrup flows in our veins instead of blood - I will reserve the maple syrup for my Gramma's traditional griddle cakes! :) thanks for this! ~ David

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  20. The pancakes look great! I just had pancakes last night for dinner for the first time in forever and loved them. It's quite sad that your grandmother's dream git crushed like that.

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