Light, fluffy and plump, these delectable morsels are the epitome of great pancakes. Topped with broiled vanilla plums, the sweet vanilla flavor will have you yearning for more. We grant you full permission to indulge, as these treats are perfect for brunch or an elegant snack.
Serves 4, makes 16 4-inch pancakes
For the vanilla plums:
6 plums, halved and pitted
¼ cup sugar or vanilla sugar (from the Vanilla Vixen Cocktail recipe)
(1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped, if not using vanilla sugar)
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the vanilla pancakes:
1 cup all purpose flour
½ cup cake flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups buttermilk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
1½ tablespoons vanilla extract
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Standing or handheld mixer
Nonstick griddle or skillet
Offset spatula to flip the pancakes
Prepare the broiled plums:
Preheat the broiler. Cut each plum half into quarters and toss with butter, 2 tablespoons of sugar and vanilla extract. (If using the vanilla bean rather than the vanilla sugar, add the seeds to the above mixture.) Place the plums cut side up in a baking dish, sprinkle with remaining sugar, nestle the vanilla bean halves (from either this portion or the pancake recipe) among the fruit, and place under the broiler until the plums are warmed through and the sugar is bubbly, about 10 minutes. Keep warm until the pancakes are ready.
Prepare the vanilla pancakes:
Sift the dry ingredients together into a medium bowl. Place egg whites in a clean, dry bowl and begin to beat with the whisk attachment. When the whites are frothy, begin adding the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until creamy; add the buttermilk, seeds from the vanilla bean (reserve the bean for another use such as making vanilla sugar or using in the broiled plums portion), vanilla extract and stir to combine. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring to thoroughly combine. Stir in the butter and then, in three additions, gently fold in the beaten egg whites only until combined and no white streaks are remaining.
Heat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium heat. Once hot, spoon the batter onto the griddle in 4-6 inch rounds. When bubbles form and edges appear cooked, about 1-2 minutes, carefully flip the pancake to cook the other side for another 30-60 seconds until evenly golden.
[Chef’s Note: Any remaining batter can easily be refrigerated and used the following day, although it may deflate slightly, but we applaud you if you can manage not to gobble up every last bit in one sitting!]
Place four pancakes on each plate. Using tongs, place a few broiled plums on top of each stack of pancakes. Spoon the remaining sauce from the plums over everything. ENJOY!
These pancakes are also delicious with other seasonal fruits such as peaches, pears, strawberries or figs. A fine dusting of powdered sugar or a dollop of crème fraiche also makes for a luscious addition.
Feel free to omit the broiled fruit and, instead, add chocolate chips or berries to the pancake batter.
Recipe and photo by Monica Glass