Cast Iron

Pioneer Pancakes, 21st Century Edition

April  5, 2012
4 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Way back in the 20th century I came to love a combination of cornmeal, buckwheat and soy flours for pancakes and cornbreads. Corn and buckwheat have ties to the earliest days of European settlement in America -- fittingly, a native and an immigrant plant joined in delicious pancakes. Cornmeal was often used for Jonnycakes and Mush, which start with softening the grain in boiling water. Walnuts and cranberries were gifts of the land to the settlers. Soy, now updated to chick pea flour, makes breakfast a stronger foundation for the day's work.
My 20th century inspirations came from The Tassahara Bread Book and Diet for a Small Planet. More recently, a memorable breakfast at a roadside restaurant in Princeton MA (which might have been called The Shady Rest , now closed), put the pieces together for me.
These flours are gluten free, so you can beat the batter without fear of tough pancakes! —susan g

Test Kitchen Notes

susan g's Pioneer Pancakes were the perfect breakfast to whip up for my visiting parents. The recipe was straightforward and the pancakes were easy to make (provided you have a well-stocked alterna-flour pantry like I do). I loved the combination of chickpea flour, buckwheat, and cornmeal—each added its own rich, nutty flavor and unique texture to the pancakes—as well as the inclusion of nuts (I actually wish there had been a bit more!). Instead of frying in oil, I used some homemade butter to fry the pancakes. I loved the extra dimension brought on by the gradually browning butter. A little dab more butter and a drizzle of yogurt for serving and I was in heaven. I will totally be making these again! —Kate Williams

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal, whole grain organic
  • 1/3 cup chick pea flour (besan)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, brown or demerara
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cranberries, chopped
  • neutral oil for the pan
  1. Mix cornmeal, chickpea flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Pour the boiling water over it, whisk it in and let it cool. This is the "mush."
  2. In a small bowl, beat the egg, then beat in the buttermilk.
  3. In another small bowl, mix the buckwheat flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.
  4. Add half the liquids to the mush, then the dry flour mix, then the rest of the liquid. Stir in the walnuts and cranberries.
  5. Heat a cast iron frying pan until a drop of water sizzles. Add oil to cover the bottom of the pan thinly. Pour in the batter in 1 or 2 tablespoon amounts. Let it cook until you see bubbles on top or the batter has begun to set. Turn, let the bottom brown, and serve. The usual butters and syrups will be welcome, but I prefer my pancakes alone or with a drizzle of yogurt.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • susan g
    susan g
  • LeBec Fin
    LeBec Fin

2 Reviews

susan G. April 6, 2012
The antecedent to this used soy flour, but I think that the besan is more digestable, possibly a little lighter. Besides, for the 21st century, don't we want to be more global?
The pancake model gives us so much room for play! I've saved several of yours, which sound wonderful.
LeBec F. April 6, 2012
Susan, I'm si psyched to see what you've done here. I too submitted a multigrain pancake, with some diff grains etc from yours. I have been thinking of experimenting with kinako (Japanese roasted soybean flour/powder. Is that what you changed to besan?
thx for the inspiration!