Despite a bit of a late start, wild blueberries are finally popping out along the many trails, tucked amid the darker-colored tart crowberries. I recently gathered some on the way down from a hike near Flattop in South Anchorage and have been tossing them into everything from chilled blueberry soup and salmon gravlax to almond blueberry loaf and simple syrups for cocktails, and even in salads and savory jams.
But nothing beats a simple, well-made fluffy pancake with fresh berries and a hit of lemon. And if you love bananas, add a few thin slices when you top the pancakes with berries before flipping. Sour cream — or ricotta, yogurt, cottage cheese — adds tang and tenderness. To gild the lily, I like to stir blueberries, lemon juice and sour cream into warm maple syrup and butter for a tart-sweet topping. — Kim Sunée
Blueberry Lemon Pancakes with sour cream
Makes about 8 small pancakes
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on sweetness of berries
1 large lemon (use zest here and some of the juice for syrup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or ground cinnamon, optional
2 large eggs, whisked
3/4 cup sour cream or full-fat plain yogurt
1 tablespoon milk, buttermilk, or alternative nut milk, or as needed
1 cup all-purpose flour or gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine/table salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
About 1/2 cup blueberries
Lemon Maple Sour Cream Syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
• Add sugar to a large bowl. Grate lemon zest into sugar and mix with fingers to break up zest and make sugar fragrant. Add vanilla or cinnamon, if using. Add whisked eggs, sour cream, and milk to lemon sugar. Add melted butter and stir. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and add to egg mixture, stirring just until all the flour is mixed in, but being careful not to overmix. Mixture should be thick-ish but loose enough to dollop out of a measuring cup. If mixture is too thick, add in 1 more tablespoon milk; set aside while making syrup.
• Heat a griddle or well-seasoned cast iron skillet over low heat.
• To make syrup, combine sour cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, maple syrup, butter, and blueberries in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk until smooth and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low-to-low heat, about 5 minutes, until blueberries begin to pop. Taste, and add more lemon or maple syrup, as desired.
• To make pancakes: When griddle is hot, generously grease with butter. Carefully wipe out any excess with a paper towel — this helps prevent burning butter ruining the pancake. Drop a scant 1/4 cup of batter onto hot griddle. Repeat, making sure there’s an inch between pancakes. Cook until bottoms are golden brown and bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes. If browning too quickly adjust heat accordingly. Dot tops with blueberries or thin banana slices. Flip and cook other side about 90 seconds to 2 minutes more, adjusting heat as needed. Repeat with remaining butter and batter. Serve warm with lemon maple sour cream syrup.