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Buttermilk Pancakes with Bing Cherry Syrup

Buttermilk Pancakes with Bing Cherry Syrup
During the early summer months when cherries are in season, look for ripe, juicy Bings. The task of pitting them is easy if you use a cherry pitter, a small utensil found in kitchenware shops. If fresh cherries are not available, substitute 1/2 cup dried cherries for the fresh ones. Soak in 1/2 cup hot water for 15 minutes, drain and add them to the syrup.

Ingredients:

For the Bing cherry syrup:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups stemmed and pitted large, ripe Bing
      cherries
  • 1 tsp. almond extract

For the pancakes:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 to 2 Tbs. vegetable oil

Directions:

To make the syrup, in a saucepan over high heat, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar and water and stir until the sugars dissolve. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Add the cherries, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the cherries are cooked, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the almond extract and simmer for about 2 minutes more to blend the flavors. Remove from the heat and let cool.

To make the pancakes, in a small bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, buttermilk, melted butter and almond extract. Continue to beat just until the mixture is smooth; do not overbeat.

Heat a griddle or a large, heavy fry pan over high heat until a few drops of water flicked onto the surface skitter across it. Lightly grease the pan with the vegetable oil (or nonstick cooking spray). Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the griddle. Cook until the surface is covered with tiny bubbles, the batter is set, the bottom is browned and the edges look dry, about 2 minutes. Flip the pancake over and continue to cook until the other side is golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Keep warm until all the pancakes are cooked. Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more oil to the pan as needed.

Serve the pancakes hot, topped with a spoonful of the cherry syrup. Pass the remaining syrup at the table. Makes twelve 6-inch pancakes; serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Brunch Entertaining, by Janeen Sarlin (Time-Life Books, 1999).