In feeding my clafoutis addiction, I got into the habit of picking a handful of plums and peaches every Saturday morning at the Farmers’ Market. The peaches, both white and yellow, would make their way into my Peach Italian Ice. The plums, I decided, would partner perfectly with pancakes.
Plums were first cultivated in China about 2000 years ago, but didn’t arrive in the United States until about 1880, when the renowned botanist, Luther Burbank, began importing Japanese plums into California. Indeed, at last count, California was home to nearly 200 varieties of plums. Unfortunately, most plums are characterized by their color, rather than by their variety – the problem being that a plum’s skin reveals very little about either its flesh or taste.
Some red plums, like the Simca, are salmon-colored with a tart taste, while other red plums, like the Fortunes, are golden with a wine taste. Black plums boast even greater varieties, with flesh ranging from red to ivory-pink, and tastes that go from slightly sweet (Catalina), to tart but sweet (Black Diamond), to downright bland (Friar). The green-skinned Kelsey plum may be distinctive enough to be called by its proper name. But no matter what variety you find at your market, chances are it will make a great plum for
Buttermilk Plum Pancakes
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 7 minutes
YIELD: 12 pancakes
WHAT TO GRAB:
4 to 5 ripe plums, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar (recipe here)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
Warm Maple Syrup
HOW YOU DO IT:
1. Preheat your griddle to medium-low heat.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the vanilla-sugar and the plum slices. Toss well and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, sift together the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another large, mixing bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and butter, until combined. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and slowly whisk the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until just well combined.
4. Grease the griddle. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the pancake batter onto the griddle. Gently press three or four plum slices into the batter. Cook the pancakes for about 4 minutes, or until bubbles appear on top and the underside is nicely browned. Flip the pancakes and cook for another 3 minutes. If making a second batch of pancakes – and why wouldn’t you – the cooking time may be a bit shorter.
5. Serve with warm maple syrup and top with extra plum slices!