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Light and Fluffy Lemon Pancakes

After an amazing couple of days learning all about pomegranates and touring some local orchards with a bunch of fantastic food bloggers who traveled to Fresno from around the country for the opportunity to learn about one of my favorite local fruits, I have decided to incorporate pomegranate arils and juice into as many meals and snacks as possible this fall.  I am so lucky to be once again living in one of the few places in the country where pomegranate trees grow in backyards, and this tour was just the thing to help re-introduce me to one of my favorite fruits from my childhood.

I’ll write in more detail about the tour soon, but for now I’ll just tell you how I have been enjoying the fresh pomegranate arils (seeds) that were shaken from the fruit I picked yesterday.  Mostly I have been eating them straight out of a bowl with a spoon – a delicious, healthy, and addictive snack.  Then I discovered (thanks to Paula of Bell’Alimento) the wondrous combination of a spoonful of Nutella topped with fresh pomegranate arils!  Last night I sprinkled them all over a bowl of Rocky Road ice cream – again, delicious.  And finally, this morning, I sprinkled them all over these beautiful Light and Fluffy Lemon Pancakes.  As far as I can tell, pomegranate makes just about everything taste better.

And whether you have access to fresh pomegranate arils or not, I suggest you make these pancakes.  This morning was the first time I made them, but I think they will start making a regular appearance on my weekend breakfast plate!  They are adapted from Mark Bittman’s Light and Fluffy Pancakes in the book How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.  I enjoyed them with nothing but butter, a light dusting of powdered sugar, and a handful of pomegranate arils.  Don’t forget the bacon!

Light and Fluffy Lemon Pancakes
adapted from How To Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 teaspoons honey (or 1 tablespoon sugar)*
zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, buttermilk, honey, lemon juice, and lemon zest; set that aside, too.  In yet another bowl, whisk the egg whites (by hand or using an electric mixer) until medium to stiff peaks form.  Pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture and stir until well combined then very gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter until mostly incorporated but some fluffs of egg white are still visible.

Heat a griddle or pan to medium.  Just before pouring the batter, brush the griddle with melted butter.  Drop batter into pancakes of the size you prefer (I like mine 3 -4 inches across) and cook until the edges of the pancakes start to look dry.  Carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden brown.  Serve with butter and powdered sugar and/or syrup of your choice.

*It’s important that your liquid ingredients are at room temperature before whisking in the honey or it will seize and not incorporate.  You may substitute one tablespoon sugar for the honey if you don’t want to worry about using room temperature ingredients, but I thought the honey was a nice touch.

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