Aunt Jemima pancake mix first appeared 1889. The first IHOP opened in 1958. That has given cooks lots of time to develop a stack of pancake variations. Among them, flapjacks made with fresh corn are one of my summertime favorites. A treat breakfast or brunch, they make a good hot weather supper, too.
Here’s my recipe for Fresh Corn Pancakes with Lime Drizzle. And for perfect pancakes, here are some tips:
- Before measuring flour, fluff it with a whisk. Spoon the flour into your measuring cup, then sweep a knife across the top, knocking off the excess.
- Fat in the batter keeps pancakes moist. I like butter because it adds great flavor, even using a small amount.
- Pancakes are usually lightened by baking powder. Here, whipped egg whites do the lifting, so take care with them. Use room temperature whites and an impeccably grease-free bowl and whisk to get maximum volume. Beat the whites just before mixing them into the batter, stopping when they make soft peaks – little points that stand up when you lift the whisk.
- Do not overmix. Leaving some lumps or dots of white is better than gluey batter.
- For cooking, a griddle is best, either the stovetop kind or an electric one. I don’t have a one, so I use my cast iron skillet plus a large frying pan with a heavy bottom since a pan that is too light tends to heat unevenly and burn pancakes. Start with a surface so hot that drops of water flicked onto it bounce and dance around. Coat it lightly with oil, cooking spray, or butter—just enough to prevent sticking, not to sauté or fry your pancakes. For oil or butter, I use a well-folded paper towel dipped into it. Re-grease only after a batch is hard to release. Watch and adjust the heat as the pancakes cook. Be patient. Wait until plenty of bubbles dot the top before flipping each pancake.
- For the corn, pick an ear with small, tender kernels. Yellow corn contains carotenes you want, but any local corn is better than the tough kernels of commercially farmed ears, so go with what your favorite farm stand has.
- After cutting off the kernels, I usually run the back of the knife down the cob, extracting every last nub and all the sugary milk. But dry kernels are better in pancake batter, so here I toss the cob into the pot when making a summer vegetable soup to enrich its flavor. Any extra kernels get tossed into a salad later in the day.
At breakfast, I serve maple syrup. Later in the day, tangy-sweet Lime Drizzle gives these savory pancakes a nice twist. Add a dollop of Radish and Cucumber Raita, too, for an even more substantial meal.