Fragrant ripe pears and rich honey butter are a great match for the dark, earthy flavors of buckwheat flour in these pancakes--imagine a plate of traditional blini but bigger, heartier, and laden with fruit. Choose a honey with a sweet, mild flavor, such as acacia or orange-blossom. And make sure that your pears are juicy and ripe, but not so soft that they fall apart when you grate them. If you don't have whole-grain pastry flour, use all-purpose flour instead. The pancakes won't have quite the pillowy texture they would with pastry flour, but they'll have the same delicious flavor.
- Butter for the pan
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup whole-grain pastry flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cups whole milk
- 1 egg
- 2 medium pears, ripe but firm
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup honey
1. Sift the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, pouring back into the bowl any bits of grains or other ingredients that may remain in the sifter.
2. Whisk the melted butter, milk, and egg until thoroughly combined.
3. Peel the pears. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the whole peeled pears into the milk mixture; the pear juice should fall into the milk along with the grated pears.
4. Using a spatula, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently combine. For tender pancakes, it is important that you use a light hand as you gently fold the batter with the spatula. The batter should be slightly thick, with small pieces of pears flecked throughout.
5. Although the batter is best if used immediately, it can sit for about an hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. When you return to the batter it will be very thick and should be thinned, 1 tablespoon at a time, with milk--take great care to not overmix.
6. Meanwhile, melt the butter and honey together in a small saucepan and cook until boiling, emulsified, and slightly thickened 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the honey butter into a serving pitcher and set it in a warm place near the stove.
7. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter; this is the key to crisp, buttery edges, my favorite part of any pancake. Working quickly, dollop ¼-cup mounds of batter onto the pan, 2 or 3 at a time. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip it over and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total.
8. Wipe the pan with a cloth before griddling the next batch. Rub the pan with butter and continue with the rest of the batter. If the pan is too hot or not hot enough, adjust the flame accordingly to keep results consistent.
9. Serve the pancakes hot, straight from the skillet, with the pitcher of honey butter, encouraging your guests to pour liberally.