I’m traveling aboard the Rocky Mountaineer right now, a spectacular sightseeing train ride across Western Canada – from Calgary, through the Rocky Mountains and various national parks, alongside rivers and past waterfalls – to Vancouver. It’s spectacular.
For breakfast this morning we had eggs Benedict with Montreal smoked meat, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, and a plate of fluffy buttermilk pancakes – a plateful to share between for of us – for a sort of breakfast dessert. Served with berry compote, candied orange zest and maple syrup, they were sublime.
So in honour of the incredible team of chefs and sous chefs aboard the Rocky Mountaineer, who have been working tirelessly (although I’m sure they were exhausted at the end of the day) to feed us phenomenal breakfasts and three course lunches and have baked us fresh scones and oatmeal cookies in between on the train these past two days, here’s a recipe to hold you over until you have the opportunity to take the trip yourself.
And then someone will make them for you, and serve them on white linens with real silverware, in the dining car. (It’s totally worth it.)
Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes with Orange Berry Compote
2 cups flour – all-purpose, whole wheat, or a combination
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
a shake of cinnamon (optional)
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola or other mild vegetable oil
2 cups fresh or frozen berries – try blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and raspberries
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
zest and juice of an orange
In a large bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl stir together the buttermilk, eggs and oil with a fork.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined; don’t worry about getting all the lumps out.
When the skillet is hot (you can test it by flicking some drops of water on it – they should bounce) spray it with nonstick spray or drizzle with a bit of oil and swirl to coat the pan. Ladle the batter onto the skillet, making the pancakes any size you like.
Turn the heat down a little and cook for 2-4 minutes, until the bottom is golden and bubbles begin to appear on the surface. Use a thin, flat spatula to flip them over and cook for another minute on the other side, until golden.
Repeat with the remaining batter. If you want everyone to eat at the same time, keep finished pancakes warm, uncovered, in a 200ºF oven. To make the compote, simmer the berries, sugar, orange zest and juice in a medium pot until the berries soften and the mixture thickens slightly. Serve warm or chill until needed.
Makes 8-12 pancakes, depending on their size.