Sunday, January 12, 2014

West Virginia Buckwheat Pancakes with Apple Bourbon Compote

Hi friends,
I've been hibernating this fall, but just starting to break out of my chrysalis.  While I was back in West Virginia visiting my family for Thanksgiving, I discovered that a local WV specialty was buckwheat pancakes.  Since buckwheat is not actually wheat and therefore gluten-free, I picked a a 5 lb bag of locally buhr-ground buckwheat flour.  This means there's a lot of pancakes to be eaten.  I'll be making up pancakes on Sunday, starting around 11 am.  Please stop by for some pancakes.  If you want to bring something, bring along your favorite pancake topping or brunch side dish.
Please RSVP if you can make it so I know how many people to expect.

For the past two years, my family planned a big family gathering in West Virginia over the Thanksgiving weekend.  When my dad was growing up, his family would travel to Upstate NY to meet up with all his aunts, uncles, & cousins for Thanksgiving.  This past year, much of my extended family on my father's side descended upon West Virginia to celebrate Thanksgiving, many of then driving through a snow storm.  

Family traveled in from St. Louis, Chicago, Boston, Cape Cod, Brooklyn, and Washington, D.C.  Flying from Alaska, I think I got the "Farthest Distance" award.

While in WV, I kept hearing about buckwheat pancakes.  At the local grocery store, I came across some locally buhr-ground buckwheat flour .

From their website: Buhr Grinding is an age old technique where we grind the buckwheat between two large stone wheels (buhrs).  Each buhr weighs about a ton and were imported from France around 1855.  (

So even though this morning it was a bitter cold -40˚ F in town (but a balmy -20˚ F at my place), my friends bundled up and came over for pancakes. 

And they brought amazing gluten-free things to go with the pancakes: homemade jams (blueberry and raspberry), banana bourbon sauce with smoked sea salt, Bristol Bay King salmon smoked strips, peppered bacon, quinoa spinach quiche, black bean & egg casserole, sweet potato hash, fresh fruit, and juice. 

Our ongoing love affair with bacon
It was a fantastic feast, and it felt a bit like Stone Soup.

Say what you want about Gwyneth Paltrow, but she had a fantastic buckwheat pancake recipe:

The flour I bought had a pancake recipe right on the bag.  The recipe on the bag was simpler, so I went with that, and it turned out great. 

I had never heard of yeast cakes before, but found them quite easily at the grocery store they were in the refrigerator section, near the eggs. 

West Virginia Buckwheat Pancakes

*note* one change I made to this recipe is that I added an extra cup of warm water (a total of 2 ¼ cups of water) so that it had a pancake batter consistency.

1/3 Cake Fleischmann’s Yeast
2 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 tsp molasses
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 cups buckwheat flour


Dissolve 1/3 of the cake of yeast in warm water (warm enough to active the yeast but not scalding hot that would kill the yeast).

Stir in the molasses and salt to the water.

Stir in the buckwheat flour.

So, this is what the pancake batter looked like with the original amount of water:

So I added another cup (a total of 2 1/4 cups of warm water) and it looked a lot more like pancake batter.  Then let the batter sit for ~10-15 minutes.

Cook over a griddle (I oiled it with olive oil) and serve with delicious toppings.

Apple Bourbon Compote
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) butter
2 apples
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup bourbon


Peel, core, and chop the apples.
Melt the butter in a skillet.

Add the chopped apples, cinnamon, and cloves.


Cook down a bit until the apples are soft.  Add the raisins and sugar.

Shortly before serving, add in the bourbon and let it simmer a few minutes.

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