The Family Table: Grandpa’s Famous, Fail-Proof Blueberry Pancakes

July 4, 2021 Updated: July 5, 2021

Submitted by Stephen A. Sands (aka Grampa Steve), Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

“Are you going to make your blueberry pancakes, Grandpa?”

That’s a familiar question when our family gathers together on Sundays or for special occasions. You might get the impression that the question is only asked at special events, when in fact, it has been requested whenever the grandchildren or great-grandchildren just feel like having Grandpa’s love and attention and pancakes.

I have 12 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren and still counting. I inherited the recipe from my mother. One of the special moments in my life was when one of my grandsons called and requested: “Grandpa, would you please send me your family blueberry pancake recipe?” Not just one grandson, but three of them have phoned over the years and asked me for the recipe. There’s something special about handing down a recipe to your grandchildren.

It’s also special knowing that your family pancake tradition for 55-plus years is being carried on to the next generation. Somethin’ must be good!

pancakes
The author griddling a fresh batch of blueberry pancakes. (Courtesy of Stephen A. Sands)

Grandpa Steve’s Family Famous Blueberry Pancakes

The key to remember when making these cakes is that they will come out delicious even if you make mistakes putting them together. I tell my grandkids the recipe is fail-proof.

Some don’t like blueberries! (Can you believe it?) If so, as soon as the recipe is together, scoop out and cook two each for those family members without berries, then add the berries (obviously putting in a few less).

The full recipe makes about 12 to 14 pancakes. For a large crowd, I have never doubled the recipe into larger bowls. I keep to smaller batches. Halving the recipe works well.

On Sundays, do set up the table with your special china or other, and include a few antique pieces, possibly inherited from your family. I like, among others, my blue pitcher from my mother’s marriage gifts, 1935, for the syrup.

Makes about 12 to 14 pancakes

I have the following on hand:

  • 2 large bowls, Tupperware of course!
  • A large wooden spoon
  • A lifter
  • Lots of butter
  • Real maple syrup, served warm (you can use Aunt Jemima [now rebranded as Pearl Milling Company] or other flavored; we call that “kid’s syrup”)

Here is the basic blueberry pancake recipe:

  • 3 cups white flour
  • 6 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature preferred
  • 2 cups milk, plus 1 tablespoon (we note that flour in different provinces and states necessitates a little more or less milk), room temperature preferred
  • 2 rounded cups blueberries, room temperature, washed and dried (dry is important, or you will have mush around the berries when cooked)

When the above ingredients are collected, here’s what I do:

In one bowl, whisk together dry ingredients for about 2 minutes. I use a wire whisk.

Melt 6 tablespoons butter and set aside.

In another large bowl:

Whisk together 3 large eggs, then add the milk and whisk for another minute or so.

To finish the batter:

When everyone is ready to eat (I like ’em fresh), have your wooden spoon handy and the blueberries close by. Bring together the cakes as follows:

Pour the melted butter into eggs and milk in bowl, whisk slightly. Then with the wooden spoon in hand, add the dry ingredients all at once to milk/eggs/butter and fold them together. When dry ingredients are just folded together, add the blueberries all at once. Continue folding until blueberries are mixed into the batter. Don’t beat.

Set the electric griddle temperature to 365 degrees. (No grease needed on griddle or Teflon-type frying pan.) If using a frying pan, you will have to experiment to get the right temperature. When all is ready, cook a small pancake and see if it turns medium-brown. Adjust the temperature on the stove as indicated, and write it down on the recipe card for future pancakes.

Spoon the mixture, one heaping scoop at a time, onto the pan/griddle, about 5 inches across. You can use the spoon to spread the batter slightly around.

Cook until bubbles appear on top, then flip over and finish cooking.

A few points if you are new to cooking:

  • These pancakes will taste great!
  • Cook on first side for about 3 minutes; 3 minutes more when flipped. They should bounce back when lightly pressed.
  • Since the cakes don’t go on the griddle all at once, when flipping, allow a little extra cooking time on the last cakes spooned, before flipping.

“Come on kids, time to munch!” Grandpa says.

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The table is set—including a blue syrup pitcher from the author’s mother’s marriage gifts—and breakfast is served! (Courtesy of Stephen A. Sands)

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