Brunch is a funny meal. It is one of the only meals that confronts you with a very difficult choice: sweet or savory. Think about it. How often do you ask yourself this question when it comes to lunch or dinner. Sure, tea time can mean anything from sandwiches to Battenburg cake but with tea, you don’t have to choose. Everything is adorably tiny so you can sample everything. But brunch, brunch is a choice. And, if you’re anything like me, it’s a very difficult choice. Hashbrowns or maple syrup, it might be the most difficult decision you can make on Sunday and at 11 AM, potentially while hungover. It’s a lot of pressure, regret is looming behind every menu item. But believe me, when I say, these Sweet Corn Pancakes with Sour Cherry Compote will leave you with anything but.
Yes, I experience decision-related paralysis when confronted with brunch. You are now painfully aware of how neurotic I am. But I don’t think you have to be vibrating on my bizarre frequency to feel this brunch anxiety. Breakfast foods don’t always get their due. I suppose it’s because so many of us skip the meal or put it in a blender. We are very much a B-fast smoothie nation at this point. Don’t get me wrong, I am not lamenting the necessary death of a leisurely morning meal. I actually like that a sit-down breakfast or brunch is now revered as a luxury. But I do think we don’t give the likes of breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs the attention they deserve.
This is a controversial stance, I suppose. I am sure many people would heartily disagree with me, given the relatively recent explosion of “brunching”. But I do think that if a food doesn’t make it to the dinner table, it is considered somewhat inferior. Personally, I find breakfast to be the hardest meal to make. Take eggs benny, for instance: you have several different layers each with different cook times that have to be at their peak simultaneously. They have to be stacked perfectly for ease of enjoyment and textural experience AND they have to be made within the acceptable brunch window. People will wait for the perfect rack of lamb, they won’t express patience for a what they deem a “simple fry-up.” Brunch is not for the faint of heart. Brunch is not low brow. Bruch doesn’t have to be brunch.
Take these Sweet Corn Pancakes with Sour Cherry Compote for example. I ate these at 5:30 PM on a Thursday evening. 11 AM on a Sunday be damned! I enjoyed the crap out of them for dinner. And to tie all this back to my first paragraph, I couldn’t think of the last time I indulged in something sweet for dinner. It never happens. It’s never socially acceptable. But with brunch, sure. As I said before, choosing between sweet and savory can be a challenge at 11 AM whilst hungover. But when you’re confronted with that same choice after a long workday, it’s easy. Sweet, baby! Sweet. Having these pancakes for dinner is the definition of a treat yo’self moment.
So, those are my rambling thoughts on brunch, but let’s get down to brass tacks. What’s the deal with these Sweet Corn Pancakes? Well, it’s all very simple. I took the pancake recipe I’ve been making my whole damn life and I cut three ears of corn into the batter. I thought of adding cornmeal to the mix but I wanted to maintain the insane fluffiness of my old faithfuls and I was worried about weighing them down. Honestly, these cakes don’t need the cornmeal, the corn flavor is gorgeously pronounced, you can’t miss it.
The sour cherry compote was a little off-the-cuff. I completely lost my shit when I saw these cherries at my local farmer’s market, so I overbought. They are difficult to track down in my neck of the woods and their season is unfairly short-lived. But my excitement (and impulsiveness) saddled me with A LOT of cherries. So, a few pies later, I decided to move on and cook down the remaining cherries and this compote was born. I already had these Sweet Corn Pancakes on my radar and I had a hunch the two would get along famously. And I was right!
So, that’s the deal with these Sweet Corn Pancakes with Sour Cherry Compote. Thank you for wading through my unsolicited thoughts on brunch. I am now happy to reward your patience with zee recipe.
Sweet Corn Pancakes with Sour Cherry Compote
Sour Cherry Compote
- 2 cups fresh sour cherries pitted
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweet Corn Pancakes
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ears corn
For the Compote
- Place the cherries, sugar and salt in a small saucepan. Place the pan over low heat and stir constantly as the cherries start to weep moisture. Once the cherries have leached a good amount of their liquid, increase the heat to medium.
- In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch, water, vanilla extract together. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the cherries and stir until the cherries reach a thick, syrup-like consistency. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
For the Pancakes
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture using the back of a spoon. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, butter and vanilla extract together. Pour the milk mixture into the center of the well and stir to form a thick lumpy batter.
- Cut the kernels off of each ear of corn and add them to the batter. Stir until evenly dispersed.
- Heat a pat of butter and a teaspoon of coconut oil on a large cast iron griddle over medium heat until shimmering.
- Spoon a 1/4 of a cup of the batter on to the griddle. Cook 3-4 pancakes at a time. Fry until golden, about 4-5 minutes. Flip the pancakes and fry for an additional 4-5 minutes.
- Transfer the pancakes to a plate and keep warm in a 150°F oven until ready to serve.
- Place 2-3 pancakes on each plate. Top with a large spoonful of cherry compote and garnish with a dollop of unsweetened whipped cream if desired. Enjoy with a glass of milk or a damn good coffee.