Buttery, fluffy poppy seed pancakes served with homemade blood orange curd, whipped cream, and strawberries.
January is the Monday of all the months. I have post-Christmas sadness and the gym is constantly busy and everyone expects me to not drink and only eat spinach. What a bummer. Can’t we at least throw a fun holiday in the middle of this thing? Maybe we should just get together and create one for the sake of our collective mental health. Let’s create a holiday dedicated to puppies!!
In other news, I’m heavily considering a trip to Hawai’i soon. My pasty winter body could really use a defrost and a mai tai. Ya feel?
Or, we can just cure the Januaries with poppy seed pancakes and blood orange curd!
Cure the Januaries with Poppy seed pancakes + bright and citrus-y blood orange curd
A few years ago, after a particularly rough breakup, I went to San Francisco and stumbled into Zazie. (To this day, I don’t even know how I managed to get a table straight away, because I have yet to make it through the two hour wait ever since). I was understandably feeling a little “blah”, and while I wanted to curl up in my sweatpants in my hotel room, I was determined to have a fun trip. So, I ordered the poppy seed pancakes off of their specials menu. They were topped with lemon curd, whipped cream, and plenty of fresh strawberries, and I swear, they made everything better.
I decided to re-create those pancakes, because if they can make a bad breakup less sucky, they can definitely cure the Januaries. I based this recipe off of my funfetti pancake recipe, because it’s honestly my favorite pancake recipe everrr. And then I decided to use blood oranges for the curd, because they are one of the only good things about January. And the berries + whipped cream are obvious, yeah?
The secret to the fluffiest pancakes ever
Um ok, so these poppy seed pancakes are special for a very specific reason, and it’s because they are fluffy afffff! Not only do they have the perfect flavor, but they are light and airy and not gloopy in any way. You all know I love a good, dense cake, but I don’t want that for my pancakes.
To make pancakes that are fluffy as all hell, you need to mix them the least amount as possible! I want to say that I did approximately 14 stirs. Is it extra to count how many times you stir a batter? Yes. Is it necessary for perfect, fluffy pancakes? YES.
Next, you need to let the batter sit for about 10-15 minutes until it’s very bubbly. It is vvv important that you do not stir them after this point! Those bubbles are what make the pancakes fluffy and airy like angel wings, ok?
After you let the batter sit, it will be very thick. Go ahead and scoop it with a measuring cup, and then use a rubber spatula to get it in the pan. It will be so thick that you will need to use a spoon or butter knife to spread it in a circle. It’s a little extra work, but also makes for pancakes that are actually circular, so yay!
How to make blood orange curd
If you want to make things extra easy, you can always go with some store-bought lemon curd. Or, you can take it to the next level and serve poppy seed pancakes with homemade blood orange curd. It’s easy!
Most curds use only egg yolks, but I really hate separating eggs, and I never use the egg whites before they go bad. I think it makes the curd a little thinner, but on pancakes, it’s not that big of a deal. Think of it as a fruity, thicker syrup.
All you have to do is mix some blood orange juice + zest, sugar, and eggs in a saucepan. Stir in butter, let it thicken, and strain it through a fine-mesh sieve! The fine-mesh sieve isn’t totally necessary, but gets rid of any little bits of cooked egg that get stuck to the sides. Stir in some vanilla extract, and that’s it! Plus, you can make a couple of days in advance if you don’t want to go through the trouble Sunday morning when you haven’t even had coffee yet.
Some quick tips on how to make perfect poppy seed pancakes
To make the fluffiest pancakes ever, let the batter sit for about 15 minutes until bubbly. Don’t stir after this point, and the bubbles in the batter will give you airy, delicious pancakes. (See more above).
If you can’t find blood oranges, or they’re out of season, use regular oranges or lemons! Any citrus would work. I’ve also had luck with grapefruits!
The best way to cook pancakes is on a griddle or in a clean non-stick pan. Melt some butter in the pan or on the griddle, and let the pancakes cook for a few minutes. When the tops are bubbly, they are ready to flip! Wipe any burnt butter off of the pan/griddle afterward, or the remaining pancakes will taste burnt.
Leftover pancakes can be frozen in an airtight container or baggie for up to two months! Just let them defrost on the counter for about 15 minutes, and then microwave the pancakes for about 30 seconds, until hot.
Just a few other brunch recipes you might like to try!
Poppy Seed Pancakes + Blood Orange Curd
Poppy Seed Pancakes with Blood Orange Curd
Blood Orange Curd
- 1/2 cup blood orange juice (regular oranges or lemons would work too)
- 1 tbsp blood orange zest (regular oranges or lemons would work too)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Poppy Seed Pancakes
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted + more for pan
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Whipped cream and berries, for serving
To make the blood orange curd…
- Combine the blood orange juice, blood orange zest, sugar, and eggs in a heavy-bottomed pan until thoroughly combined. Cook over low heat, stirring in the butter until it melts.
- Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly until the first bubble appears on the surface and it has thickened slightly. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and let it cool completely. Press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface to keep a skin from forming.
Make the poppy seed pancakes…
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture, and whisk until it’s just thoroughly combined. Don’t overmix or the pancakes will be dense! Let sit for 10-15 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface. (At this point, you will have a thick and bubbly batter. Don’t stir it! Those bubbles are going to give you the fluffiest pancakes *ever*).
- Heat a pan or griddle over medium heat, and grease the pan with a little bit of unsalted butter. Add 1/4 cup of batter to the pan, swirling it with a spoon to create a circle (it will be thick and won’t spread on its own). Let cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes. Flip, and let cook until the pancake is lightly browned. Place cooked pancakes on a sheet pan in a warm oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.
- Serve pancakes with the blood orange curd, whipped cream, and berries. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
*Song of the day: Dontmakemefallinlove by Cuco