My favorite Saturday morning activity (once Clover and the chickens have been fed), is to watch the Food Network. I love some of the stars more than others, and the pursuit of good ideas is an awesome excuse to spend a solid hour on the couch. Yesterday began with top stars talking about their all-time favorite cake recipes. Not being a Southerner, it was the first I ever heard about hoecakes, and Paula Dean’s hoecakes were ranked up there among the wonders of the world.
Knowing that there was far too much potential for fun in serving up hoecakes, especially if an e is dropped, I tried out a slightly tweaked version of Paula’s recipe this morning, topped with a homemade blueberry syrup. A resounding thumbs up from Anna and Bill caused us all to question why anyone would ever bother with a boring white flour pancake when there was an option of a hoecake.
A tiny bit of research later in the day on the origin of the hoecake took the fun out of it. Turns out, hoes designed for cotton fields were large and flat with a hole for the long handle to slide through. Field hands in the 18th and 19th centuries would remove the handle of their hoes and use the blade like a griddle over an open fire. Notwithstanding a lack of humanity underlying this scene, there’s also some whopping ingenuity and an indication that then and now, hoecakes are well worth the effort.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 eggs slightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup milk plus 1 Tbsp. cider vinegar (or 1 cup buttermilk)
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- If not using buttermilk, which is not on the list, add 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar to 1 cup milk and set aside for 5 minutes.
- Whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt, eggs, water and vegeteble oil.
- Add milk and whisk until thoroughly combined.
- Drop by the 1/4 cup onto hot skillet covered with oil.
- Cook for 4 minutes on each side being careful not to burn.
- Serve with Better Butter and Blueberry Syrup.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. raw sugar
- 2 tsp. flour
- Combine first three ingredients and cook in a heavy saucepan on medium to high heat for 10 minutes.
- Add 1 Tbsp. of the liquid from the heated blueberries into 2 tsp. flour and stir until there are no lumps.
- Add flour mixture to blueberries. Combine thoroughly and reduce heat to low.