It’s no secret around these parts that the Clinton Street Baking Company, a cozy 32-seat brunch spot run by DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg, single-handedly dominates the pancake scene in New York. New York Magazine has twice dubbed its pancakes the best New York City has to offer—and one bite into those melt-in-your-mouth pancakes, smothered with blueberry jam and luscious maple butter, will tell you why.
We had the chance to speak with DeDe about what makes these pancakes to-die-for. Her answer? “The thing I love best about Neil’s pancakes is the texture—they are fluffy, chewy, and crispy on the edges, with all the complexity of a yeast-risen cake. The addition of our (now) famous maple butter makes them the ultimate indulgence.” On top of that, DeDe notes that their batter is hand-mixed with cage-free eggs multiple times a day—no pre-made mixes here.
Yet a pilgrimage to the CSBC pancake mecca can be difficult, to say the least, with weekend waits of up to two hours or more. For those days where you’re caught between staying in your pajamas and daydreams of reaching pancake Nirvana, Neil and DeDe have graciously offered the Clinton Street Baking Company Cookbook. Here’s the recipe for their mouthwatering pancakes, complete with maple butter, scaled down to serve just two people.
Clinton Street Baking Company Pancakes, for Two
reprinted and adapted with permission from the Clinton Street Baking Company Cookbook
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 6-8 medium (3-inch) pancakes
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tsp baking powder (about 1⅓ tsp)
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tsp unmelted for the griddle
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup blueberries or sliced bananas and 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar or cinnamon sugar for dusting
01. Measure and sift all the dry ingredients into a large (preferably stainless-steel) mixing bowl: flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.
02. In another bowl, whisk together the yolks, milk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry mixture. The result should be slightly lumpy, yet combined to form a batter.
03. Whip the egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until they reach medium peaks (soft in the middle). You can either whip them by hand with a whisk, or put them in the bowl of an electric mixer to whip. Be careful not to over-whip the egg whites.
04. Gently mix half of the whipped whites into the batter with a large rubber spatula. Then gently fold the remaining half into the batter. Keep in mind this batter should be slightly lumpy and have large parts of egg whites not fully incorporated; it should look like whitecaps in the ocean with foam on top. (If you plan to take a break at this point before cooking, the batter will last a few hours in the fridge without deflating too much.)
05. Heat a griddle—either an electric griddle, a stovetop griddle, or a big flat pan—to 350 to 375°F. Grease the hot griddle with the remaining butter. Drop a cup (approximately 4 tbsp) of pancake batter on the griddle and cook to set. Add 1 tbsp blueberries or sliced bananas and 1 tsp walnuts before turning the pancakes. (Note: Always add the fruit to the pancakes once they’re on the griddle, never prior in the pancake mix.) When you see bubbles start to form on top, lift the pancake halfway up to see if it’s golden brown and crispy on the edges. If ready, flip the pancake.
06. When the pancake is golden brown on both sides, remove with a spatula. Repeat with the remaining batter and filling, cooking several pancakes at a time. Garnish with confectioners’ sugar for the blueberry pancakes, cinnamon sugar for the banana-walnut. Serve warm with maple butter.
Prep Time: 2-3 minutes
Cook Time: 2-3 minutes
Total Time: 4-6 minutes
¼ cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade-B organic
½ stick (¼ cup or 4 tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1. Heat maple syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add cold butter to warm syrup, whisking until sauce is smooth and all of the butter is incorporated. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to use. Maple Butter can also be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two months. Reheat before using, but never bring to a boil.
Note: We made our own blueberry compote to go on top; simply combine 1 cup blueberries, 2 tbsp sugar, and 1 tsp lemon juice in a small pot over medium-low heat and simmer for 5-6 minutes, stirring continuously, until a thick mixture has formed. If you’d like the berries to remain intact, stir gently; if you want a thicker jam-like consistency, mash them as you stir.