Lemon-Rosemary Buckwheat Pancakes (inspired by the Peels muffin)

In our final year in New York, we became semi-devotees to the breakfast at Peels—a hip, Southern-influenced eatery on the Bowery. The food was consistently good, the Stumptown coffee strong… but what kept us coming back was two-fold: first, they open at 8am (even on Sundays), which makes it a rare treat for new parents; and, second, we fell hard for their namesake muffin. We’d order a simple savory—usually the Build-a-Biscuit or even just the scrambled eggs—and a warmed (heavenly) Peels Muffin. It was the answer to the savory/sweet dilemma, because the muffin, with just the right combination of buckwheat, lemon marmalade, and rosemary, was perfectly semi-sweet.

Since leaving the city, I’ve scoured the internet for the recipe. There’s one “inspired by” out there, but it seems to me to have too many ingredients. (Though I haven’t tried it, so who’s to say?) Shuna Lydon, the chef who created the muffin for Peels has shared the recipe for her Lemon Marmalade on her blog, and discussed her preferred buckwheat source, but alas no muffin recipe to date. Truth be told, I was feeling a little lazy about making my own marmalade and looked around a bit for a good jarred substitute. You can find one at a specialty market like Dean & Deluca, but the mostly Italian-made marmalade can be difficult to track down and very expensive.

But then it occurred to me: the same flavor combination of tart lemon, fragrant rosemary, and nutty buckwheat would be perfect in a buttermilk pancake!

And by golly, it was.

For roughly 10 4-inch pancakes, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (I used Red Mill brand)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2-3 tsp of coarsely chopped rosemary (and maybe a sprig or two for garnish)
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into small dice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (Or regular milk is fine, too. You can also thin some yogurt with milk, as a substitute.)
  • vegetable oil for prepping the griddle or frying pan
  • lemon curd for topping (maybe some maple syrup, too, if you have a real sweet tooth)

Blend the dry ingredients with the butter (you could pulse in a food processor or smash with a fork or pastry tool). Whisk the eggs and milk separately and then add in the flour mixture until combined. It will seem fairly fluid. Let stand at least five minutes while you check the heat of your griddle. Getting the temperature right is probably the hardest part (you want low to moderate heat). Brush the surface with oil and then spoon on your batter. Usually 1-2 minutes on the first side is right, but you want to wait until bubbles start to form and then pop. Once you have those first bubbles popping, see if you can lift the pancake with your spatula. If the answer is yes, go ahead and flip. The second side will need less time. I usually have to adjust my temperature a little after my first attempt.

Top with generous lemon curd (maybe even put a little between pancakes) and serve warm!

P.S. My review of Peels for Serious Eats New York; and the secret to perfect soft-cooked eggs.

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