A Good Appetite: Honey, lemon zest and Greek yogurt give your batter a wake-up call. Recipe: Lemon Poppy-Seed Pancakes with Greek Yogurt and Jam

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Chances are, if you have a reliable pancake recipe, you rarely stray.

After all, pancake recipes are relatively similar to one another, and most are good. When pancakes are warm and buttered with amber syrup sliding down the sides, the subtleties of the pancake itself are muted by the maple.

Then there’s the fact that most of us make pancakes on weekend mornings, knocking around the kitchen on autopilot before we are fully charged and caffeinated. In this state, experimenting with something new is not only bothersome but also downright risky.

But recently I was inspired to branch out and try something new. A jar of homemade rhubarb compote had been staring pinkly at me from its spot in the fridge. I felt it needed a canvas more majestic than a mere bowl of yogurt or slice of toast. What it really wanted, it seemed to be saying, was a fluffy pancake on which to shine.

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As pleasing as my standard pancakes are, they didn’t seem special enough for homemade compote.

But some honey and lemon zest stirred into the batter, enriched with Greek yogurt and extra melted butter, elevated them nicely. So did a sprinkle of poppy seeds. (Sour cream and sesame seeds would have worked, too.)

Then for serving, I slathered the pancakes with more Greek yogurt before gilding everything with a dollop of rosy compote.

The pancakes were fruity and sweet and really more like dessert, which was just fine with me.

In fact, if you substitute creme fraiche, whipped cream or ice cream for the Greek yogurt, they would be special enough to serve to company. They would be exotic, too, because while crepes are universally accepted as dessert fare, pancakes rarely show up at the table post-brunch.

For the most elegant dessert presentation, consider making the pancakes silver-dollar size, both because they are quite filling and they are cuter that way. Otherwise, frying bigger pancakes is easier and more efficient.

And if you don’t happen to have homemade rhubarb compote beckoning from the fridge, any good jam or preserves would work nicely, too. But I would stay away from maple syrup, which could overpower the delicacy of the lemon. Save the syrup for your regularly scheduled Sunday-morning fare.


Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

1 1/3 cups Greek yogurt, more for serving

2/3 cup whole milk

4 large eggs

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, more for frying

2 tablespoons honey

260 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)

12 grams baking soda (about 2 teaspoons)

12 grams kosher salt (about 1 teaspoon)

2 ½ tablespoons poppy seeds

Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

Jam, for serving

1. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, eggs, butter and honey. In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the dry ingredients and fold in the wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the poppy seeds and lemon zest.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a pat of butter to the skillet and swirl to coat. Working in batches, drop ¼ cup batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes, 2 to 3 minutes; flip and continue cooking until golden and firm, 1 to 2 minutes more. To serve, slather each pancake with a dollop of yogurt and a spoonful of jam.

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