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How to Cook the Ultimate Mother’s Day Brunch

Skip the overcrowded restaurants and make her this instead

pancakes, berries, honey, rosemary
Getty Images

Here’s an insider’s tip from a culinary professional: Booking a table for Mother’s Day brunch is for chumps. The prices are inflated, the chefs loathe working Sunday mornings (especially after a busy Saturday that likely ended with tequila shots) and the servers are surly because the restaurant is overbooked.

But here’s the good news: Most mothers would probably rather stay home in pajamas anyway. And they love being pampered by their husbands and kids with the same level of attentiveness they give us during the rest of the year. 

Whether you still have kids at home who can be conscripted to help — and earn you bonus points by keeping them out of Mom’s hair — or you’re on your own, here’s your guide to cooking the ultimate Mother’s Day brunch.

The menu

• Start with fresh-squeezed orange juice (pro tip: make it with tangerines, which are generally sweeter). If she’s looking for something stronger (i.e., a mimosa), add a 6-ounce split of champagne or sparkling wine.

• If she’s a tea drinker, buy some specialty whole leaf tea. If she’s a coffee drinker, splurge on a bag of fancy beans.

• Select a dish based on what she loves, then upgrade it with ingredients that make it more sophisticated than your average weekend brunch.

Not sure what to make? Here’s a recipe that’s both healthy and decadent, and she’ll immediately notice that you didn’t just whip up something quick from a box.

Blueberry Cornmeal Pancakes With Rosemary Balsamic Maple Syrup

These savory, herbaceous pancakes deliver pleasing layers of flavor and texture that will help spoil Mom in her moment of zen.

½ cup coarse ground cornmeal 
¾ cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1¼ cups buttermilk (or 1 cup plain yogurt + ¼ cup water) 
1 egg
¾ cup fresh blueberries
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon best-available aged balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
10 black peppercorns

In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In the large pan you plan to make the pancakes in, melt 1½ tablespoons butter. Add melted butter to a second bowl along with buttermilk and egg. Reserve the pan. 

Use a whisk to mix. Then slowly pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl, using a rubber spatula to incorporate. Do not overmix. Batter should be thick and airy at the same time — but not too thick. The proportions of the flour and cornmeal to buttermilk should get you to the right spot, but it may be necessary to add a couple of additional tablespoons of flour or buttermilk. Use your instincts. 

Gently fold in blueberries and zest. Let rest for 15 minutes. Bubbles should form in the batter.

Just before you start making the pancakes, in a small pot over medium heat, add maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, rosemary and peppercorns. Bring to a high simmer, then reduce to a low simmer for about 5 minutes. Reserve.

In the sauté pan you used to melt the butter, over medium/medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter. If you have a second pan, set it up with a tablespoon of butter over medium/medium-high heat so that you can work both pans at the same time to cook all the pancakes at once. 

When butter is sizzling, drop in ¼-cup dollops of batter. Cook until bubbles form on top. After 2 minutes, sneak a peek under pancakes and modulate the heat if pancakes are blackening before bubbles start to form. 

Flip and continue cooking for about 90 seconds, or until browned on the bottom and cooked throughout. Repeat with remaining batter if necessary.

To serve

Top with warm syrup (leaving the peppercorns behind in the pot)

Cooking time

Less than 45 minutes


Two servings (about 8 3-inch pancakes)

Follow Article Topics: Eating-&-Drinking