Well, how about them? You’ve probably eaten some version of them most all of your life, and have not given a second thought to the fact that this quick bread has been around on this earth about as long as any food made with grain. Crushed grain mixed with a liquid and baked on a hot stone was probably the first pancake (or stonecake.) In the United States we call them flapjacks, pancakes, griddlecakes or hotcakes. They may be made with white, wheat, oat or buckwheat flour. Johnnycakes are a variation made with ground corn. Different names in different countries: French crepes, German Pfannkuchen, The Netherlands Pannekoekenk, Swedish pannkakor and on and on and on. If you are interested in all the variations in all the world, Check http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancakes.
My experience with them started when I became engaged. I was teaching a Home Economics class, and one of my students wanted to know how to make pancakes. I confessed that I had never made them, He said, “Well, Miss Orr, if you are getting married, you’d better learn.” This was good advice since pancakes were my husband’s favorite food. And I’ve made many a pancake in the last 55+ years. They are quick, easy, versatile and so wonderfully delicious in so many different variations.
After we had children we had pancakes EVERY Sunday Morning. Pancakes, sausage and syrup. It’s our tradition!! When we had company, I would simmer sliced apples or peaches with butter, cinnamon and sugar.. Just slather THAT on the pancake for a company meal! Throw in a few blueberries to the batter before baking. Sprinkle some chopped pecans on the top when the pancake is poured on to the griddle. We had orange, thyme pancakes at a B&B in Maine; my friend makes wonderful ones from a biscuit mix. There are as many ways to make and serve as there are kitchens–almost.
On Shrove Tuesday, March 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. we will be serving the British Isles version of pancakes along with some American ones from my “old family recipe.” (Come and enjoy. No confessions required.)
The following is the British Isles pancake recipe:
1 cup flour
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt
Butter for cooking
Whisk together milk, eggs and salt.
Fold in sifted flour a little at the time and whisk until smooth.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet until it almost smokes.
Pour enough batter to thinly coat the pan.
Cook until lightly brown. Turn and brown on the other side.
Serve with lemon juice and sugar.
Note: the first one will be a disaster. It’s the “one for the dog.” The first one seasons the pan.
(Our neighbor always said that kids are like pancakes. You practice on the first one and pitch it out.)
My basic recipe is as follows:
l cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons cooking oil
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl or a large measuring cup mix the milk, egg and cooking oil.
Pour liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix, Mixture will have some lumps. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Drop by spoonfuls on a preheated griddle (about 375F.) that has a bit of cooking oil to prevent sticking.
Turn when light to medium brown and cook on other side to desired doneness. Remember that the first one seasons the pan, and the others will be better. To keep hot while cooking the entire batch, place a cookie sheet in a warm oven and place cooked cakes on that. That way maybe the cook can eat when everyone else eats.
Serve with butter, syrup, jams, jellies–with any of the variations mentioned or any other food that strikes your fancy.