Happy Pancake Day!

To celebrate Pancake Tuesday, here is a great article from Martha Stewart Living on Pancakes from Around the Globe.

Flapjack — from America
Good old American fluffy flapjacks, dotted with blueberries and drizzled with syrup, are sweetly enticing for their flavor and their familiarity. Get the Flapjack recipe.

Buckwheat Blini — from Russia
In Russia, blini, seemingly similar round, flat cakes, are a world apart. These savories were originally crumbly pancakes with a strong buckwheaty, yeasty flavor. Nowadays, a blin — what you’d be eating if you had just one, nearly impossible to do — tends to be more cohesive, subtle, and sophisticated. Served with spoonfuls of creme fraiche and sevruga caviar, blini make wonderful hors d’oeuvres alongside glasses of chilled vodka.

Rava Dosa — from India
A speciality of southern India — though dosa shops are popping up in U.S. cities, including New York City and Los Angeles — dosas are thin pancakes with a crisp exterior and a slightly spongy interior. The traditional dosa is made with a batter of rice and lentils, fermented overnight. Ours is a rava dosa, made with semolina and yogurt; it rests for only an hour before cooking. Often, dosas are filled with spiced vegetables or potatoes; we serve our spicy ones unfilled, with sweet, piquant coconut chutney and steaming chai tea.

Toad-in-the-Hole — from China
Sausages and pancakes just seem to go together, and, in fact, they’ve been a popular pairing since at least 1787, when the first reference to toad-in-the-hole appeared in an English provincial glossary, for “meat boiled in a crust.” That sounds a bit less appetizing than what this entree has evolved into: pork sausages (called bangers in England) baked in a savory eggy “crust.” Ours is flavored with fresh rosemary and a touch of mustard, and served with an onion gravy intensified by Madeira.

Scallion Pancake — from China
These crisp oniony pancakes are familiar to anyone who has set foot in a Chinese restaurant — or an open-air market in Beijing, where they’re cooked on hot griddles. They’re unusual in that they’re pancakes made with a firm, kneaded and rolled dough rather than a thin, poured batter. Still, they’re light as air and not too greasy, especially if you fry them in vegetable oil rather than the traditional lard. Dip them in a sauce, like the one we made with rice-wine vinegar, soy sauce, hot chiles, and sesame seeds. Get the Scallion Pancake recipe.

Wein Palatschinken — from Austria
These fluffy, lightly sweet stuffed crepes can be found throughout Vienna at its myriad coffeehouses and konditorei, or pastry shops. Ours are piped with a wine-cream filling that is flecked with poppy seeds and dusted with confectioners’ sugar. We used Gewurtztraminer, but any other lightly sweet white wine, such as Riesling or Tokay (a Hungarian wine), would also be delicious.

Crepes Suzette — from France
These crepes are among the most famous pancakes in the world, but their origin remains mysterious. Henri Charpentier, who was a chef at Monte Carlo’s Cafe de Paris, lays claim to their invention in his 1934 autobiography. As the story goes, he inadvertently set fire to cordials in a chafing dish while serving these crepes to the Prince of Wales, who then suggested that they be named after a young lady at his table. But the first mention actually appears in “Escoffier,” published in 1903. Either way, these filled pancakes, with their intense orange flavor, should be in every cook’s repertoire.

Socca — from France
These crisp chickpea and olive oil pancakes are local to Nice, on the Mediterranean coast, where cooks in markets prepare them in large round copper pans (and, ideally, in the high heat of a wood-burning oven) and serve them in paper cones. Also known as farinata in Italy’s Liguria, where chickpeas are a staple, these are savory pancakes. We sprinkled our variation with black pepper, coarse salt, and chopped rosemary. Serve them with a green salad as a light lunch or with an aperitif as a late-afternoon snack.

Pannukakku — from Finland
Unlike most pancakes, this cardamom-scented version hailing from Finland is baked rather than fried or grilled, giving it a soft, puffed-up interior and a delicately crisp crust. It’s particularly versatile: For breakfast, it’s delectable with lingonberry jam (or cloudberry, if you can find it); for a more savory, late-day meal, try it with the traditional accompaniment of yellow-split-pea soup. By the way, if you happen to be in Finland and want to order this pancake, the name is pronounced “bannugaggu.”

Roti with Caramelized Bananas — from Thailand
In the Far East, some of the best food comes from street vendors. Among the offerings in Bangkok are sweet rolled roti, which fall somewhere between pancakes and flatbread. There, cooks caramelize local bananas — sugary and tiny, and no bigger than your thumb — but regular bananas will do just fine. We drizzled this roti with condensed milk and served it with a bowl of rambutans. Get the Roti recipe.

Except from Martha Stewart Living April 2005

As a Canadian, I’ll be serving mine up with Maple syrup, of course!


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One Response to “Happy Pancake Day!”

  1. Blair Says:

    I’m impresed by your visual and conceptual analysis and descriptions. Certainly, yours is an innate and natural flare.

    Your pics depict the blend of old and new, the clean and classic. Excellent!

    Dr B. Christink

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