Monday, January 23, 2012

Pancakes for Breakfast

As I have travelled Europe I have noticed that every country has it's own type of pancake. Or at least, they think they do, and are very proud of them, but really they are all pancakes. When I was in Vienna I was taken to a restaurant called Palatchinkenpfandel (I think that is how it was spelt) which was all about pancakes and the special sort of pan that they are cooked in there. You could get savoury ones and sweet - some kinds were served in the pan with all the toppings on top, and other kinds were served with the fillings rolled up inside. When I tried to explain that we have pancakes just like this at home, my friends insisted that it couldn't be true. They were under the impression that I must be talking about American pancakes, those fat, fluffy things are stacked together and are on all the television shows. I tried to explain that our pancakes were thin and roll-able, but then they though I was talking about crepes. Everywhere that you go over here the people think that their food is really special and unique, when really there are variations of the same dishes all over Europe. And from there, they were taken to New Zealand and we come to the pancakes that I grew up with. Sometimes they are a little bit fat, if you use a raising agent, but generally they are thin and soft and you roll them up. My favourite filling is ice-cream.

New Zealand Pancakes

1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup flour (or self-raising flour)
A pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

First of all, those last two ingredients are optional. I have taken my recipe from the back of the Chelsea sugar bag, so they are most definately New Zealand pancakes because that is a New Zealand brand. Really, you just need a cup each of milk and flour, one egg and a pinch of salt. So it's easy to remember how to make pancakes.

The mixture should be made in advance, like the night before or at least an hour before. I don't know why. You simply whisk it all together briskly, so that there are no lumps. My mixture is always a bit lumpy though and the pancakes turn out well all the same. Making pancakes is really simple, you just need a good pan with a heavy bottom. Place it on the stove and turn the heat to medium, then place a little bit of butter in it and wait until it is melted and sizzling, but not burnt.

So, it's odd to try and describe how to cook pancakes, but once you've had a few tries it's simple enough. You simply spoon or pour some mixture into the pan, then pick the pan up and tip it from side to side gently, so that the mixture spreads across the bottom of the pan. Soon it will start to bubble, at which point you flip it over. You can do so with a spatula, or you can try to flip it, but that would be too difficult to explain so if you don't know how, you should find a  youtube video.

Serve your pancakes immediately, or pile them on a plate in a warm oven until the whole batch is cooked. When I was younger we would have pancakes for breakfast after sleepovers at a friend's, and we would squeeze lemon juice onto them and then sprinkle them with cinnamon sugar, then roll them up. Or we would roll ice-cream up in them and then eat them really quickly, before the ice-cream could melt and drip out all over our fingers. We always would eat too much and end up with tummy aches. This time around I only had self-raising flour, so my pancakes were sort of fat, and I served them stacked up with lemon curd and jam spread between.

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