Metro-East Living

Stack these 5 global recipes against your usual pancakes

Swedish pancakes are thin, eggy and traditionally served rolled up with powdered sugar and lingonberry preserves.
Swedish pancakes are thin, eggy and traditionally served rolled up with powdered sugar and lingonberry preserves.

It was a small restaurant on Smith Street, one I passed by on a downhill walk to the sea port. La Creperie, the sign said. It seemed wise to back up, stop and eat breakfast. On an island almost as French as it is British, crepes sounded just right.

I am not so much a fan of crepes as I am of Swedish pancakes, but I settled for crepes that morning on the Isle of Guernsey in the English Channel. My order came with a lemon curd (well, that’s British) and squiggles of whipped cream.

I make pancakes a lot at home, though not crepes or Swedish pancakes. Both take some work to get right.

I grew up in a Swedish household where my grandmother would haul out the cast-iron skillet and one by one, make us giant Swedish pancakes. I still yearn for the eggy flavor and thin consistency. There was no sugar in Grandma’s recipe (some do call for it), but that was taken care of by spreading lingonberry jam on, sprinkling with powdered sugar and then rolling them up with our fingers. Gone in seconds.

Around the world, this style of thin, crepe-like pancake goes by many names, with only slight variations in the recipes: blini (Russia), stuffed blintzes (Hungarian origin, but usually associated with Jewish food) and Palatschinke (Central and Eastern Europe).

Almost a week into Lent now, I have seen plenty of pancake dinners and breakfasts advertised on church marquees. What would Lent be without a bunch of guys in a church basement whipping up a stack? It was easy to get pancakes on the brain for this story.

Most of us make pancakes that come out of a box. I often use the Bisquick recipe, but make the special version with baking powder that’s on the back of the box. I admit it, the recipe makes pretty good, fluffy pancakes.

But, why not think outside the griddle and come up with some different ways to make pancakes? Like Swedish pancakes. Like crepes. And how about crushed pineapple in pancakes? Or, for dinner, corn and shrimp. And for anyone who wants a challenge, tackle the cheese blintzes.

Grandpa Chuck’s Swedish Pancakes

5 eggs

2 cups milk

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, for the pan

For serving: lingonberry preserves, sugar, whipped cream, maple syrup

Whisk the eggs and milk in a large bowl, and then add the flour and salt. Whisk to combine but don’t worry about the lumps.

With the butter standing by, heat a 9 to 10-inch pan (a crepe pan works great) over medium heat. When it’s hot but not smoking, put a little butter in the pan and swirl it around. Ladle in a scant 1/4-cup pancake batter and swirl the pan so the batter spreads out evenly. Let it cook for a minute, until the underside is light brown. Use a spatula to flip the pancake over and allow to cook for another 40 seconds to a minute, until the second side is browned. Move the pancake over to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. If you have two pans of the right size, using them both speeds up the process.

To serve, lay a pancake flat on your plate and sprinkle a little sugar onto the pancake. Then spread on lingonberry (or other) preserves or fruit. Roll it up and repeat with one or two more. Then top with whipped cream and maple syrup if you like.

Yield: 4 pancakes.

Tips: The higher fat milk you use, the richer these pancakes will taste. For best results, bring all ingredients to room temperature before mixing.

Editor’s note: My grandmother would layer the pancakes on a plate and cover with a damp kitchen towel and keep in a warm oven.

Chuck Smith, courtesy of dumplingsanddoughnuts.com

Corn and Shrimp Silver-Dollar Pancakes with Avocado Crema

1 cup flour

1/3 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 extra-large egg, beaten

1 cup corn kernels

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

1 pound raw shrimp shelled, deveined, diced, patted dry

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

Vegetable oil

Avocado cream, see recipe

Stir together the flour, milk, salt and egg until just combined; if batter is thick, add up to 2 tablespoons more milk. Fold in the corn kernels, green onions, shrimp, soy sauce and sesame oil.

Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Working in batches to avoid crowding the pan, add 1/4 cup dollops of batter into the skillet, spreading each into silver-dollar-size rounds, about 3 inches wide. Cook until brown, flipping once, 3 to 4 minutes per side. If the skillet begins to seem dry, add more oil. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with avocado cream.

Yield: 16 pancakes.

Avocado cream: Place 1 ripe Hass avocado, peeled, pitted; 1/4 cup creme fraiche or sour cream; 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender green stems, lightly packed; and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. (If the avocado is not very ripe, you may need a little more creme fraiche to get a smooth sauce.) Taste and season with salt as needed.

Chicago Tribune

Pineapple Pancakes

1 1/2 cups crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large mixing bowl, make the pancake batter by stirring together crushed pineapple, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, eggs and melted butter.

Slowly add in flour until you have a nice batter, which may be a little thicker than typical pancake batter. (It can be thinned slightly with a little bit of milk.)

Heat a heavy flat nonstick griddle or skillet that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray over medium-high heat. Pour pancake batter in 1/4-cup scoops onto the griddle or skillet. When bubbles start to form on top, flip and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Keep warm until serving (a 200 degree oven and a cookie sheet works great for this).

Yield: 12 pancakes.

Note: Add some of the drained pineapple juice to maple syrup and heat before serving. Slice bananas for the top, then add warm syrup.

Adapted from thestayathomechef.com

Crepes

2 large eggs

3/4 cup milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup flour

3 tablespoons melted butter

Butter, for coating the pan*

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse for 10 seconds only (any longer and batter will make rubbery crepes). Place the batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour. This allows the bubbles to subside so the crepes will be less likely to tear during cooking. The batter will keep for up to 48 hours.

Heat a small non-stick pan. Add enough butter to just coat. Pour 1/4-cup batter into the center of the pan and swirl to spread evenly. Cook for 30 seconds and flip. Cook for another 10 seconds and remove to the cutting board. Recoat with butter when necessary Lay them out flat so they can cool. Continue until all batter is gone.

Yield: 17 to 22 crepes.

Excellent video at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/crepes-recipe.

To store: After they have cooled, you can stack them and store in sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to two months. When using frozen crepes, thaw on a rack before gently peeling apart.

Savory variation: Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, spinach or sun-dried tomatoes to the egg mixture.

Sweet variation: Add 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur to the egg mixture.

*To more easily spread butter in bottom of pan, take a half stick and peel paper back. Hold stick and rub butter onto pan.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown at foodnetwork.com

Cheese Blintzes

Food blogger Tori Avey created this recipe for Gentile use! She is a convert to Judaism and her husband grew up in Israel. Blintzes are not simple to create. Most recipes call for a filling made with farmer’s cheese (sometimes called pot cheese). Ricotta and cream cheese are used here, but use an equivalent amount of farmer’s cheese if you can find it. (No draining needed.) Also, feel free to fry in butter (clarified works best), if you prefer that over vegetable oil. You can see step-by-step photos of the process at http://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/2010/05/shiksa-blintzes.

4 eggs

1 cup flour

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

Nonstick cooking oil spray

Vegetable oil with a high smoke point for frying (grapeseed or peanut oil works best)

FILLING:

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese

1/4 cup sugar

1 egg yolk

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch of salt

The night before: Place the ricotta cheese from the filling ingredients into a strainer lined with cheesecloth placed on top of a bowl. Let the ricotta drain overnight in the refrigerator to remove excess liquid. Note: this step is optional, but it will help the filling to thicken so it won’t be quite so soft and goopy in the center.

Blend all of the blintz ingredients together using a food processor, blender, immersion blender or electric hand mixer. Consistency of the batter should be smooth (no lumps). Alternatively, you can use a fork to mix all ingredients together until the batter is smooth.

Warm up a nonstick skillet on medium heat until hot. The skillet is ready when a drop of water sizzles on the surface of the pan. If the water pops or jumps out of the pan, the skillet it too hot — let it cool slightly before starting. Grease the entire surface of the hot pan generously with nonstick cooking oil spray.

Pour the blintz batter by 1/3 cupfuls into the pan, then tilt the pan in a circular motion till the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan in a large, thin circular shape.

Let each blintz cook for 60-75 seconds until the edges of the blintz brown and the bottom of the blintz is lightly golden. You can tell it’s ready by touching the center of the pancake’s surface — it should be dry and slightly tacky to the touch. Do not flip the blintz to cook the other side. Use a spatula to take the blintz out of the pan and place it on a plate or a clean kitchen towel.

Keep the blintzes separated by pieces of parchment paper, wax paper or paper towels. This will help keep them from sticking together.

When all of the blintzes are cooked, create your filling. Put all of the filling ingredients into a mixing bowl, then use a fork to mix them well. Filling should be well-blended but slightly lumpy.

Now you’re going to stuff and wrap up your blintzes. Put 3 tablespoons filling on the lower part of the blintz, about an inch from the edge.

Fold the lower edge of the blintz up over the filling. Fold the sides of the blintz inward, as though you’re folding an envelope. Roll the blintz up and over the filling like a burrito, tucking the edges in as you roll.

When the blintzes are stuffed and rolled, you are ready to fry them. Pour 1/4 cup of vegetable oil into the skillet and heat over medium until hot. Do not let the oil turn brown or start smoking — if this happens, discard the oil and try again.

Cook the blintzes in batches of 3 — this will give you space to turn them easily in the pan. Carefully place the stuffed blintzes flap-side down into the hot oil. The blintzes should fry for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until they’re brown and crispy.

Turn the blintzes carefully using a spatula and/or tongs, then fry for an additional 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Blintzes should be evenly browned on both sides. Makes 8 to 9 blintzes.

Serve blintzes warm. They can be served as is, or topped with fruit topping, sour cream, applesauce, whipped cream or maple syrup.

toriavey.com

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