No, not me! Though some would beg to differ. I’m talking about pancakes. Or even better Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. A precursor to what is other wise known as Shrove Tuesday. Though Fat Tuesday sounds like a lot more fun. And if you’ve ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans (or can at least remember it!) you know it’s all about wretched excess. But oh so enjoyable. So are pancakes. They satisfy on all levels of comfort and delight. Most pancakes are considered a quick bread, as they contain some form of leavening to help them achieve that light fluffy melt in your mouth texture. National Pancake week kicks off on March 1st. It also heralds the start of Lent which officially begins on March 8th.
Shrove Tuesday’s original intent was to use up pantry staples that were considered rich or decadent. Sounds good to me. Which after indulging in, one was to spend the first day fasting and in prayer. I’ll just take the pancakes. Sweet or savory, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midnight nosh, there is no wrong time to whip up a batch. Delish! And im not talking I-Hop here. No way. Cardboard discs with whipped fake margarine belong in the garbage, not on your plate. So get out grandmas pottery mixing bowl, your whisk and a few simple ingredients and you are on your way to making your mouth really really happy. Not to mention your tummy.
So first, a tiny bit of history. Drum roll if you please. In Russia the pre-lenten pancake feast, known as Maslenitsa, is celebrated by indulging in thin buckwheat crepes known as Blini. Often topped with caviar, honey, jam, sour cream or butter. YUM -O! These are traditionally based on little symbols of the sun. Golden, round, warm, they signify the end of winter and the beginning of spring. Hell Yes! After one of the longest and snowiest winters in the history of the east coast I am more than ready for spring to arrive. In America the original pancake was called the “johnny-cake” and made from cornmeal. In France they are known as crepes. The Swedish make a pancake with rice & saffron and baked in the oven. In China, its “cong you bing” an incredibly popular street food otherwise known as a scallion pancake. You can make it sweet by adding red bean paste. Though my personal favourites being the Danish “Aebleskiver”. Little round puffs cooked in a special pan stuffed with jam & cream cheese. Heaven. I add a zest of lemon and warm brown sugar syrup. Fantastic.
Alright now for some ideas. Sweet. Savory. Short silver dollars, stuffed or dinner size plates, whatever stack you make will fit the bill. Some of my favourite combinations follow. In no particular order. Just enjoy. Only try not to drool on your Mac. :O
Cheddar & candied bacon w/ whipped maple butter.
Lemon/ white chocolate & warm blueberry compte.
Cranberry & orange topped w/ duck hash.
Sweet potato & pecan w/ toasted coconut & melty marshmallows (homemade plz)
Apple & cinnamon w/ whipped cream & warm pomegranate syrup.
Dark Chocolate w/ sun-dried cherries & sweet cream butter.
Ricotta pancakes w/ candied ginger & lingonberry sauce.
Peking pancakes w/ duck confit/hoisin drizzle & scallion whipped cream.
Potato pancakes w/ sliced brisket & onion balsamic jam.
Poppy seed w/ lemon curd and fresh raspberries.
Pinneaple “upside -down” pancakes w/ toasted macadamia nuts & coconut anglaise.
Cinnamon w/ carmelized bananas & carmel peanut butter sauce.
Scallion pancakes w/ sautéed shiitake & spicy short rib ragu.
Stuffed pancakes.. while the batter is on the griddle lay in a pre-cooked maple glazed sausage. Cook. Roll. Top w/ butter & warm syrup. Nice.
You get the general idea. Let you imagination take you away. Create. Experiment. Have fun! Cooking, if not fun, well then .. whats the point? We need to eat to live, yes. But hell why not have a good time doing so!
So to conclude my love of pancakes… I’m including my grandpa’s pancake recipe and one for all my gluten intolerant friends. Feel free to use what ever recipe that makes you happy, or has been passed down to you.
Grampys Pancakes ;
2 cups a-p flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sel
3 tbsp sucre
3 cups buttermilk
4 tbsp melted butter
mix the dry. add the wet. let rest at least one hour. have fun!
Okay for my celiac buddies : Gluten free pancakes!
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup melted vegan butter
splash of vanilla & pinch of cinnamon.
Mix dry. Add wet. Let rest. Enjoy! No tummy ache !
*I owe the inspiration for this post to @fugimama ( Rachael) on twitter. Who got my creative juices flowing. ((hugs))