Today we made pancakes, and it occurred to me that I have been pan-caking a bit differently in every country I have lived so far. I am now very happy with my country of residence and also with my pancake recipe, but let’s have a look back with the pancake time machine :
Eierkuchen – My Childhood pancakes in Germany
Pancakes have many names and variations in Germany. In our family they were called Eierkuchen (literally ‘egg cakes’) because in Berlin we stubbornly call the “Berlin Donut” Pfannkuchen (pancakes) to the confusion of anyone who visits from the rest of Germany and calls them “Berliner” and well, pancakes simply pancakes..
Either way, the basic German recipe is indeed high on eggs and has less liquid and flour. The result is a rather dense dough that bakes to a somewhat elastic, rather filling cake. Eierkuchen also often have dark brown, even black patterns, this isn’t considered to be burnt, it’s their actual “look”.
My mother’s recipe went probably something like this :
50 g melted Butter,
100 g sugar,
4 eggs ,
200 ml milk,
– beat until foamy and add 200 g flour.
Beat again. Fry!
Optional : Throw and tumble pancakes with verve to amuse the children, send them off to eat the first round in the dining room, then answer the phone in the corridor …and forget about the last pancake that turns into charcoal in the kitchen. Easy!
As toppings we usually had lots of sugar or strawberry jam, sometimes Nutella. My mother’s only variation, the simple apple pancake (acid type apple wedges thrown on the top of the pancake) was not popular with us then – not sweet enough! My brother also liked the dark and strong sugar beet syrup, (must really try and get that here somehow). We loved mum’s pancakes, they averaged maybe 20cm in diameter, were 0.5 to a whole centimeter thick and after a single one, you generally felt like the only way to move was to go rolling around.. they were very filling indeed!
To be fair, many German recipes aim for a lighter dough, as a teenager I found out that other families actually added a teaspoon of baking powder or – kinky!- sparkly mineral water or even beer to make the cakes a bit fluffier.
Today, thin and light French Crêpes and smaller, American style pancakes are very popular, too, including the runny acorn syrup (hopefully imported from Canada to be the real deal). Anything goes as long as it isn’t exclusively eaten during the morning hours of a certain fast food restoration chain (or two). Making pancakes is soo much fun:
(The photo links to one of our favourite PeppaPig episodes – Pancakes!)
Tomorrow : Young and chic with Crêpes in France