Pancakes… Olde vs Modern

Pancakes… 1588 style

Pancakes-1588-Making

 It seems pancakes have had little change until the mid 1800’s. In the mid 1800’s leavening agents first made the scene, thus… the fluffy pancake. But, if you desire to try out the world’s oldest known recipe for pancakes here it is. Culinary historians have converted the amounts into modern day measurements. (Historians converted the Olde English measurements into metrics and I converted metric into our American standards as best as I could)

 Below is the recipe. Notice there is no leavening used but I’m sure the unpasteurized Ale, if left overnight, might cause it to act a bit as a yeast bread. My guess it was used as a bitter agent to offset all the sugar or to curdle the cream. I may be way off base here since no one in 1588 bothered to explain why they used ale. Truthfully, I should have just drank the Ale.

Pancakes-1585

If this recipe is accurate (along with my conversions) then these folks sure loved their sugar!  English recipes sometimes leave the pallet a bit flat but gets even worse when you look at the Olde English breakfast called a flap jack! It’s nothing like our pancake. Take my advice, some recipes are better left to history.

 

Pancakes 1588 Recipe (Above recipe) converted into modern measurements

Recipe Ingredients.

  • 300ml cream (1 ¼ cups)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 175g plain flour (¾ cup)
  • 60ml ale traditional British ale (2 oz)
  • 100g sugar (7 Tablespoons)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 25g butter (for frying) (2 Tablespoons)

Directions.

In a mixing bowl sift in the flour, ground cinnamon and ginger. Make a well in the center and using a spoon mix in the egg yolks. Then switch to a whisk and gradually whisk in the cream, then the sugar, then the ale, making a smooth and silky batter.

Use an 8 inch (or 20cm) non-stick frying pan (or a traditional English griddle) and for each pancake grease it lightly with a little butter – carefully wipe the surface over with a little softened butter dabbed onto a piece of kitchen paper, folded over to thicken it, keeping your fingers from the heat. For the first pancake heat the pan until the butter smokes, then turn the heat down a little.

Pour about 1/4 cup of the batter into the center of the pan, and quickly tilt the pan to and fro to spread the mixture thinly across the surface evenly. The amount of batter poured in should just coat the surface of the pan, no more.

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Now, for a much better tasting pancake try this recipe. I love the hint of vanilla found in this fluffy version.

buttermilk_pancakes_1

  If you’re trail cooking you will need an ice chest or cooler to preserve the buttermilk, sour cream etc outdoors. These pancakes end up nice and fluffy with a delicious hint of vanilla

Makes sixteen 4-inch pancakes

The pancakes can be cooked on an electric griddle or frying pan. Set the griddle temperature to 350 degrees and cook as directed. It’s best if you use a lower-protein all-purpose flour like Gold Medal or Pillsbury. If you use an all purpose flour with a higher protein content, like King Arthur, you will need to add an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk. The lower the protein or gluten, the more cake like your pancakes will be.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 Tablespoonbakingpowder * see note below
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda * see note below
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar. or 1/4 teaspoon of citric acid. (citric acid is roughly four times as strong, so you have to reduce the amount used by four. If your recipe calls for a teaspoon of cream of tartar, use 1/4 teaspoon citric acid.)

Instructions

1. Whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cream of tartar (or citric acid) and baking soda together in medium bowl. In second medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, sour cream, eggs, and melted butter. Make well in center of dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Whisk until combined then Allow batter to sit for a few minutes to allow leavening to begin (Bubbles will form).

2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Using paper towels, carefully wipe out oil, leaving thin film of oil on bottom and sides of pan. This insures even cooking. Using ¼ cup measure, portion batter evenly on griddle. Cook until edges are firm. When the first side is golden brown, and bubbles on the surface are beginning to break, (2 to 3 minutes) then using your spatula, flip the pancakes and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.

If you wish a good recipe for homemade maple tasting syrup (Non high fructose corn syrup) you will find it within this blog under; Homemade syrups and ingredient replacements.

* Test your baking soda and baking powder once a month… here’s how

Baking soda. Place 1/2 tsp of vinegar into 1/2 cup of water and add 1/2 tsp of soda… if good it will bubble violently.

Baking powder. Place 1/2 tsp of baking powder in 1/3 of a cup of HOT water…it should bubble violently.

Using out of date ingredients is the most common reason for recipe failure!

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Why I have to travel for a good pancake

I don’t do breakfast café’s much here in South Florida and here’s why. Since alcohol is the fuel that drives South Florida, most folks here consider breakfast the meal that is served upon waking…around 4pm. It is coincidentally around the same time they start drinking again.

So with a mouthful of chemically dulled taste buds, burnt home fries and under cooked eggs slathered in cheap cheese does just fine for this meal. That is unless you’re one of the few that rise with the sun… as I do.

South Floridian’s almost never eat lunch.  (it gets in the way of their beer). On the other hand, did you know there are more school trained chefs here than in the rest of the entire universe? So what are South Floridians doing with all these chefs if they don’t do breakfast or lunch? Why dinner of course. South Florida is famous for its fine restaurants…by fine I mean expensive.  So why bother with a five dollar breakfast or lunch when you can open at five and close at eleven and make more money in one day than a politician gathers in ten fundraising events?

I think most 6am to 2pm eateries here are ones that failed in the evening meal circuit and must stay open due to a building lease agreement.

It isn’t until you approach the heavily forested northern part of the State, that real honest to gosh breakfasts’ are started to be found. From there it’s just a hop, skip and jump into breakfast heaven… Alabama and Mississippi.

My favorite greasy spoon is across the street from a Piggly Wiggly grocery mart in Alabama. I wanted to say it’s name and exact where about but in return for the recipe below, I promised the owner I would not give his name or place of business out. Something about a copy write legal issue involving an expensive  recipe book containing this recipe. But I digress; I want to talk about real old fashioned buttermilk pancakes here.

Now you can do box mixes such as Aunt Jemima or Krusteaz  (if you’re a restaurant) but take a second and look at the ingredients! What is all that junk? Much of it is so that the flour beetle  eggs found in most flour don’t hatch while stored six months in your pantry. Other ingredients prevent the oils from turning rancid or the baking powder from losing it’s oomph.

Please, it takes only a minute to mix your own pancake mix up and you get the benefit of knowing all your ingredients are fresh and no preservatives are involved. So without further blab, here’s the heritage pancake recipe I brag about.

Ingredients;

2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour

2Tablespoons of sugar

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

2 cups of buttermilk (powdered can be used to make two cups liquid)

¼ cup of sour cream

½ teaspoons of vanilla

2 eggs

3Tablespoons of  melted butter

2 teaspoons of oil

Directions;

 

Mix all dry ingredients together first. ( If you are going to use powdered buttermilk, add the water to make a liquid then include it with the wet ingredients.)

In a second bowl, whisk eggs by themselves, then add buttermilk, sour cream, vanilla and melted butter and whisk together.

Scoop out a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mix. Stir but do not whisk or use a mixer. Batter should be somewhat lumpy so don’t over mix it. Set aside mixed ingredients for a couple of minutes to activate batter.

Preheat and grease up your pan or griddle then add oil or bacon grease. Remove any excess grease or oil first with a paper towel, leaving a thin film behind. This prevents uneven baking as oil is cooler than the pan or griddle top. (uneven baking makes a splotchy light and dark pattern on the pancakes surface, kind of making it look like a world globe rather than a nice even browning)

Using a ladle, pour enough batter to make a fist size pancake. When bubbles are bursting throughout the pancake and the sides are a bit firm, turn them over gently with a pancake turner. When done, remove and stack on a wire rack within a warm oven. Replace oil or grease only as needed. This should make about 12 pancakes or so.

For those who want to try making their own syrup, here’s an old recipe I found while out west. In the old days, Maple syrup was a rare item out west. Most maple sap products were in the form of candy, not syrup. JW

Home Made Pancake Syrup

1 cup of water

2 cups of sugar

¼  cup of brown sugar

¼ cup of corn syrup

1 teaspoon of maple extract*

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

In a saucepan simmer all ingredients except maple extract for 15-20 minutes (about  200 degrees)  *Remove from heat and only then stir in the one teaspoon of maple extract.

Over time, sugar crystallizes. This in no way ruins the syrup just reheat it.

Securing his place in Florida’s culinary history, Clem invented the beer batter pancake.