Identity Crisis Pancakes or "Pannenkocrepes"

Serves 2-4

Yes, you read correctly, Pannenko-crepes. For those pancake aficionados out there, you’ll recognize that this is a combination of the Dutch Pannenkoeken and the French crepe.

February 17th was Pancake Day, or Pancake Tuesday as we call it in our house. Growing up this was very exciting day because it essentially meant that maple syrup would be a main ingredient in dinner. Not only was my mom in support of this, she was a huge proponent of it, fueled by her maple syrup addiction that is still going strong today.

Pancake Tuesday was a Pagan holiday believed to help encourage the beginning of spring. It is also celebrated by many Christian religions as Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Eating a pancake dinner allows for indulgence in ingredients that may otherwise not be consumed for the following six weeks of Lent.

In either case, there is no doubt that many people around the world celebrate this tradition – except in Vancouver. Since moving to Vancouver I’m continuously astonished each year by how few people have heard of this glorious breakfast for dinner tradition. Perhaps this blog post will help to broaden Vancouver’s pancake horizons. We are, after all, a city that loves our breakfast. .

I have admittedly missed the day itself some years, but I always make a point to have pancakes for dinner within the next couple of weeks – because I can. I have shared the past 10 years of these dinners with my former university housemate, Kendra, who also now lives in Vancouver.  This year, however, she was away visiting family so Brett and I had pancakes without her. Sorry Kendra, I guess I’ll just have to have two pancake dinners, as I couldn’t possibly let you down.

These Pannenko-crepes, as I am affectionately calling them, began with an idea to make Pannenkoeken in honour of my Dutch heritage. A game-time decision to incorporate buckwheat flour added a French inspiration. They are not quite a pancake, not quite a crepe – hence the identity crisis.

It is common in both Dutch and French cultures to eat pancakes at any time of the day, both sweet and savory. It is also regular practice to stuff their pancakes, so for our dinner I prepared one version with French-inspired ingredients: roasted asparagus and mushroom with goat cheese; and one with Dutch inspiration: pear and dried currant, a twist on the common apple and raisin found in Holland. If you wanted to be very authentic you could serve the former with a béchamel sauce, but it’s equally as good with tomato chutney, or simply on its own. For the pear and currant ones I subbed out the traditional Dutch stroop, the essential sugar syrup, for delicious Canadian amber maple syrup.

The filling shared here are merely suggestions, however, so use your imagination and have fun.

Did you make pancakes for dinner on February 17th? If not, I highly recommend you give it a try. Though the day has passed us by for 2015 I won’t tell anyone.

Ingredients

  • 250 g flour (125 g all purpose, 75 g buckwheat)*
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Fresh grated nutmeg
  • 575 ml milk (about 2 ¼ cups)
  • 1 large egg
  • Butter (for pan)
  • Asparagus and mushrooms roasted with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper; goat cheese (chèvre)
  • Sliced pears roasted with a touch of butter and cinnamon; dried currants. 

 *If you do not have buckwheat flour, or do not wish to use it, simply substitute for 100% all purpose flour and reduce the milk to 500 ml (2 cups). This equal ratio of one part flour to two parts milk is traditional for pannenkoeken.

 Method

Combine flours, baking soda, and salt in a sieve and sift into a medium bowl. Add nutmeg  and whisk in the milk and egg. Allow to rest for 30 minutes, during which time you can prepare your desired filling ingredients.

Heat a skillet (preferably cast iron) to medium – high heat and evenly distribute a bit of butter. Using a ladle or measuring cup add enough batter to create a thin pancake the size of the pan. As soon as you add the batter, swirl the pan to allow it to evenly distribute.

 The pancakes will cook quickly. When the edges appear to cook through flip and allow the other side to brown lightly, which will only take a minute or so.

 Repeat the process until all the batter has been used, adding more butter to the pan as needed, and keeping the completed ones stacked in a warm oven until ready to serve.

Place filling ingredients of your choice in the warm pancakes and roll them up. Serve immediately with maple syrup or other desired accompaniments.  

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