Jesurgislac’s Journal

February 16, 2010

Tuesday Recipe Blogging: Pancake Day!

When I was a kid, Saturday evening meant pancakes for supper. Not what you probably think of when you think “pancakes” – these were thick, almost savoury cakes made with cream-cracker crumbs and cottage cheese and eggs, served with fruit sauce. Though I have not made them in years, the recipe is fixed in my mind:

Ingredients per person: 1 ounce of cream crackers, crushed or ground to fine crumbs; 1 ounce of smooth cottage cheese; 1 egg. Beat the cottage cheese and the eggs together to form a thick yellowish paste, then add the cream crackers “to a dropping consistency”, meaning that when I picked up a spoonful and dropped it into the hot oil, it fell cleanly from the spoon. We always fried them in shallow oil till they were dark brown, layered them on a plate with paper towel to catch the excess fat, and ate them with fruit sauce as soon as possible after they had been made.

The sauce was made with two tins of fruit – over the years I think my two favourite mixtures were pineapple and apricot, or mandarin oranges and pears, and usually preserved in fruit juice rather than syrup. But really, any kind was good – I think the only sort I ever regretted was a tin of fruit salad mix with glace cherries. It was always made in a cast-iron red pot that had been a wedding present: save a little fruit juice in a small bowl, and tip the two tins into the pot, turn up the heat under the fruit, and mix the juice with a tablespoon of cornflour. Add the mixture to the fruit in the pan, and stir: magically, to me when I was a child, the white mixture would disappear and the liquid juice in which the fruit rested would thicken into a sauce. This could be eaten hot or cold, so the sauce could be made hours or even a day before the pancakes. These were delicious and filling, and as I remember no one usually managed more than three. There were always leftovers, which were eaten cold as snacks.

Nowadays when I make pancakes I usually make them with a cup of flour, or more depending on how many people I am feeding, and a pinch of salt: make a well in the middle of the flour, stir in an egg, and then up to a pint of milk, or milk and water, or beer, (or cream if you want thicker, richer pancakes) to make a thin batter, which makes a large thin cake in a thin layer of hot grease in a pan or on a griddle.

But I also sometimes make sourdough batter, which is egg-free: I take some sourdough starter from the fridge, add some more flour and water, beat it into a thin liquid with a plastic whisk (metal isn’t good for the yeast) and leave it to quicken for an hour or so in a warm place. When it’s bubbly, it’s ready to be used as I would basic pancake batter.

I eat pancakes plain, or with maple syrup, or lemon juice and sugar, or with a spice like cinnamon whisked into the batter, or with curry…

How do you make your pancakes? How do you eat your pancakes?


  1. These sound delicious, but I’m not sure where to get cream crackers here in Leftpondia. Until then, will matzoh meal work?

    (Now I’m all hungry.)

    Comment by Cactus Wren — February 17, 2010 @ 5:57 am | Reply

    • I expect so – apparently the main difference between a cream cracker and matzoh is that cream crackers are made with yeast. (In fact, for all I know, the original recipe for these pancakes was with matzoh – but cream crackers were in every shop.)

      Comment by jesurgislac — February 17, 2010 @ 8:34 am | Reply

  2. Generally I eat pancakes plain. Mostly becaus when my wife makes pancakes for her and the boys I am at work or sleeping before going to work. So I generlaly just grab a few out of the foil package she threw in the fridge of the leftovers and eat them on the way to work, cold.

    When I do occasion to go out and order pancakes, it is usually with a small slab of butter on each cake and then with a small amount of maple syrup…I’m not a fan of drenching it like some people do, nor do I go out on a limb and use the other-flavored syrups some places provide.

    I have on occasion made pancakes for the family, usually I have one or two sitting next to the stove that I chew on as I go about making everyone elses.

    And a quick question for you. My mom used to serve milk with the meal. But for some reason I just can’t stand drinking milk with a meal that involved syrup. I have to have water or juice instead. Is it just me being weird (outside of my normal range of weird anyways), or are there others out there like that?

    Comment by Mike Lovell — February 17, 2010 @ 4:07 pm | Reply

    • I went on drinking milk long after either my brother or my sister did – but I don’t think I would have wanted milk with pancakes and syrup. I wouldn’t want juice either, I don’t think. The only times I’ve ordered pancakes and syrup as a meal in adulthood, it would have been in a North American restaurant where I could have coffee. (Your tea is invariably lousy, but I will admit you do coffee better than we do…)

      Comment by jesurgislac — February 17, 2010 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  3. Well, I guess I should caveat the juice thing as when there is no coffee (or no sugar in copious amounts at some fundraising breakfasts local orgnaizations throw once in awhile.. And yes, I LOVE coffee. Tea, well call me weird, but I can only do cold sweetened tea. The hot tea stuff doesnt really fit my palate very well….then again it could just be American tea and not English tea, I have no idea.

    An aside on tea, I ws with my wife at a locla mall, and in there they have this specialty tea shop. Al kinds of teapots, presses, and varieties of tea. Real new agey claims on health benfits of this over that, jasmine, this, dragon that…blah blah blah…I took a sample of one of the supposedly sweeter hot teas they had for people to try. I guess shaking my head in disgust kind of put off the guy and embarassed my wife. Apparently I’m just not cultured enough to know whats good!!! 😛

    Comment by Mike Lovell — February 18, 2010 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

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