Citizens, the humble apple pancake is a favorite not just in the United States but all throughout Northern Europe as well!
While many consider the German version of this fruity delight to be the ultimate – I, TFD, your beloved incarnation of all culinary wisdom urges you to instead sample the wondrous version made in the Baltic country of Latvia!
It’s true these are two different beasts – the German version is made in a frying pan and is more of a popover with apples, while the Latvian version is a true pancake. Both rule, both are delicious and I will not engage in holy wars as to which is better. I merely encourage you, .
As noted on the National Geographic website:
By the time Otzi the Iceman set off on his final hike 5,300 years ago, pancakes—or at least something pancake-like—seem to have been a common item of diet. Otzi, whose remains were discovered in a rocky gully in the Italian Alps in 1991, provided us with a wealth of information about what a denizen of the Neolithic ate. His last meals—along with red deer and ibex—featured ground einkorn wheat. The bits of charcoal he consumed along with it suggest that it was in the form of a pancake, cooked over an open fire.
Whatever the age of the primal pancake, it’s clearly an ancient form of food, as evidenced by its ubiquity in cultural traditions across the globe. The ancient Greeks and Romans ate pancakes, sweetened with honey; the Elizabethans ate them flavored with spices, rosewater, sherry, and apples. They were traditionally eaten in quantity on Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, a day of feasting and partying before the beginning of Lent. Pancakes were a good way to use up stores of about-to-be-forbidden perishables like eggs, milk, and butter, and a yummy last hurrah before the upcoming grim period of church-mandated fast.
In the American colonies, pancakes—known as hoe cakes, johnnycakes, or flapjacks—were made with buckwheat or cornmeal. Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery—thought to be the first all-American cookbook, published in 1796—has two recipes for pancakes, one for “Johny Cake, or Hoe Cake,” which calls for milk, “Indian meal,” and molasses, the other for “Indian Slapjack,” which drops the molasses, but adds four eggs.
Thomas Jefferson, who was fond of pancakes, sent a recipe home to Monticello from the President’s House in Washington, D.C., picked up from Etienne Lemaire, his French maître d’hotel (hired for his honesty and skill in making desserts). Lemaire’s “panne-quaiques” were what we would call crepes—made by pouring dollops of thin batter into a hot pan. Modern pancakes—in Jefferson’s day known as griddlecakes—generally contain a leavening agent and are heftier and puffier.
I have enhanced the original Latvian recipe with the addition of a touch of Yogurt, whose inherent lactic acid makes for a more tender and delicious pancake (it works the same way buttermilk does in biscuits, as it happens!). These pancakes are both sinfully rich and delicious!
For those who are under the highly-mistaken idea that the Baltic countries have a herring-centric recipe canon, I hope this will dispel your beliefs and you will understand the true glory offered by Latvia and its recipes! 🙂
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 1 large tart green apple, cored and pared
- 1 large sweet red apple, cored and pared
- 1 ½ tablespoons vanilla sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 large eggs, separated
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus additional butter for frying pancakes if needed – TFD prefers using ghee for the frying
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon white vinegar
- For garnish
- Confectioners sugar
- A very light dusting of cinnamon
- Quarter apples: slice thinly crosswise. Toss in a bowl with vanilla sugar and lemon juice. Let stand while preparing batter.
- In a large bowl, beat egg yolks, milk, half-and-half, yogurt and butter. Sift together flour and salt, then whisk into egg yolk mixture until smooth.
- Combine baking soda and vinegar and stir into the batter. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Fold the apples evenly into the batter. Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the batter.
- Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the skillet: cook until golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes total.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping pancakes warm in a 225F / 110C oven.
- Dust pancakes with sugar and cinnamon to taste. Serve with syrup or honey to taste.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 766.91 kcal
- Sugar: 24.06 g
- Sodium: 1080.91 mg
- Fat: 21.78 g
- Saturated Fat: 10.04 g
- Trans Fat: 0.01 g
- Carbohydrates: 124.93 g
- Fiber: 3.89 g
- Protein: 18.74 g
- Cholesterol: 205.23 mg
Citizens, please note that I can no longer afford to absorb the nearly $1000 per month it costs to keep the site running smoothly, including marketing expenses, etc.
You can make a difference!
Please consider making a one-time donation to help keep the site live and the posts coming – click here to PayPal Me a tip!
You can also show your support by listening to our podcasts, liking them, and sharing as you see fit – try them out here.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?