Pancakes, as we know them today have roots dating to ancient time. Foods very similar to pancakes were eaten by ancient Romans. They were made from milk, flour and eggs and spices. These pancakes were called “Alita Dolcia” what in Latin means another sweet. Roman pancakes were served with honey and fruits or with meat and cheese. Although, Roman pancakes may have been similar to what we call today a pancake, but actually the pancakes we eat nowadays, resemble more pancakes eaten in Medieval Europe.
First pancakes which were clearly distinguishable from plain breads are sweet ones mentioned by Apicius. These sweet pancakes were made from a batter of milk, eggs, and flour. And fried and served with honey and pepper. Later in 1430 English culinary manuscript mentions pancakes in a way which implies that term “pancake” was already known, but it wasn’t often included in early printed cookery books.
Pancakes are usually made on a griddle. The griddle method of cooking is older than oven baking. Making and eating pancakes developed many traditions. Throughout Europe pancakes had a place among Easter foods, specially on Shrove Tuesday- the last day before Lent.
Pancake is a thin, flat cake prepared from batter and cooked on a frying pan or on a hot griddle. There are many variations of pancakes. They can have different shape or size. They can be sweet or savory and served with many toppings and fillings.
A crêpe is a popular variety of pancake of French origin. It is very thin and crispy. Crêpes are made from a batter usually consisting of flour, eggs, milk, butter and a pinch of salt. They are generally served rolled or folded around a filling. Crêpes can be sweet or savory. They are lightly sweetened and filled with things like berries or fruits. Savory are called galettes and are made from buckwheat flour and filled with cheese, meet, fish or vegetables. English pancakes are similar to French crêpes. They have three main ingredients: eggs, flour and milk. They may be eaten as a sweet dessert with the traditional topping of lemon juice and sugar.
Pancakes from central Europe are very thin and usually filled with variety of things, both sweet and savory can be eaten for breakfast and dinner. In Germany, they are called Pfannkuchen, in Hungarian Palacsinta, in Romanian, Palačinke. In Hungary, pancake batter consists of flour, milk or soda water, eggs, sugar and sweet wine. Hungarian pancakes are usually served as a main dish or dessert and fillings range from sugared cottage cheese and ground walnuts to raisins and rum.
In Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia, pancakes are usually thin, filled with apricot, plum lingonberry strawberry or apple jam, chocolate sauce or hazelnut spread. They are called Palačinke. In Poland, thin crêpe-style pancakes are called naleśniki. They can be served with a variety of savory or sweet fillings as a main dish or dessert. Russian blinis are thin, crisp pancakes, commonly served with caviar and sour cream or folded over and filled with cream cheese or jam.
Pannenkoeken is the Dutch version of the pancake. Traditional, Dutch pancake has around 12 inches in diameter. It is usually topped or filled with apples and cheese. Scandinavian pancakes are similar to the French crêpes. They are often served with jam and whipped cream or ice cream. Or as a main dish with a variety of savory fillings.
American or Canadian pancakes which are also known as hotcakes, griddlecakes, or flapjacks are Scotch pancakes. They contain a raising agent, usually baking powder. And batter contains different proportions of eggs, flour, and milk or buttermilk. This creates a thick batter. Sugar and spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg can be added.
Mexico, has tortillas, which are often served folded with a bean or meat filling and topped by tomato sauce. Moreover Mexicans have hotcakes which are more often made with cornmeal instead of wheat flour. Hotcakes are usually sold by street vendors. They are topped with different sauces such as condensed milk fruit jam or a sweet goat milk spread called “cajeta.”
Australian and New Zealand pancakes usually consist of egg, milk and flour. They are more similar to English pancakes than to American ones. They are often eaten as a dessert or for breakfast. Australian pancakes are served with toppings such as butter, peanut butter, jam, fruits or syrup.
Chinese version of pancake is made with a filling. Usually filling is made from ground peanut, sugar and butter and additional condiments like sweetened coconut or egg.
In Nepal, the Newar people have a type of savory rice pancake called chataamari. This rice pancake can be cooked with meat or eggs on top of it.
In India people enjoy eating pancakes that are prepared from fermented rice batter. These pancakes are called Dosa. Pooda is another Indian pancake. These pancakes are made in a frying pan and have similar batter to European pancakes.
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There are also a few other recipe websites that I would like to recommend. If you like waffles then go to http://www.waffle-recipe.com, they have lots and lots of recipes for different waffles from Belgian to Liege. Then there is also this site that specializes in potato recipes and has a nice section on how to make potato pancakes, great for those leftover mashed potatoes - check them out!