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A pancake is a flat cake, often thin, and round, prepared from a starch-based batter and cooked on a hot surface such as a griddle or frying pan. In Britain, pancakes are often unleavened, and resemble a crêpe. In North America, a raising agent is used (typically baking powder). The North American pancake is similar to a Scotch pancake or drop scone.
They may be served at any time with a variety of toppings or fillings including jam, fruit, syrup, chocolate chips, or meat. In America, they are typically considered to be a breakfast food. In Britain and the Commonwealth, they are associated with Shrove Tuesday, commonly known as Pancake Day, when perishable ingredients had to be used up before the fasting period of Lent began.
Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies. The pancake's shape and structure varies worldwide. A crêpe is a thin Breton pancake cooked on one or both sides in a special pan or crepe maker to achieve a lacelike network of fine bubbles. A well-known variation originating in Southeast Europe is Palačinke, a thin moist pancake fried on both sides and filled with jam, cheese cream, chocolate, or ground walnuts, but many other fillings, both sweet or savory, can also be used.
The Ancient Greeks made pancakes called tēganitēs, tagēnitēs or tagēnias, all words deriving from tagēnon, "frying pan". The earliest attested references on tagenias are in the works of the 5th century BC poets Cratinus and Magnes. Tagenites were made with wheat flour, olive oil, honey, and curdled milk, and were served for breakfast. Athenaeus mentions, in his Deipnosophistae, staititas topped with honey, sesame, and cheese. The Middle English word Pancake appears in English in the 15th century
The Ancient Romans called their fried concoctions "alia dulcia," which was Latin for "other sweets". These were much different from what are known as pancakes today.
Horn of Africa
Pancakes in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia) are known as injera (sometimes transliterated as enjera, budenaa (Oromo), or canjeero (Somali)). Injera is a yeast-risen flatbread with a unique, slightly spongy texture. Traditionally, it is made out of teff flour and is a national dish in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Canjeero, also known as lahooh or lahoh, is a similar kind of flatbread eaten in Somalia and Yemen.
In Eritrea and Ethiopia, injera are usually served with one or more stews known as wat or with salads (especially, for instance, during periods of Ethiopian Orthodox fasting) or with other injera (injera firfir). The right hand is used to tear small pieces from the injera to use to pick up and eat the stews or salads. The injera under these stews soaks up juices and flavours and, after the stews and salads are finished, is also consumed. Injera thus acts simultaneously as food, eating utensil and plate. When the "tablecloth" formed by the injera is finished, the meal is over.
Lahoh is a pancake-like bread originating in Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen. It is often eaten along with honey, ghee and tea. During lunch, lahoh is sometimes consumed with curry, soup or stew.
Plaatkoekies ("flapjacks") are American-style "silver dollar" pancakes.
A variation of the pannekoek is the South African crumpet, made from self-raising flour, eggs, milk and a pinch of salt. The smooth batter is fried in butter to produce a slightly raised flat cake. Crumpets are always served hot, usually for breakfast, with butter and golden syrup.
Banana pancakes are a menu item in Western-oriented backpackers' cafes in Asian countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India, and China. This has elicited the term Banana Pancake Trail.
Pancakes prepared using a north Indian cooking style are known as cheela. Sweet cheela are made using sugar or jaggery with a wheat flour-based batter. North Indian salty pancakes are made using batter prepared from gram flour or green gram paste (moong daal) and are sometimes garnished with paneer, a cottage-style cheese.
Dosa, appam, neer dosa and uttapam are pancakes made in a south Indian cooking style. They are prepared by fermenting rice batter and split-skinned urad bean (black lentil) blended with water. Meetha pooda – sweet pancakes often eaten with pickles and chutney – are a common breakfast food item in the Punjab. Most of the pitha in Assam are types of pancakes served on occasions such as Bihu festivals. The Bengali semi-sweet pancake pati-shapta is stuffed with grated coconut or thickened milk.
In Goa, a traditional crêpe-like pancake known as alebele or alle belle is eaten at tea-time. It is usually filled with jaggery and coconut.
A sweet pancake called malpua, fried in a shallow pan, is found in most parts of India.
Malaysia and Singapore
The North American variety of pancakes, or "hotcakes", is also recognized; and despite it being commonly prepared for breakfast, it can also be eaten as a afternoon snack, with street kiosks selling small hotcakes topped with margarine and sugar.
Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Romania
In Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, pancakes are called palatschinke, palačinka and palacinka, respectively (plurals palatschinken, palačinky, palacinky). In Romania they are called clătită (plural clătite). In countries of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia) and Bulgaria they are called palačinka (plural palačinke). In these languages, the word derives from Latin placenta, meaning cake. These pancakes are thin and filled with apricot, plum, lingonberry, strawberry or apple jam, chocolate sauce, or hazelnut spread. Eurokrem, Nutella, and Lino-Lada fillings are favorite amongst the younger population. A traditional version includes filling pancakes with cheese, pouring yoghurt over them, and then baking in an oven. Kaiserschmarrn is an Austrian pancake including raisins, almonds, apple jam or small pieces of apple, split into pieces, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Belarus, Russia, Ukraine
Eastern-Slavic cuisines have a long tradition of pancake cooking and include a large variety of pancake types. In Belarus, Russia and Ukraine, pancakes may be breakfast food, appetizer, main course, or even dessert.
Blini, Mlynci are thin pancakes, however somewhat thicker than crêpes, made from wheat or buckwheat flour, butter, eggs, and milk, with yeast added to the batter. Blini/Mlynci cooking dates back to pagan traditions and feasts, which are reflected in today's "pancake week" celebrated in the winter before the Great Lent. In pre-Christian times, blini/mlynci were symbolically considered by early Slavic peoples as a symbol of the sun, due to their round form.
Blintzes (Russian: blinchiki) are thin crêpes made without yeast. Filled blintzes are also referred to as nalysnyky, nalistniki or nalesniki. A filling such as jam, fruits, quark, or cottage cheese, potato, cooked ground meat or chicken, and even chopped mushrooms, bean sprouts, cabbage, and onions, is rolled or enveloped into a pre-fried blintz and then the blintz is lightly re-fried, sautéed, or baked.
Small thick pancakes made from yogurt-, kefir- or soured milk-based batter (without yeast) are called oladyi, further abbreviated as ladushki), oladky. The batter may contain various additions, such as apple and raisins.
Æbleskiver (meaning "apple slices" (singular æbleskive) in Danish) are traditional Danish pancakes made in a distinctive spherical shape. Æbleskiver are cooked on the stove top by baking in a special cast iron pan with several hemispherical indentations. Batter is poured into the oiled indentations and as the æbleskiver begin to cook, they are turned with a knitting needle, skewer or fork to give the cakes their characteristic spherical shape. Æbleskiver are not sweet themselves but are traditionally served dipped in raspberry, strawberry, lingonberry or blackberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
France, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland (and Latin America)
Crêpes, popular in France, Belgium, Switzerland and Portugal, are made from flour, milk, and eggs. They are thin pancakes and are served with a sweet (fruit, ice cream, jam, chocolate spread) or savoury filling (cheese, ham, seafood, spinach). In Francophone Europe, crêpes are often sold in special stands. In Italy they are called "crespelle". In Brittany, a galette (or galette bretonne) is a large thin pancake made of buckwheat flour, often cooked on one side only.
Crêpes are popular in many South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. They are consumed with sweet fillings (marmalade, dulce de leche) or with salty fillings (ground meat (Brazil), vegetables, tomato sauce, cheese).
They have also become popular East Asian countries, including Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and China, where they are sold in crêpe stands and kiosks. They are often served with whipped cream and fruits, or non-sweet spreads such as vegetables.
Farinata are popular in Mediterranean regions, including Nice. Also called "socca," these are pancakes made from chickpea flour and seasoned with black pepper. They are popular street food in Nice.
German pancakes are known as Pfannkuchen (from the German Pfanne and Kuchen meaning "pan" and "cake") except in Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxonia, where Pfannkuchen are Berliner pastries and pancakes are known as Eierkuchen. They are generally thicker than French-style crêpes and usually served with sweet or, occasionally, savory fillings. Fried apple rings covered by pancake dough and served with sugar and cinnamon are called Apfelküchle. Kaiserschmarrn, a thick but light caramelized pancake popular in Bavaria and regions of the former Austria-Hungary, is usually split into pieces, filled with fruits or nuts, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a fruit sauce. It is believed that it was first prepared for Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria.
In Swabia, sliced pancake strips (Flädle) are often served in soup.
In Hungary, pancakes known as palacsinta (derived from the Latin placenta) are made from flour, milk or soda water, sugar, and eggs. Sweet wine is added to the batter. The filling is usually jam, sugared and ground walnuts or poppy seeds, sugared cottage cheese, sugared cocoa, or cinnamon powder, but meat and mushroom fillings are also used (see Hortobágyi palacsinta). Gundel palacsinta is a Hungarian pancake stuffed with walnuts, zest, raisins and rum that is served in chocolate sauce and is often flambéed. Hungarian pancakes are served as a main dish or as a dessert.
Lángos is a deep-fried pancake made of flour, yeast, salt and water and topped with sour cream and grated cheese, or Liptauer, ham or sausages rubbed with garlic or garlic butter, mushroom, quark cheese, eggplant, cabbage, kefir, confectioners' sugar, or jam.
In the Netherlands, pancakes are known as pannenkoeken and are mostly eaten at lunch and dinner time. Pancake restaurants are popular with families and serve many sweet, savory, and stuffed varieties. Pannenkoeken are slightly thicker than crêpes and usually quite large, 12 in (30 cm) or so in diameter. The batter is egg-based and fillings include such items as sliced apples, cheese, ham, bacon, and candied ginger, alone or in combination. Stroop, a thick molasses-like sugar beet-based syrup is also popular, particularly in a classic filling of bacon and stroop. Poffertjes are another Dutch quick bread, similar to American pancakes but sweeter and much smaller. Made in a specially dimpled copper pan, they are flipped repeatedly to attain a soft interior. A spekdik is a pancake like-food which traditionally eaten in the provinces Groningen and Drenthe in the Netherlands around Sylvester. The main ingredients of a spekdik are syrup, eggs and rye-flour, and some varieties include bacon.
In Poland, thin crêpe-style pancakes are called naleśniki (pronounced naleshniki). Like any crêpe or blintz, they can be served with a variety of savoury or sweet fillings as a main dish or a dessert. Sweet fillings include fresh fruits (e.g. bilberries), jams, and soft white cheese with sugar. Savoury fillings include fried vegetables, fried chicken, minced meat, and a variety of added ingredients such as potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage or ham.
Spanish pancakes are called Frixuelos or Filloas and are very popular in the north-west of Spain. They are made from flour, milk, and eggs .They are thin pancakes and are usually served with a large amount of sugar or honey. They are a typical Carnival sweet dessert in Galicia, Asturias and León.
Nordic pancakes are similar to the French-style crêpes. In some Nordic countries, they are served with jam or fruit, especially lingonberries (or the butter from that fruit) as a dessert with a variety of savory fillings. Traditional Swedish variations can be exotic. Beside the usual thin pancakes, called pannkakor, which resembles the French crêpes and, often served with whipped cream and jam, are traditionally eaten for lunch on Thursdays with pea soup, the Swedish cuisine has plättar—very small pancakes, which resemble tiny English pancakes, and are usually fried in a special pan called a "plättlagg", a sort of normal size frying pan with indentations to allow for several (normally seven) to be made at once. An other type of pancake is the ugnspannkaka (oven pancake), which is very thick and resembles German pancakes, and is baked in the oven. There is also a variant, which includes fried pork in the batter, fläskpannkaka (pork pancake). Potato pancakes called raggmunk contain shredded raw potato, and may contain other vegetables (sometimes the pancake batter is omitted, producing rårakor). Raggmunk and rårakor are traditionally eaten with pork rinds and lingonberry jam. A special Swedish pancake is saffron pancake from Gotland, made with saffron and rice, baked in the oven. It is common to add lemon juice to the sugar for extra taste. The pancakes are often served after a soup. Another special "Swedish pancake" is the äggakaka (eggcake), also called skånsk äggakaka (Scanian eggcake), it is almost like an ordinary Swedish pancake but it is a lot thicker and also a lot more difficult to make due to the risk of burning it. It is made in a frying pan and is about 1½ to 2 inches thick and is served with lingonberries and bacon. The Norwegian variety is commonly eaten for dinner, traditionally with bacon, jam (typically bilberry) or sugar.
United States and Canada
The thick batter contains eggs, flour, milk, and a raising agent such as baking powder. The batter can have ingredients such as buttermilk, blueberries, strawberries, bananas, apples, chocolate chips, cheese, or sugar added. Spices such as cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg can also be used. Yogurt may be used to give the pancakes a relatively moist consistency. Pancakes may be ⅓ inch (1 cm) thick and about 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter.
Varieties of American and Canadian pancakes
Bannock is common to virtually all North America's first peoples. The European version (Scotland) was traditionally made of oatmeal. The bannock of Aboriginal people was made of corn, nut meal and plant bulb meal. Each region had its own variation of flour and fruit. Today, bannock is most often deep-fried, pan-fried and oven-baked.
Johnnycake (also jonnycake, johnny cake journey cake or Johnny Bread) is a cornmeal flatbread that was an early American staple food, and is still eaten in the West Indies and Bermuda. The modern johnnycake is stereotypically identified with today's "Rhode Island" foods, though jonnycakes are a cultural staple in all of the northern US. A modern jonnycake is fried cornmeal gruel, which is made from yellow or white cornmeal mixed with salt and hot water or milk, and frequently lightly sweetened.
Yaniqueques or yanikeke are a Dominican Republic version of the jonnycake. They are a fried bread rather than a pancake and are a popular beach food.
Sourdough was used by prospectors and pioneers to make sourdough pancakes without having to buy yeast. Prospectors would carry a pot of sourdough to make pancakes and bread as it could last indefinitely, needing only flour and water to replenish it. Sourdough pancakes are now a particular speciality in Alaska.
A silver dollar pancake refers to a pancake about two to three inches (5 to 7 cm) in diameter, or just a bit bigger than the pre-1979 silver dollar coins in the United States, for which they are named. It is usually made by frying a small spoonful of the same batter as any other pancake.
One serving is usually five to ten silver dollar pancakes.
German pancakes or Dutch baby pancakes served in American pancake houses are bowl-shaped. They are eaten with lemons and powdered sugar, jam, or caramelized apples, as well as fritters. A David Eyre's pancake is a variation on the German pancake named for the American writer and editor David W. Eyre (1912–2008).
Toutons are small, tall pancakes traditional in Newfoundland. They are usually served with dark molasses.
Australia and New Zealand
In some circles in New Zealand, very thin, crêpe-like or English pancake-like pancakes (around 20 cm in diameter) are served with butter, or butter and lemon, possibly something sweet, and then rolled up and eaten.
American-style pancakes are also popular. They are eaten for breakfast or as a dessert, with lemon juice and sugar, butter and maple syrup, stewed fruits such as strawberries and cream, ice cream, or mascarpone.
Venezuela and Colombia
Panquecas are generally made from cow's milk and refined wheat flour and generally eaten with savoury fillings as rolls (albeit dessert panquecas also exist). For those with celiac disease, corn starch might substitute the wheat flour. Common fillings include shredded, seasoned chicken breast with tomato paste/sauce, and ground beef, seasoned with fried onion cubes or fried salted smashed garlic (refogado), and often bell pepper cubes and tomato paste/sauce. Both kinds are generally topped with Parmesan cheese. Vegan recipes might also exist, with texturized soy protein (carne de soja) being particularly popular. Savory panqueca is generally eaten for lunch or dinner, accompanied of white rice and salad, and less often pulses (prominently the beans Brazilian cuisine is famous for).
The most exotic Brazilian pancake is perhaps blinis, made from a mixture of coconut milk, a paste extracted from fermented cassava, most prominent in the cuisines of the Northern and Northeastern regions and relatively unknown elsewhere. The resulting product is significantly more watery, filling and strongly flavoured than the unfermented tapioca, and care should be taken at rolling the pancakes if desired because it breaks very easily. Common toppings include molten butter and common sorts of savoury panqueca filling, but creative recipes might arise, such as fake lasagne.
PANCAKE RESTAURANT CHAINS
In the US, Mexico and Canada, a franchised restaurant chain named International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has restaurants serving pancakes at all hours of the day. The Original Pancake House is another chain of pancake restaurants across the US, and Walker Brothers is a series of pancake houses in the Chicago area that developed as a franchised spin-off of The Original Pancake House.
The popularity of pancakes in Australia has spawned the Pancake Parlour and Pancakes on the Rocks franchised restaurants. In British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, the restaurant chain De Dutch serves Dutch and Flemish-style pannenkoeken.
Pancakes are traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, which is known as "Pancake Day" in Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia, and "Pancake Tuesday" in Ireland and Scotland. (Shrove Tuesday is better known in the United States, France, and other countries as Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday.) Historically, pancakes were made on Shrove Tuesday so that the last of the fat or lard was used up before Lent. No meat products should be eaten during Lent.
Charity and school events are organized on Pancake Day: in a "pancake race" each participant carries a pancake in a frying pan. All runners must toss their pancakes as they run and catch them in the frying pan. This event is said to have originated in Olney, England in 1445 when a housewife was still busy frying pancakes to eat before the Lenten fast when she heard the bells of St Peter and St Paul's Church calling her to the Shriving Service. Eager to get to church, she ran out of her house still holding the frying pan complete with pancake, tossing it to prevent it from burning, and still wearing her apron and headscarf. Every Shrove Tuesday since 1950, the towns of Olney and Liberal, Kansas have competed in the International Pancake Race. Only local women may compete; they race, and their times are compared to determine the international winner. In Olney the main women's race is augmented by races for local schoolchildren and for men.
The Rehab UK Parliamentary Pancake Race takes place every Shrove Tuesday, with teams from the British lower house (the House of Commons), the upper house (the House of Lords), and the Fourth Estate, contending for the title of Parliamentary Pancake Race Champions. The fun relay race is to raise awareness of the work of the national brain injury charity, Rehab UK, and the needs of people with acquired brain injury.
Pancake Day is also widely celebrated in Australia.
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