Be it brunch or breakfast, pancakes are a great way to please everyone. Maybe it is the high demand for this particular dish that made it so versatile, or maybe it is the other way around, but this is pretty much a chicken or the egg discussion. The important thing is that there are many ways one can enjoy their pancakes, so here are some alternatives to spice breakfasts up.
Fruits can be used with pancakes very well. Be it different sort of berries that people often sweeten with icing sugar, or bigger fruits such as apples, bananas, pears cut up in small pieces, they will not only make pancakes more tasty but also more healthy. If one is not really superstitious about the calories, whipped cream is also a great addition to this – or any other – combination.
Carrying this thought further some people add a bit of wine to the pancake batter and coat the fruits themselves in it before frying them. When frying, use plenty of oil as if it would be deep fried. If the oil as approximately double of the mass of the fruit it will cool down less when we put in the coated goodies and thus the batter will drain in less oil.
Dried or candied fruits are great to accompany the pancakes, whether mixed in the batter or used as a topping. Adding spices to the batter will not only give the pancakes extra taste, but it will also give it a scent that will get the family out of bed and shuffle around the kitchen wondering what is the delicious smell that accompanies the breakfast. Lemon zest is a good addition, but if the aim is a really heavenly smell a bit of cinnamon is the right choice. The sugar can also be substituted by honey or vanilla sugar to give a quirky taste to the batter.
Although there is nothing wrong about maple syrup, one does not have to be afraid to try out other kind of extract that seems right. Mint, fruit based syrups – such as raspberry, cherry, black currant – or chocolate syrups – or when kids are not around some sweet liquor – will give a huge flavour boost. Jams are also good used as a topping.
Are you nuts about pancakes? It might be time to try some actual nuts with them. Walnuts, cashew nuts, pine nuts (especially with mint syrup) or pistachios chopped rough can sit on the top of the dish adding essential oils, vitamins and great flavour to the dish. Of course the option to use some ready nut product such as Nutella or peanut butter is always open as well.
Strange it may sound, one can find the same old pancakes blend after a while. In this case crepes are a great thing to try. They are nearly the same recipe and much easier to make than one would expect.
The main difference when compared with pancakes is that they are much thinner and of larger diameter, and commonly used to wrap a filling inside. And only imagination can set limit to what this filling might be.
Unsalted cottage cheese mixed with vanilla sugar and raisins, complimented with a bit of lemon zest is one of the most popular fillings in East Europe. If it has any competition, probably it is ground nuts with a bit of sugar and raisins soaked in rum, but most wouldn’t turn down a crepe filled with chestnut pure either.
Probably nobody developed as many variations for pancakes as the Russians. Their “blini” is not only using the common sweet version but they offer a huge choice of salty toppings and toppings as well. Different kinds of meat – usually minced or chopped fine -, grated cheese and even caviar (called “ikra”) are popular choices, but some places offer fried mushrooms or any kind of vegetable raw or steamed. Important to note that “blini” is traditionally eaten in Russia with sour cream.
There are very few amongst Latvians and Lithuanians who don’t go crazy about potato pancakes. This is similar to the normal pancake in looks and has raw potato shredded in the batter. It is not strictly for breakfast, it can be enjoyed in itself or as a side dish as well.
So next time someone asks for pancakes it is good to keep in mind that there is a huge variety to choose from. What is even better, the different fillings and toppings can be mixed to personal taste, and if somebody has the time it can be made into a “build your own pancake” breakfast offering all the different choices at the same time.