Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Dutch pancakes; budget dinner for one

Although I love cooking most of the time; I can't deny that I like it more if I can share it.
Most of the times that's not a problem; my husband is an enthusiastic and not so fussy eater.
But sometimes he must work overtime and let me know at the last minute... Whenever I cook just for my self I like it to be quick and tasty, so I often make Nigella Lawson's Lemon Linguine, Spaghetti Carbonara (without the heavy cream) or her Pea Puree with salmon. 
I can see a Nigella pattern here ;-)  
And I even admit throwing a frozen supermarket pizza in the oven occasionally! 

But tonight I did not feel like anything from the above. And because my husband is not a big fan of pancakes it was the perfect opportunity to bake them just for myself. It's a childhood favourite and I'm still happy to eat them for breakfast, lunch or as a main meal any time of the year.  While in wintertime it's a tradition to eat them after 'snert' (a thick typical Dutch pea soup). I remember my grandmother baking big piles of pancakes while the large pot of snert was simmering on the stove. She kept them warm by putting them on a plate on top of a pan with simmering water. 

Baking Dutch pancakes 
Dutch pancakes (pannenkoeken) are much thinner and larger than the American pancakes. The basic ingredients are always flour (plain, self-rising or both), milk, salt, and eggs. The addition of buckwheat flour is traditional but according to Wikipedia much less common nowadays. Although it looks like there is some kind of revival of the use of buckwheat flour because it's more healthy and ranks low on the glycemic scale. Wikipedia wrote a nice little piece about Dutch pancakes

Pancakes in the Netherlands are pretty popular; we even have lots of pancake-restaurants where you can order them with tons of different fillings. Plain ones are commonly eaten with sweet toppings like icing sugar (powdered sugar) or 'stroop'; treacle or syrup. A popular savoury filling is bacon & cheese. My 'secret' ingredient when making pancakes is to add a pinch of cinnamon to the batter. This even works with savoury fillings.

Pancake batter with cinnamon

If I make them as breakfast I use Jamie Oliver's 1tweetrecipe: 'Perfect pancakes: 1 egg, 1 cup self-raising, 
1 cup milk, pinch of salt. Whisk. Pour into a hot frying pan. Flip!' I get 3 pancakes from this recipe.

Today I made a bit more because I also love to eat them cold the next day (sprinkled with icing sugar and rolled up to be eaten by hand).
This recipe is adapted from an old fashioned and much reprinted Dutch cookbook; the Margriet kookboek:

Dutch pancakes
adapted from Margriet cookbook
Makes about 8 pancakes

  • 250 grams self-raising flour ( or substitute up to 50% with buckwheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg (large)
  • 450 ml  milk
  • Butter 
  • Cinnamon
  • Savoury and sweet ingredients as you like
1. Mix the self-raising flour with the salt.

2. Make a well in the middle, add the egg and half of the milk. Make a smooth batter of it, starting in the middle and mixing with a whisk. Add in the rest of the milk while stirring. Flavour with a pinch of cinnamon.

3. Leave to rest for half an hour if possible. 

4. Heat a small amount of butter in a frying pan, making sure it's hot before you pour in enough batter to just cover the bottom of the pan. (if you want to use bacon fry it first then add the batter)

5. Bake the pancake on medium heat until the top is dry.

6. Flip the pancake and cook the other side till golden.

7.Keep warm while baking the other pancakes. Fill as you like with sweet or savoury ingredients.

Rolled up Dutch pancake with 'stroop'

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