Flipping over flapjacks

Fun facts about short stacks

Erica Price has no flapjack festivities planned for Tuesday.

“We don’t usually give out presents,” she says.

But that doesn’t mean she’s oblivious to the fact that Tuesday is National Pancake Day.

Price, who lives in Topeka, works for Chris Cakes, a catering company that specializes in flipping pancakes for events, including many in Lawrence.

Price isn’t exactly sure why, but she says people just love pancakes. Most of the pancake feeds she works have several hundred people in attendance.

“It’s a fun way to get people together,” she says.

To commemorate National Pancake Day, we offer the following flapjack facts:

Save the date: Shrove Tuesday, the day of Mardi Gras and the day before Lent begins, is traditionally considered National Pancake Day. Some people – and especially companies hoping to cash in on pancake sales – consider the week leading up to Shrove Tuesday National Pancake Week.

The tradition: Lent represents a time of fasting and limited eating for many Christians. Since Shrove Tuesday was the last day before Lent, some Christians made pancakes to use up banned ingredients such as eggs and fats.

A traditional breakfast staple, the pancake traces its origins back thousands of years. One of the earliest known pancake meals dates back to the fourth century B.C. in China, where pancakes made from millet meal or wheat flour were common due to their relatively short cooking time.

Fast flapjacks: Olney, England, has had an annual Pancake Day race since 1445.

Legend says a woman lost track of time while cooking a pancake on Shrove Tuesday. When she heard the bells ringing for the shriving service (during which Christians were absolved of their sins), she ran to the church with her apron on and skillet in hand.

Liberal joins in: The city of Liberal – specifically, the Jaycees club there – decided in 1950 to get involved with the pancake race. Now, the women of Liberal compete against the women of Olney every year in a 415-yard course, flipping pancakes along the way.

The records: The world’s largest pancake measured 15 meters in diameter, weighed three tons and contained approximately 2 million calories. It was cooked in 1994 in England.

Ralf Laue of Germany holds the record for fastest flapjack flipper. He completed 416 flips in two minutes in 1997.

The “Pancake Man”: Mike Cuzzacrea of Lockport, N.Y., has run 26 marathons and other small races while flipping a pancake with a 24-ounce frying pan. He now raises money for charity with his pancake racing.

Holy hotcakes!: Jesus, it seems, has anointed the pancake as his breakfast food of choice.

Earlier this year, an Ohio couple claimed to see Jesus’ image in a pancake they made at home. While they considered the sighting a sign from above, the couple decided to sell the flapjack on eBay.

A search Monday showed four eBay auctions for pancakes supposedly imprinted with Jesus.

“It does give me hope that I am not alone,” one seller wrote.

Syrup spokeswoman: Aunt Jemima, the long-time icon for a brand of syrup now owned by the Quaker Oats Co., was first portrayed by Nancy Green, a former slave, in 1893.

The character was named for a song in a vaudeville show, not a real person. Seven women have portrayed Aunt Jemima through the years.

Try, try again: “In a big family, the first child is kind of like the first pancake,” says U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. “If it’s not perfect, that’s OK. There are a lot more coming along.”

How flat?: Research completed in 2003 proved what U.S. Interstate 70 drivers have suspected all along – that Kansas is flatter than a pancake.

Researchers from Southwest Texas State and Arizona State universities analyzed the ups and downs of a flapjack and compared them with those of the state. The results were published in the Annals of Improbable Research.

Pancake luck: Some in France believe that if you hold a coin in your left hand while tossing a pancake, you will receive riches in the following year.

Napoleon had a different view. He thought dropping a pancake while tossing it was bad luck and blamed the failure of a military campaign against Russia on a pancake he dropped years earlier.

Gingerbread pancakes

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3 eggs

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup water

1/4 cup brewed coffee

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Applesauce and/or maple syrup (optional)

Combine first eight ingredients; mix well, and set aside. Combine eggs and sugar, beating well. Add buttermilk, water, coffee and butter; mix well. Add buttermilk mix to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened (batter will be slightly lumpy). For each pancake, pour about 1/4 cup batter onto hot, greased griddle or skillet. Turn when the tops are covered with bubbles and edges are slightly dry. Serve with warm applesauce or maple syrup, if desired. Makes 16 pancakes.

Source: http://recipes.epicurean.com.

German apple pancakes

For batter:

8 extra-large eggs

1 cup unbleached flour

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1/2 stick butter, melted (1/4 cup)

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For fruit mixture:

1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup), melted

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

2 large tart apples (Granny Smith or greening), peeled, halved, cored and thinly sliced (2 cups)

For batter: In mixing bowl, blend first six ingredients with electric mixer. Add melted butter, vanilla and nutmeg and blend further. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature while preparing fruit mixture. (Can be made ahead and refrigerate overnight). Preheat oven to 425 degrees and arrange shelf in center.

For apple mixture: Divide melted butter between two 10-inch ovenproof skillets and heat, brushing butter up sides of pans. Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Sprinkle 1/3 cup of sugar mixture over melted butter in each pan. Divide apple slices and layer evenly over butter. Divide remaining sugar mixture and sprinkle over apple slices. Cook over medium-high heat only until mixture bubbles. Divide batter evenly and gently pour over apples. Transfer to oven and bake 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake and additional 10 minutes. Slide onto heated serving platters, cut into wedges and serve immediately.

Source: http://recipes.epicurean.com.

Blueberry pancakes

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 stick butter or margarine, melted and cooled

Approximately 1 cup whole milk

1 cup fresh or thawed and drained frozen blueberries (about 8 per pancake)

Vegetable oil or butter, for cooking

Maple syrup and additional butter (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then whisk them into the flour mixture. Combine the butter and 1 cup of milk in the medium bowl then gradually whisk this mixture into the batter. The batter should be slightly thicker than heavy cream. It the batter is too thick, add a little more milk.

Heat a seasoned griddle or a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. If the pan is not well seasoned, add a little oil to prevent the pancakes from sticking. Spoon or pour about 3 tablespoons of batter onto the griddle to form a pancake. Repeat forming only as many pancakes as can fit on the griddle with 1-inch or so of space around each. Drop 7 or 8 blueberries on each pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the pancake surfaces then flip and continue cooking until the second sides are golden, about 3 minutes longer. The pancakes are best served immediately topped with maple syrup and additional butter but they may be kept warm in a low (200 degrees) oven until all the batter has been cooked.

Source: www.foodnetwork.com.

Banana and pecan pancakes with maple butter

2 cups buttermilk

3 eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 pinch salt

4 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup pecans, toasted and finely ground (not chopped)

1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

3 bananas, peeled and sliced in 1/4-inch circles

Maple Butter, recipe follows

Confectioners’ sugar, to garnish

Candied Pecans, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla together so they are well combined. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, soda, salt and sugar. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry and stir with a spoon to get rid of the lumps. Fold in the pecans, most of the melted butter and whisk until batter is smooth. Heat a griddle or skillet over medium low heat and swirl around a little melted butter to keep the pancakes from sticking. Using a ladle pour the batter into the pan.

Cook the pancakes on one side until they are set and then lightly press the bananas into the batter. When small bubbles appear on the uncooked surface, flip the pancakes and cook until golden on both sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer pancakes to a warming plate in the oven while you make the rest.

To serve, slice the maple-honey butter, layer it between the stack of pancakes and place in the oven to melt for 1 1/2 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and candied pecans.

Source: www.foodnetwork.com.

Raspberry chocolate chip recipes

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons milk

1 large egg

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup picked-over raspberries

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a small saucepan melt 2 tablespoons butter over moderately low heat, stirring. Stir in milk and heat until just warm. Remove pan from heat. In a bowl whisk together milk mixture and egg. Into another bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt and stir in egg mixture until just combined. Gently stir in raspberries and chocolate chips. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Heat a griddle over moderate heat until hot enough to make a drop of water scatter over surface. Add 1 teaspoon butter and with a metal spatula spread over griddle. Working in batches, drop 1/4-cup measures of batter onto griddle to form pancakes about 4 inches in diameter and cook until bubbles appear on surface and undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip pancakes with spatula and cook until undersides are golden brown and pancakes are cooked through. Transfer pancakes as cooked to an ovenproof platter and keep warm, uncovered, in oven. Make more pancakes with remaining butter and batter in same manner. Makes 10 pancakes.

Source: www.epicurious.com.

Savory pancakes with capers and onions

4 ounces Greek capers, rinsed and drained

2 scallions, trimmed and finely chopped

1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup snipped dill

3 cups self-rising flour


Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Olive oil for frying

Combine the capers, scallion and herbs in a bowl. Mix together the flour and enough water to form a thick batter. Season with salt and pepper. Add the capers and herbs to the batter and stir to combine.

Heat one inch of olive oil in a large skillet. Take a heaping tablespoon at a time of the mixture and drop it into the hot oil. Fry until golden, turning to cook on both sides. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.

Source: www.gourmet.gr.