Pancake: Simple or Gourmet ?

A plate stacked high with golden-brown roundels, topped with butter or syrup ! Sounds tempting isn't it ? Well, that's what pancakes are... tempting and utterly delicious. A perfect meal for every one, pancakes form an integral part of the breakfast scenario. The versatility of pancake is such that at times it can be had as a main dish with numerous fillings.

The humble pancake enjoys a special place all over the world, in every corner, in every home. A versatile breakfast offering, it caters to all age groups with few modifications in ingredients and toppings. Typically pancakes are round fried cakes, prepared from a batter and baked on a hot girdle or frying pan. They are then eaten and relished with a number of toppings ranging from the sweet to the savory ! They are often compared to waffles, though there is a basic difference, as waffles contain more of egg. Mostly, pancakes are cooked one side at a time, with the cook often flipping it to the other side mid way. The process of flipping and turning is not easy, often being an art in itself to get a perfectly turned pancake.

The popularity of pancakes being such, this dish has managed to categorize itself in regional varieties all over the world. The basic recipe may remain the same but innovations have been made as regarding to the consistency of the pancake and to the number of fillings and toppings. American and Canadian pancakes often contain a raising agent such as the baking powder, which cause bubbles to form on the uncooked side just before they are flipped. As a result the pancakes are very light and fluffy in texture and are usually eaten with maple syrup and butter. The British version contains the same batter of milk, flour and eggs but is usually runny in texture. It does not contain any rising agent as such and hence the pancakes do not rise. The topping is usually traditional consisting of lemon juice and sugar. However in Scotland, the pancakes are more of the American version, have sugar in the batter and are not usually eaten with syrup. Pancakes in Australia and New Zealand are known as Pikelets. They are served with jam or cream or just butter. In Scotland, there is a departure from tradition as they are very rarely served as a breakfast item but are known more as a dessert item, available plain or with fruits.

In other parts of the world as in France, Quebec and Brazil, they are called pancake or crepes. They are of a very thin consistency and is usually served with a large amount of filling of fruits, ice cream or seafood. German pancakes called Pfannkuchen and are like the American ones, served with jam or lemon and powdered sugar. Austrian pancakes are known as Palatschinken and are are usually served with a spread of apricot jam, or a delicious filling of chocolate sauce or hazelnut spread. In Scandinavia, pancakes are similar to the British ones, traditionally served with jam, ice cream or whipped cream or is treated as a side dish with savory fillings.

There are other interesting varieties to be found all over the world and the variations are almost endless.
From the flour based French crepes to the latkes, the European potato pancakes, you can do almost anything with them. So just get ready for a hearty meal or a simple breakfast... either way you are never a loser with the humble pancake or if you feel like the... the exotic cousin of it !

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About The Author, Sean Carter
Sean Carter writes on holidays, is an active blogger at Christmas Blog