Say “pancake,” and Americans usually visualize tall stacks of round, freshly fried batter, dripping with butter and maple syrup and often made from a prepackaged mix. But every culture seems to have its equivalent, and many require so few, and such common, ingredients that they can be made straight from the pantry.
My family adores pancakes. My mom put together a cookbook of family recipes in 1990, printed on her dot-matrix machine and bound with plastic combs. It includes Linda’s Pancake Mix, a recipe from a family friend that features oats, corn, wheat, and powdered milk and was my mom’s go-to blend throughout my childhood. But it also includes Æbleskivers, Danish pancakes that remind me of holeless yeast donuts but are cooked in a special pan. They were my grandfather’s specialty; my sister inherited his pan, and my niece and nephew dip them in copious amounts of Nutella. My mom’s cookbook also holds recipes for Southern Spoonbread, a cornmeal-based baked “pancake” that’s closer to a soufflé and that we considered a dinner dish, and Dutch Babies, its flour-based breakfast counterpart that puffs beautifully, causing us all to claim a corner as it emerges from the oven. If I were to put out a new edition of Mom’s cookbook today, I would add crepes and their Russian variation, blini.
Learn to make Dutch Babies and Mushroom-Stuffed Blini