I learned how to make Dutch pancakes from my maternal great grandmother, Maria. She was born in Rotterdam in the 1890s and called Marie. She used to cut up her old blouses and make remarkably detailed clothing for my dolls and monchhichis. Her bold polyester prints in navy and tangerine polkadot because tiny jackets and bedspreads. I kept many of them and now Phoebe plays with them. Handmade quality for the win!
Here is a photo of four generations of pancake makers in my family taken when I was at the front end of my pancake apprenticeship. In all seriousness, this woman was a fierce survivor who tolerated no crap. Her grandfather was the son of a single mother of three who lived in Vlissingen through the flood of 1808, being bombed the British in 1809 AND the unwelcome reign of Napoleon. After scratching out a living as carpenters for a few generations, the family made its way to the port city of Rotterdam, in time to live through four years of regular bombing in Rotterdam - by both Nazis and Allied forces alike. She raised four daughters and taught me how to darn a sock. I am grateful to her grace and her grit. And for her pancakes. She was the last of my people who spoke in 65% proverb.
Dutch Pancake Recipe - Pannekoeken
Dutch pancakes, called Pannekoeken, are more like a thick crepe - a pan-sized wonder with a touch of golden crisp. Pancakes are usually eaten for lunch and dinner and are just as often savory, with young Gouda cheese and maybe a slice of ham as they are served sweet with powdered sugar and butter (and maybe lemon); maple syrup, cinnamon and sugar; or whatever suits your fancy.
1 cup milk (add a bit more if needed)
pinch of salt
(optional: dash of vanilla extract)*
1 cup flour
- Combine wet ingredients. Add salt and flour and whisk until smooth. My grandmother always used a large spoon to carefully smooth the batter, but I think this is because whisks (like electric irons) were not often used in her prime. Batter should be thing but not runny - add milk to adjust.
- Heat steel frying pan (NOT non-stick) over medium high heat. Wait until it's nice and hot to add a slip of unsalted butter or vegetable oil and roll it around to coat the bottom. Test the oil and you'll want the batter test drops to instantly fizzle to show the pan is hot.
- While holding pan handle in one hand, pour about 1/2 cup of batter into pan, rolling the pan so the batter coats nearly the whole pan. Let it set and crisp for a few moments then flip over until second side crisps.
- Serve warm. Top with fillings and roll them up!
*my Opa traded in cocoa and extracts so he had access to Vanilla extract and he liked the taste. Leave out the vanilla for a savory meal - simply melt some cheese and/ham on top for a delicious treat.