A pancake is a versatile, classic breakfast or snack food. It is simple to make and can appeal to a wide variety of flavors and ingredients. Pancakes are popular all around the world, with recipes and ingredients varying from country to country.
Traditionally, pancakes are made using a simple combination of flour, eggs, and milk and require minimal cooking skills. Pancakes are considered a form of flatbread, as they are usually thin and round. The earliest mentions of pancakes date back to the Middle Ages in parts of Europe such as Germany and Britain.
There are endless variations of pancakes, based on culture and region. In America, pancakes are typically made with heavily processed, all-purpose flour, baking baking powder, and salt, resulting in a consistent, fluffy pancake that has become a popular American breakfast item. Americans often like to top their pancakes with butter and maple syrup.
In contrast, Asian pancakes are made with a mixture of only flour and water, and often have a chewier texture. Some popular variations include Chinese scallion pancakes, mung bean pancakes from Korea, and Indian dosa. A popular Westernized version of Asian-style pancakes is the crêpe, which is made with wheat flour and a bit of melted butter. They are commonly filled with sweet jams, Nutella, fruits, or savory meats and veggies.
In Europe, pancakes are often eaten as a sweet dessert and often contain sugar, vanilla, chocolate, custard or other sweet items. German pancakes, or pancakes served with a lemon juice and sugar mix, are a popular version of pancakes from Europe.
In Latin American countries, pancakes are often served as a light meal, for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The batter for Latin American pancakes typically consists of ingredients like cornmeal and sour cream. Dishes such as bananacakes, corn cakes, and cuñapes are common Latin American versions of pancakes.
In Australia, pancakes are generally referred to as ‘pikelets’ and served as a part of afternoon tea. A popular Australian pancake recipe calls for plain flour, sugar, and egg, resulting in a fluffy, cake-like texture.
To make a traditional American-style pancake, you’ll need all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt, a teaspoon of sugar, an egg, and milk. Begin by sifting together the flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl and adding the sugar. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, milk, and butter. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until everything is just combined and there are no lumps.
Heat a flat pan or griddle over medium heat and add a small spoonful of butter or oil. Pour the pancake batter onto the pan and cook for about two minutes, or until the sides begin to brown and small bubbles appear. Flip over the pancake and cook for an additional one to two minutes.
Whether you’re ready for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack, pancakes are a classic, go-to option. From sweet to savory, simple or fancy, this versatile food can be enjoyed in millions of households around the world.