Top of the morning to you. Today is National Pancake Day. In honor of this special day, I’d like to share a pancake tale of long ago and a sumptuous Irish recipe. If you have never eaten Irish Pancakes, just imagine the love-child of an Omelette and a Crêpe. Irish Pancakes have the eggie qualities of an Omelette with the light, delicate finish of a French Crêpe. Before we get to cooking, let me share my tale . . .
When my son was all of three years old, I was attending Business School in the mornings, working in the afternoons and studying late into the night. With two small children in the house, there wasn’t much time left for little things like sleeping. I had been up until the wee hours of the morning deciphering a particularly difficult shorthand assignment. Finally, the assignment was complete and I was able to crawl into bed to grab a few minutes of sleep before the children woke up. It was Saturday, no school, no work, just fun with my children. (Which meant making a game out of mundane household chores).
No sooner had I drifted off to sleep when Jay came tip-towing into my room. He pressed his cute little face up against mine and whispered in my ear “You sleep, mommy and I’ll make breakfast.”
Half asleep, I whispered back “Okay, sweetie. You do that.” Mind you, I was floating in that fuzzy in-between dream-like state. Not truly awake, but awake enough to respond, although my response was far from thought out. As I drifted deeper into sleep, his words came back to me again and again. “I’ll make breakfast.” Wait – what? Make breakfast? But he’s only three! He can’t be in the kitchen alone. Suddenly, I was wide awake, shooting straight up in bed. I grabbed my robe and rushed into our tiny apartment kitchen. There was my beautiful little boy standing on a kitchen chair at the stove. Flour, milk and shattered raw eggs littered the floor around him. And in the biggest skillet we owned was the biggest pancake I had ever seen, with bits of egg-shell sticking up through the batter.
“Hi mommy.” He said with a smile as he lifted the pancake with a spatula to check its progress in the pan. “Your breakfast is almost ready.”
The exhausted adult in me wanted to scold him for turning on the stove and making such a mess. The mother in me was touched to the point of tears. I ate that pancake and it was delicious, made with the most important ingredient of all – love.
It really doesn’t matter what pancake recipe I use. Anytime I make pancakes, I remember that wonderful morning so long ago. And my heart melts like butter.
Buttery Lemon-Kissed Irish Pancakes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1 & 1/2 cups milk
1/4 stick butter (2 oz melted)
1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
1/4 stick melted butter (for frying)
1/4 Cup Lemon Juice, about 2 lemons (for finishing)
1/2 cup Fine Sugar (for finishing
Additional Melted Butter for serving
Powdered Sugar for Dusting
Sift flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small bowl, whip eggs until well blended. Pour eggs over the flour. Add milk and beat by hand for a minute or two, just to incorporate the ingredients.
Melt butter, allow to cool slightly and pour into the batter. Add 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice (more if a deeper lemon flavor is desired). Whisk once more.
Heat a 6 or 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Brush the inside of the pan with melted butter. (Butter will give the light pancakes a little extra flavor that you cannot get from oil or sprays).
Pour a little more than 1/4 cup of batter into the warmed pan. (I use 1/4 cup measuring cup and fill it about one and a half times to cover bottom o the pan with a thin layer of batter). Slightly tip and swirl pan to distribute batter evenly.
Cook the pancake for about two minutes, swirling the pan a couple of times as the pancake cooks. The pancake is ready to flip when the upper side appears dry and doesn’t “giggle” when swirled. With a thin flexible spatula, carefully life pancake from the pan, flip and cook underside for another 30 seconds or so.
Turn pancake out onto a warm plate. Set skilled aside (off heat) between pancakes. Brush pancake on plate with a little lemon juice, sprinkle with a little fine sugar. Roll pancake with a cigar to form a long cylinder. Transfer to serving platter and hold in a warm oven.
Repeat the cooking and rolling process until all the batter has been used.
Just before serving, brush pancakes with a little butter (you should have enough left over from the frying butter) and dust with powdered sugar.
These same pancakes can be filled with jams, hazelnut spread, fresh fruits such as sliced bananas or berries or whatever you like. The possibilities are limited to your imagination and the ingredients on-hand.