When Americans think of breakfast around the kitchen table with their families, many immediately think of warm, fluffy pancakes, often served with melted butter and maple syrup. Maybe your family is a little unconventional, eating your pancakes with jam or fruit or other toppings. No matter how they are eaten, pancakes are as American as apple pie or baseball. In fact, Americans love pancakes so much, that we celebrate National Pancake Day twice each year, on February 25 and September 26. We are not alone in our love of pancakes; most cultures make some variation of them. So, for National Pancake Day, consider making one of these 7 international “pancakes” for your family.
Most Americans are familiar with French crêpes, the thin pancakes served rolled or folded over sweet or savory fillings. In France, there are whole restaurants devoted to crêpes called crêperies and it is common to find street vendors making extra-large crêpes to order on special large, flat cooktops. Though the Nutella and banana fillings are delicious, try them filled with sauteed vegetables, mushrooms, and Gruyère cheese. Also consider berries for filling, like the Aronia berry and crème cheese. You won’t be sorry.
The Russian version of crêpes are just as delicious. Though you might have seen blini served with caviar, or the royal way, Russians more often eat blini with sour cream and jam or filled with cooked meat, vegetables, and mushrooms. They also make tiny blini to eat as appetizers.
The Dutch pancake is another thin European pancake, but it is somewhat larger and thicker than crêpes or blini, described by some as a cross between a crêpe and an American pancake. They’re often up to a foot in diameter. Though the Dutch do eat theirs for breakfast, they also eat them for lunch or dinner as well. They often eat them with treacle, which is syrup made from sugar beets, or appelstroop, an unspiced apple butter. They might also incorporate apples, bacon, cheese, or raisins right into the pannenkoeken. Consider topping them with Superberries Aroniaberry Sauce.
4. Cong you bing or Chinese Scallion Pancake
These pancakes are similar to crêpes, but are thinner and incorporate chopped green onions right into the batter. They are folded so they have crisp layers. They can be eaten on their own for breakfast or as an accompaniment to soup. They are served as street food or in restaurants and are available commercially in the frozen foods section at many Asian markets.
This is a type of Middle Eastern pancake, similar to European pancakes, but which incorporates farina or oatmeal and yeast into the batter, along with flour. It is usually then filled with a sweet nut mixture spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. The cooked pancakes are filled with the mixture, folded and pinched closed, and baked a bit longer in the oven for a substantial and delicious meal.
6. Potato Pancakes
Many cultures have incorporated a style of potato pancakes into their cultural menus. They come in various flavors and consistencies. From the Swedish raggmunk, to the Ukrainian deruny, to the Irish boxty, to the Jewish latkes, they are all delicious. Though each recipe varies a little, they all share the ultimate comfort food, potatoes. They are all more savory than a traditional pancake, but they can still be served with sweet accompaniments such as fruit jams or apple sauce.
These corn pancakes are well known in many places in South America, but they originated in Venezuela. They are savory-sweet and cooked in a variety of ways. A cachapa de budare is made with ground fresh corn, cheese, and sugar and cooked on a clay or iron plate called a budare. A cachapa de hoja has the same ingredients, but it is wrapped in a leaf and cooked in boiling water, similar to a tamale. They are both then served with queso de mano or Venezuelan fresh cheese.
Trying these different types of pancakes can be a fun way to spice up your family meals and an easy way to introduce children to international cuisine. To make them more healthy and delicious, incorporate fresh fruit whole, in compotes, or in syrups. Superberries frozen Aronia berries are delicious and healthy and can add a new flavor profile to sweet or savory pancakes. Also try topping your pancakes with our Aroniaberry Sauce, Aroniaberry Jam or Frozen Aroniaberries with honey. Enjoy your international food adventure!