Your New Favorite Pancakes (Palačinke)

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Fluffy pancake recipes are a dime a dozen. But have you ever wondered what would happen if your pancakes were a tiny bit more like crepes? (or if your crepes were ever-so-slightly more like pancakes?)  Would you be even more excited if you could do it with only 5 ingredients that you probably already have?  If so, you’ve been waiting to discover Grandma Pancakes… and the anticipation is officially over!


Growing up, there were huge benefits to sleeping over Grandma’s house.

  • She would let you paint her toenails any color you wanted as long as you kept relatively quiet during General Hospital.
  • There was almost always one of those three-flavor tins of popcorn sitting around  (because this was one of the only items on Grandma’s birthday or Christmas wish list, followed closely by things that played music and things that lit up, the gaudier the better).
  • All the sparkly light-up music-playing things to play with! (like this one below, although I’m pretty sure hers played “You Light Up My Life“)
  • In the morning, you were treated to the World’s Most Delicious Pancakes!

When I began researching these pancakes, I discovered a few interesting things.  First of all, everyone in my family who has a copy of the recipe has the same one — the one that does not tell you how much milk to add, just “as needed.”  That can be perplexing if you are not making these pancakes on a regular basis.  Do you need a teaspoon?  Half a cup?  A pint?

Additionally, the name of what we’ve always just called “Grandma Pancakes”seems to have multiple origins.   My Grandma would always spread her serving of pancakes with jam and cottage cheese and call them what sounded like “polla-chinki”.  I thought this was a name for that specific style of serving them, but it turns out that palacinke, or palatschinke, or palačinke just means “crepes” or “pancakes.”  I’ve seen them listed as Hungarian, Serbian, Croatian, Ukranian, Macedonian, and yes, Slovenian in origin.  And that’s just a partial list.

Nearly every Eastern European cuisine seems to have its own version, and they vary slightly in ingredients and technique: cream vs. milk, one egg vs. two, separated or not, beaten egg whites vs. club soda (for leavening).  Some recommend serving with powdered sugar, some with jam (cottage cheese is a little less common, and maple syrup, the favorite of US and Canadian pancake connoisseurs, is not easily found in Europe).  However, what all these recipes seem to have in common is hitting that sweet spot between fluffy American pancakes and delicate French crepes.  And that’s why you need to try them!

Without further adieu…

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These are not officially “Grandma-style” since I substituted ricotta for cottage cheese.      But they were equally delicious.

Grandma Pancakes

makes about 8 6-inch pancakes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar1
  • 2 eggs, separated (room temperature is best)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted and slightly cooled2
  • 1-1/2 to 2 cups milk (room temperature is best)3

Preheat a skillet or non-stick pan over low heat.

Put flour and sugar in a large bowl.  Make a well in the middle.  In a small bowl, beat together egg yolks, milk, and melted butter.  Pour into well and mix into a smooth batter.  In another small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, and fold into batter.

Increase temperature to medium-low.  These pancakes are most perfect when cooked in butter, but you can use your oil/fat/spray of choice.

Enjoy with your favorite topping!

NOTES:

  1. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup sugar.  I think these are sweet enough with half that amount, but I don’t like super sweet breakfasts so feel free to experiment as your taste dictates!
  2. OF COURSE, the original recipe calls for Oleo.  I don’t happen to live in an Oleo household and can assure you that butter is a delicious subtitute.
  3. I tested this since, as mentioned above, the original recipe doesn’t tell anyone how much milk to use. 1-1/2 cups milk gives you a slightly thicker pancake; adding more will get you closer to crepe-like.
  4. You can certainly try other kinds of flour or non-dairy milks, but my experiments have proven that the original ingredients are far and away the best for texture and taste.
  5. I recommend the room temperature eggs and milk so you don’t end up with solid chunks of butter in the batter.  It’s not the worst thing in the world if you forget, but taking the milk and eggs out of the refrigerator early is a big help.

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1 thought on “Your New Favorite Pancakes (Palačinke)”

  1. I’m enjoying your blog–especially this post, with my childhood favorite! My Slovenian American mother just called them “jelly rolls”–although our preferred filling was butter and brown sugar.I never realized this was straight out of her own ethnic heritage until I started collecting old Slovenian American cookbooks five years ago–and then cooking/blogging about it. Palačinke–close cousin to another breakfast treat I discovered called šmoren. Ever hear of that one?

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