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Hungarian Palacsinta (Pancakes)

I remember my Hungarian grandmother huddled over her small table in the kitchen making fresh palacsinta. When finished, the several she had chosen to eat were topped with a generous spread of sour cream. These pancakes are certainly similar to French crepes, but with the Hungarian blood in my veins, I would have to say I am partial to this version. It is a wonderfully light ending to any meal (or weekend brunch treat for that matter).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream & whole milk (combined)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted (cooled slightly)
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Cognac (optional)
  • Various fillings and spreads. example: Nutella, jams (apricot, strawberry, blackberry, blueberry), ricotta cheese
  • Optional toppings: sour cream, nuts, and powdered sugar

In a bowl mix the flour and sugar making a well in the center. Pour in the milk mixture, water, vanilla, eggs and optional cognac. Mix these ingredients together until smooth. Mixture should stand at room temperature to set up or be put in the refrigerator if being used later.

Once you are ready to make your pancakes, heat a small crepe-style non-stick pan over medium heat. Once the pan is heated, add a pat of butter, remove from heat and swirl the pan to coat. Stir your batter and add about 2 tablespoons of batter — enough to coat the bottom of the pan thinly. Return to heat and allow to set up and brown on the bottom (about 2 minutes). You should be able to shake your pan back and forth, not allowing the pancake to stick.

When you are ready to flip, just remove the pan from the stove, tilt to one side so the pancake slides onto a spatula and turn it over. With practice  you will be able to get a feel for exactly when to flip it. Cook on this side for an additional minute to brown.

You want your pancake very thin. You can serve these individually, but be careful stacking them as they will stick together. Continue making the pancakes until the batter is used up.

Now you can begin to fill your pancakes with a variety of fillings. One of my favorites is an apricot and ricotta mixture.

Fold your pancakes by tucking one end up and then both sides over and arrange in a baking dish.

Warm in the oven on low heat for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with additional toppings if desired, then serve.

Next time you are planning a large heavy meal, plan on serving these for the last course as they make for a light, slightly sweet dessert that everyone is sure to love! Be sure to serve this course with a sweet Hungarian Tokaji.