Growing up we ate pancakes quite often, and not just for breakfast. We were one of those lucky households that ate pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner and I thank my parents fondly for making that happen. However, our pancakes were not like the North American pancakes served on my friend’s breakfast plates. Instead of fluffy, airy and from a box, ours were made from simple ingredients and were thin and floppy. If we were lucky, there would be a lacy, crispy edge around each pancake and that was the part I’d eat first completely unadorned…no syrup just yet. Once I had nibbled around the crispy edges, the insides were eaten with jam, with cottage cheese and with 100% pure maple syrup (we were Canadian, after all). While my brother and I loved these pancakes, these were made for my dad through and through. My dad was from Eastern Europe and this was the kind of only kind of pancake he was familiar with. Anything else was just filler.
When my husband and I went to Lithuania two years ago on a visit to my Fatherland, I got a taste of these pancakes again. Served with jams, soft cheese curds, and whipped cream, they were decadent and delicious. And a few weekend mornings ago, I got to thinking about those thin Eastern European pancakes and decided to try my hand at them. When my mom made these, she would throw all the ingredients into her trusty Osterizer blender and let it whirl, but this time I just mixed it by hand. I couldn’t tell a difference, they were just like I remembered them. Delicious.
Instead of serving these with syrup or jam, I decided to use up those still lingering frozen strawberries into a sweet-tart sauce to accompany the pancakes. I made the sauce first and then let it cool while I made the pancakes. This was the icing on the already perfect cake. Any leftover sauce is perfect for swirling into yogurt or plopping into a bowl of Scottish oatmeal.
thin pancakes with strawberry-orange sauce
1 c flour
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1 c milk
1 T vegetable oil + extra for frying
250 g strawberries, roughly chopped (I used frozen)
juice of 1/2 orange + zest
2 T sugar
1/2 T cornstarch whisked with a bit of cold water
1. Whisk together the eggs, flour, sugar and salt together. Pour in milk and the oil and blend well until batter is smooth and runny. Set aside.
2. Start your sauce by adding chopped strawberries, orange juice and zest and sugar into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and let the sauce reduce slightly. Turn down the heat and add in the cornstarch slurry and stir until combined. Let it cook further for another few minutes and then remove from heat.
3. Put oil in a large frying pan and slowly add in batter. When the top becomes dry, flip. Repeat with remaining batter until you have a lovely stack of thin pancakes. Divvy up the haul and generously pour strawberry sauce over top.