Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hotcake crepes

One of the best food finds during our summer road trip this year was Pamela's Diner in Pittsburgh, which is known for "hotcakes" — large, crepe-like spongy pancakes, served rolled around fruit or other fillings with sour cream and maple syrup. They were amazing, thicker and spongier than traditional crepes — kind of like a sweet white-flour injera. This is my attempt to reverse-engineer them; I'm not sure I got it quite right, but these are still quite good.

I used a 12-inch nonstick skillet to make very large crepes and got 6 out of this recipe, but I imagine you could also use a 10-inch skillet and get more crepes which would still be large enough to roll around a filling. Flipping them is a bit of a trick; I slid the crepe off onto a plate and then flipped them back into the skillet.

2 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105-110 degrees)
1 1/2 cups milk
4 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups flour
4 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs

1. Mix yeast with warm water in a small bowl. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan; when melted, add milk and heat until warm (105-110 degrees).

2. Mix flour, sugar and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast to milk-butter mixture, then add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and mix well.

3. Cover batter tightly with plastic wrap and let stand for one hour, until bubbly and risen. Stir batter down, re-cover, and let stand overnight.

4. Stir down the batter, and beat in the eggs.

5. Heat a 12-inch non-stick pan over medium-high heat. For each hotcake crepe, lift the pan off the heat, add about 2/3 of a cup of batter and swirl around to cover the whole pan. Cook until bubbles appear and the crepe is browned on the bottom, then turn over and cook on the other side (several minutes per side).

6. Serve rolled around berries, jam or other filling, with maple syrup and/or whipped or sour cream.

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