By Vernon Summerlin
One of America’s favorite breakfast foods is the pancake, also called hotcake and flapjack. Archaeological evidence suggests that pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies. It’s simply a flat, round, fried cake for delivering butter and syrup to your taste buds.
My wife adapted a Food Channel recipe that makes pancakes a dessert, and a dang good one too.
If you like a thick pancake (think IHOP) cut back on the liquid. I prefer a thin cake that’s not doughy in the middle so I make a runny batter that spreads out in the pan and cooks to firm texture.
A leavening agent causes carbon dioxide bubbles to foam in the dough and that lightens and softens the texture. The alternative or supplement to leavening agents is mechanical leavening – whipping air into the batter by mechanical means. This makes a thicker cake.
Pancakes and crepes have evolved into numerous forms across the world to include national foods ranging from rice and nuts to chocolate sauce and berries.
This month we’re using pancake mix to coat our crappie fillets and to create a dang good dessert.
Fast Fried Crappie
1/3 pound crappie fillets per person
2 cups dry pancake mix
Wash and dry fish. Dip fish into water. Sprinkle with salt and lemon pepper. Coat lightly with pancake mix. Fry in deep fat for until fish flakes easily. Serve with cocktail sauce.
Hot Southern Fried Crappie
12 crappie fillets
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 cup all purpose flour or pancake mix
2 cups yellow cornmeal
Salt & pepper
Cayenne (to taste)
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup hot sauce
Heat oil in large skillet or deep fat fryer. Combine mustard, paprika, flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper and cayenne in medium mixing bowl. Add buttermilk and hot sauce and mix well. Dip fish in mixture, dust with flour, dip again in mixture and roll in cornmeal. Ease fish into hot oil and cook until brown. Drain well on paper towels.
Fish Camp Apple Pancake
(Adapted by Cathy Summerlin from Food Channel recipe)
1/2 stick butter
3 apples (Gala, Granny Smith, etc.), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup brown sugar
* * *
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
* * *
2 teaspoon butter
Melt butter in large frying pan and sauté apples until soft. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and brown sugar and stir until mixture begins to caramelize.
In a bowl: mix flour, granulated sugar and salt with slightly beaten eggs, vanilla and milk.
Pour batter into pan on top of apple mixture and drag spoon through apple mixture to push some swirls of it into the batter. Cook until bubbles start to appear at edges of batter, then gently loosen edges of pancake with a spatula and put 2 teaspoons butter equally divided around the edges and under the pancake to prevent sticking. Then cover frying pan with a tightly fitting lid (or aluminum foil) and pull pan away from center of fire grate to bake for 12-15 minutes to finish cooking the pancake.
Slice pancake and serve with butter and maple syrup. Makes two to three servings.