Butterlicious Pancakes with Lemon and Powdered Sugar
just how you like them, right when you need them
things you’ll need: flour, baking soda, milk, egg, salt, lemon, powdered sugar, vegetable oil for frying, and lots of butter
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I do not prefer pancakes or sweet breakfasts in general. There are basically two exceptions: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes and German Dutch Babies. The common denominator is, apparently and to no one’s surprise, lemon. When this recipe came up on NYT Cooking (Recipe from Ahoy Café; Adapted by Matt Haines), I had to try it. It is based on the traditional Irish Pancakes, often served on Fat Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday. Lent or no Lent, I will never make another type of pancake. Well, unless it’s German… or Lemon Ricotta.
incidentally vegetarian, standard gluten-free 1:1 flour should substitute well. These are made with eggs and soaked in butter, so a vegan option is hard, but there are a bunch of other vegan pancake recipes out there.
Even if Lent isn’t your thing, you can appreciate the spirit behind it. Maybe you practice some other type of fasting or sacrifice for the sake of spiritual clarity. Maybe you go without for the good of all, your body, or your budget. You change and grow by letting go all the time (it’s exhausting).
You don’t have to observe Lent to appreciate the ways people prepare to grieve. You have glutted yourself on love knowing that heartbreak will follow. You have tried to swallow entire days attempting to put off whatever comes tomorrow.
You don’t know what grief will come or what you are preparing for, but you wake up wanting something more than the perfunctory breakfast that you, sometimes, remember to eat. Fat Tuesday came and went, with or without your observance, but something about this morning calls for pancakes. Don’t fight it. You may need the butter-rich indulgence for whatever lies ahead.
Sift together a little more than ¾ cup of flour (114 grams), a teaspoon of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Beat in 1 egg and a little more than a cup of milk, until the batter is the consistency of pouring cream. Let the batter rest for 10-30 minutes while you brush your teeth and/or take a quick shower.
When you are ready, heat your preferred skillet on a high flame. When the pan is good and hot, turn the flame down to medium, add a little vegetable oil, and pour in the batter. As bubbles form and the batter cooks, lift the edge of the pancake and look for the warm brown of well-fried batter. Before flipping, add a good pat of butter and swirl the pan/pancake to coat. Flip and cook until just done.
Repeat, improving the process with every round. If you like the large, crepe-like, pancakes you can roll, then do that. If your stove leans to one side and you spend the whole time fighting the runny batter in an attempt to make one perfectly round pancake, then that’s time well-spent too.
Serve your pancakes with more butter if you want. Sprinkle the whole plate or each individual bite with powdered sugar and a squeeze of lemon(s).
There are moments to fill yourself full, especially when the bounty is fleeting. You understand putting ritual behind it, finding meaning in the sacrifices we make, the sacrifices you have had to make. If you are lucky, you know that a loss is coming. If you are lucky, then you have the chance to prepare yourself. Either way, you know that pancakes will probably help.
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