Welcome to Our Pancake Blog

Welcome to Our Pancake Blog!

So, what does a married couple with no children and free time do? Why think of creative ways to eat of course. So begins the Around the World in Pancake Sundays project.

One day while eating pancakes made from sprouted wheat and chocolate chips, we started talking about how fun it would be to eat a different type of pancake each Sunday. I know, you must be stuck on the whole sprouted wheat pancakes. I'm sure many are thinking eeeeewwww, sounds yucky right now. However, they are actually quite tasty. We were given our first taste of them by a friend last New Year's Eve (well, technically the morning after New Year's Eve). We were so enamored of them that we went searching for our own sprouted wheat to make some for ourselves a couple of months later.

O.K., enough digressing. While eating the above mentioned pancakes, the conversation started about eating a different type of pancake each Sunday. We began to wonder if we could find a different type of pancake for each Sunday for a whole year. So we set ourselves the challenge of finding a unique pancake recipe to try out each Sunday.

We continued to talk about this idea for the next couple of weeks. We started thinking about how most cultures actually have their own versions of pancakes. This led us to try to find a pancake from each country in the world. We finally began our project last Sunday, and decided to chronicle it here in this blog.

So welcome to our pancake blog, we hope you enjoy it as much as we are sure to enjoy making and eating them! Heck, we hope you make some and enjoy them too!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bahrain - Do we have to skip you?

O.K., so I know it's been awhile since I've blogged, but once again life has gotten in the way of writing about our pancake Sundays.  However, one doesn't need to fear, we didn't let life get in the way of actually eating pancakes on our pancake Sundays!

Next up on our trip is Bahrain.  We had a really difficult time finding a pancake recipe for Bahrain.  We found vague mentions of them in other people's blogs; however, we couldn't find an exact name for them so that we could do a search for the recipe.  All we kept finding were things like they have a potato pancake that is a common snack.  We became so frustrated that Sam finally decided to write to the Bahraini embassy.  They were quite helpful and let us know they would have to do some research and get back to us on a recipe for Bahraini pancakes. Unfortunately they didn't get back to us with a recipe for Bahrain's designated Sunday.  We did find a recipe for a common middle eastern pancake treat that is served during the holiday of Ramadan.  They are called atayef.  Since Bahrain is in the middle east, we decided to use an atayef recipe for Bahrain.

There are two parts to making atayef.  The first part is making the custard that fills the pancake.  I would suggest making this first, as it needs some time to cool.  The second part is to make the actual pancake.  You can actually make the custard up a day in advance (which is what we did), then it will be all ready to go on the day you want to eat your atayef.  Here are the ingredients you will need to make the custard:
  • 2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cup 2% or fat free milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn starch mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • 7 pieces white bread with crust removed
  •  1 tbs Rose Water
  • 1 Tbs Orange Blossom water
Place both types of milk, heavy cream, sugar, and corn starch into a pot over medium/high heat and stir.  Tear the bread slices into pieces and add it to the milk mixture.  Stir the bread/milk mixture until all of the bread has dissolved. 

Continue stirring until the mixture begins to thicken.  Once it begins to thicken, add the rose water and orange blossom water.  We used rose syrup instead of rose water because that was what we had in the house at the time.  We omitted the orange blossom water because we didn't have any in the house.

Continue stirring the mixture until it gets really thick.

The above picture shows that it is quite thick.  Remember this picture, and I'll tell you a little bit later why.  Once it has become thick, take it off of the heat and set it aside to cool.  Stir the custard every 15 minutes while it it cooling.  After it has sat and cooled for 1 hour, cover the custard with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to cool it completely.

Now that we've made the custard, we can move on to the actual pancake.  To make the pancake, you will need the following ingredients:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cup milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp sugar

Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and stir until it forms a batter.  We put the dry ingredients in first, and then added the wet ones.

The amount of liquid in this recipe makes for a thin batter, which is good because it's one of those pancakes that you cook only on one side.

Awwww . . . look, a heart reflection in the batter!

After mixing the batter, allow the batter to rest for 20 minutes.  Once it has rested, you will need to heat a nonstick pan on medium/low heat.  Once your pan is heated up, you can pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan.  This should make a pancake that is about 3 inches in diameter.

Cook on one side only until the top of the batter is dry. Here is a picture of one that is almost finished cooking.

Do you see how it is still shiny in the middle?  That part hasn't finished cooking.  Also, like Algerian baghrir, this pancake should get lots of little holes all over it.  Don't worry, there will not be any holes on the underside as there were on the baghrir.  Once all of the shininess is gone from the top, slide the pancake off of the pan and onto a plate.  Remember, don't flip it.  If you flip it, you won't be able to do the next part, as the pancake will be too dry.  Continue cooking the atayef in this manner until all of the batter is used up.  We got about 30 atayef, so if you're not feeding a lot of people you might want to try cutting this recipe in half.    Once the batter has been used up, put your cooked atayef aside and coarsely chop some pistachios.

The atayef should be at room temperature after you have finished chopping the pistachios.  Now we can fold the atayef.  To do this, you are going to match the edges of the atayef to make a half circle, being sure not to press anything together at this point in time.  Once the edges are matched up, press together the edges from the middle of the semicircle all the way to the back.  If you have done this correctly, they should look like this:

When I read the recipe for this, I was skeptical about it sticking together, but don't worry, they do stick together!

We didn't fold all of the atayef into semicircles since it was just the two of us, and we knew we wouldn't be able to eat all of them.  Instead we folded 8 of them, and then we put the rest in a ziplock bag in the freezer.  I'm not sure how they will be once we take them out of the freezer since we haven't taken them out yet, but hopefully they'll defrost O.K.  I'll let you know when we take them out.  Now we're ready to pipe the custard into our pancakes.  You can use piping bag with a custard nipple or a plastic bag if you don't have a piping bag.  To use a plastic bag, simply place the custard in a plastic bag, squeeze as much air out as you can, and then close it.  Once it's is closed, snip one corner of the bag, and now you can squeeze the custard out through this hole.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos to show you of this since we didn't get to pip our custard.  This is what the custard looked like when we took it out of the refrigerator:

Not nearly thick enough to pipe.  Remember when I said to look closely at the picture above?  Well, the reason I said that was because I didn't cook the custard long enough.  It should be much thicker than the one further up in the blog when you take it off of the heat.  Now we have all of these beautiful atayef and chopped pistachios, but nothing to fill them with. We were sort of bummed out.  However, I remembered that we had some heavy cream in the refrigerator still.  So I did what anyone would do with heavy cream.  I got it it, poured it in a metal bowl, and added a couple of tablespoons of rose syrup.  I didn't measure the heavy cream, but it was about 1 cup of heavy cream.  Next I got out my hand mixer and began whirring the cream and rose syrup together.

When I was all done, we had rose flavored whipped cream to stuff into our atayef!

We decided to enjoy our meal outside, and since we already had dirtied so many dishes making this, we opted to put everything on one plate and just build our atayef as we were ready to eat them.

We used a teaspoon to put the whipped cream in the atayef, then we dipped it into the chopped pistachios.  The final product looked like this before we devoured them:

These were fabulous!   Hopefully we'll have the opportunity to make another version of these again when we travel back to the middle east!