Monday, June 3, 2013

How to Make Pink Pancakes, 1786


"To make a pink-coloured Pancake. Boil a large beet root tender, and beat it fine in a marble mortar, then add the yolks of four eggs, two spoonfuls of flour, and three spoonfuls of good cream, sweeten it to your taste, and grate in half a nutmeg, and put in a glass of brandy; beat them all together half an hour, fry them in butter, and garnish them with green sweetmeats, preserved apricots, or green sprigs of myrtle."

Elizabeth Raffald, The Experienced English Housekeeper, For the Use and Ease of Ladies, Housekeepers, Cooks, &c. (1786)

If your pancakes aren't pink, you are no lady. 

13 comments:

  1. Beat for half an hour? Modern pancakes get minimal stirring.

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    1. The eggs are the only leavening in this recipe (called a 'receipt' back then), so the beating provides them with some air and structure. No resting (below). The reason modern pancakes get minimal stirring is because of the chemical leavening (baking powder/soda) which if overbeaten will dissipate too quickly to raise the pancakes.

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    2. The suggestion to minimize stirring for modern pancake batters has less to do with interrupting the leavining process and more to do with making tender pancakes. Mixing too much or too little won't stop CO2 generation. Long(er) beating of the batter will develop the flour proteins (glutin), leaving the pancakes tough. Single acting baking powder produces CO2 upon being wetted, while double acting powder produces additional gas upon heating.

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    3. I read an 1808 recipe for cup cake icing that called for three hours of beating.

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    4. The beating time sounds about right for an old-time pastry wheat flour, not bread flour - unless it was potato flour (the recipe date is just about right for it), or pea flour. In the latter cases, this would have been a very heavy cake, but for the air whipped into it. Even with the eggs back then being about half the size of modern chicken eggs, the amount of liquid in this recipe makes me think "omelette" or "crepe" over "cake".

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  2. My take was beat them smooth and let the batter rest 1/2 hour. Seems like a Dutch pancake.

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  3. Half a nutmeg??? That would not be edible!

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    1. Maybe nutmegs were smaller then??????

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    2. That was my reaction. I like nutmeg, but wow... Maybe it's to kill the beet flavor?

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  4. I like the idea of adding a glass of brandy. :)

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    1. I prefer "Put in[to your mouth while you are cooking the pancakes] a glass of brandy."

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  5. Ah, the Galloping Gourmet technique.

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  6. I suspect they are more like what we call pancakes in Sweden- thin and more like crepe than American pancakes. Is that what you call Dutch pancakes? But an half an hour beating sounds excessive!

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