[Almanzo] was making pancakes, not because Royal could boss him any more but because Royal could not make good pancakes and Almanzo loved light, fluffy, buckwheat pancakes with plenty of molasses. “How many did you eat while I was doing the chores?” Royal asked him. “I didn’t count ‘em,” Almanzo grinned. “But gosh, I’m working up an appetite, feeding you.” “So long as we keep on eating, we don’t have to wash the dishes,” said Royal.
For a land where heavenly baked goods abound like Milch und Hönig, Germany makes it surprisingly tough to bake at home for people used to American measurements, ovens, food products, recipes, and even kitchen tools. I had the hardest time even finding measuring spoons in Berlin, for example, and I keep having to look up the temperature equivalents for my gas mark oven. Combine this with my fairly average baking talents and you come up with some pretty crumbly, burnt, flat disasters.
But the single overripe banana which confronted me this morning demanded action. It wasn’t quite enough for banana bread, and I didn’t have a lot of fancy ingredients around. Fortunately, this recipe seemed simple enough for my transplant skills and limited pantry to handle.
I substituted applesauce for half the oil. German grocery stores carry great unsweetened applesauce known as Apfelmark to distinguish it from regular applesauce (Apfelmus).
I also used yogurt instead of milk. While I’m a picky milk drinker and it’s hard to find typical American homogenized skim milk here, endless varieties of delicious Müsli can be found. So yogurt is what I had on hand.
On to the pancake-making
(Oh the terrible drama! Will the pancakes hold together and fulfill their promise of breakfast delight? Or will they turn out to be tasteless disappointments?)
I flipped the first one too early, before it was really done cooking, so I had to flip it back again. Not only did this make for a somewhat unevenly cooked pancake, but the inelegance of the process offended.
My stove gets very hot very quickly, so the second one made me glad I don’t have a working smoke detector. No worries, I just followed my German neighbors’ lead and opened a window to the crisp February air.
But like the familiar story, the third one came out just right.
My food photography skills could use some work, but here’s the general idea:
While these weren’t quite as tasty as my father’s cornmeal pancakes at home with the family, they weren’t half bad. And everything is better with tea, especially tea in a cozy!