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<b> Palacsinta </b> | A Hungarian Pancake We Never Had for Breakfast
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Palacsinta | A Hungarian Pancake We Never Had for Breakfast

Palacsinta is a thin Hungarian pancake (crepe-like pancake), an all-time kids’ favorite. After moving to NYC, I worked with kids for years and introduced palacsinta to all. Great success! I still receive messages from some with a photo of a stack of freckled beauties. “It is palacsinta-day!” Getting these reminders is always heartwarming. ❤️

Thinking about the way we grew up, there were a lot of things I now see as real treasures. Palacsinta is one of them. Dessert for main course? Yes, please! We usually rolled them with home-made apricot or strawberry jam, sweet cheese filling, cocoa powder, cinnamon sugar or lemon juice with sugar, and had them for lunch or dinner. Or for an afternoon snack, shared with all the kids in the neighborhood.

The sweet taste of friendship.

Growing up in the village, I remember being out all the time, playing in one of us’ backyard, garden, or out on our street. One summer afternoon, my Mom decided to make palacsinta. The news spread like wildfire. Soon all the kids who were out playing lined up at our back door. It led to the kitchen, where Mom was preparing the batter and taking orders. We told her the number of pancakes and picked our fillings. Then we were off again, back to our games, waiting for the sweet signal.
We only know the following part of the story from Dad. He was in the kitchen with Mom. A few minutes after we put in our orders and cleared, he saw that the boy, who lived across the street, reappeared at the backdoor. He looked a bit worried. After a few seconds of hesitation, he approached my Mom:

“Excuse me, Ms. Baba, can I still change my order, please? I know I said two, but I think I would like three palacsintas.”

Growing up in the village, I also remember thinking that what this boy did was brave. Palacsinta gave him courage. ☺


These pancakes are so good; you will be back for more!


Breaking the Hungarian pancake tradition.

I never thought of rolling these pancakes with anything other than sweet. Perhaps, it was nostalgia. But as it turns out, they are delicious with grown-up fillings as well. Ironically, I learned this from a kid. No need to change the batter; although it is slightly sweet, the savory fillings will still work great with it. Use any combination of ham, cheese, sautéed mushrooms, sautéed or fresh spinach, smoked salmon, and the list goes on! You can even use leftovers. If your leftovers are too bulky, instead of rolling, fold the palacsinta into half and then into quarter.

Sweet or savory, they are a perfect lunch, snack, or dinner. I think the only reason for not having palacsinta for breakfast is that it takes some time to make enough—three rounds of hide-and-seek, two rounds of tag, and one round of hopscotch, to be exact.


Ingredients

For the batter:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup Flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup carbonated water
  • oil, for cooking pancakes

For the filling:

  • jam
  • cocoa powder with sugar
  • cinnamon sugar
  • freshly squeezed lemon juice with sugar

Cook’s notes

Farmer cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta are also common fillings. Mix the cheese of choice to taste with sugar, lemon zest, raisin.

Preparation

  1. Mix milk, eggs, flour, sugar, salt, and carbonated water in a blender. Let the dough rest in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Heat an 8-inch frying pan. When the pan is hot, add 1/4 teaspoon of the oil and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.
  3. Pour a ladle of batter into the pan and gently tip and twist the pan so that the batter covers the entire bottom of the pan. When the top of the batter bubbles, turn the pancake over and cook for 4 or 5 seconds longer. Remove the pancake. Continue until the batter is all cooked; add oil before cooking each pancake.
  4. Serve by spreading raspberry jam, cocoa mix, or your favorite filling and roll up the pancakes.
  5. When ready, call the kids.

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