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A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter, and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side. Depending on the region, pancakes may be served at any time, with a variety of toppings or fillings including jam, chocolate chips, fruit, syrup or meat.
Archaeological evidence suggests that varieties of pancakes are probably the earliest and most widespread types of cereal food eaten in prehistoric societies whereby dry carbohydrate-rich seed flours mixed with the available protein-rich liquids, usually milk and eggs, were baked on hot stones or in shallow earthenware pots over an open fire to form a nutritious and highly palatable foodstuff.
In the medieval and modern Christian period, especially in Britain, pancakes were made to use up store items prior to the period of Lent fasting beginning on Shrovetide.
The pancake’s shape and structure varies worldwide. There are numerous variations of them throughout Europe. In Germany, pancakes can be made from potatoes. A crêpe is a Breton variety of thin pancake cooked on one or both sides in a special crepe pan to achieve a network of fine bubbles often compared to lace – a savory variety made from buckwheat is usually known as a galette.
2 Regional varieties
2.3 The Netherlands
2.4 Northern Europe
2.5 East-Central and Eastern Europe
2.6 United Kingdom
2.7 North America
3 Pancake restaurant chains
4 Pancake Day
5 See also
6.2 Further reading
[*]7 External links
French crêpes, popular in France, Canada, and Brazil (where they may be called pancakes or crêpes) are made from flour, milk, and eggs. They are thin and are usually served with a large amount of sweet or savory filling, ranging from fruit or ice cream, to seafood (in Brazil, most usually ground meat).
A Breton galette is a large thin pancake made of buckwheat flour, mostly associated with the regions of Normandy and Brittany in France. It is often cooked on one side only.
Pannenkoek with bacon and Gouda cheese
German pancakes are called Pfannkuchen (Pfanne and Kuchen meaning ‘pan’ and ‘cake’). In some regions (Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxonia) pancakes are called Eierkuchen, as the term Pfannkuchen refers to Berliners there. In Swabia sliced pancake strips (Flädle) are often served in soup.
Kaiserschmarrn is a light, caramelized pancake that is split into pieces, filled with fruits and/or nuts, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with a fruit sauce. It is believed that it was first prepared for Kaiser Franz Joseph I of Austria. It is popular in the former Austria-Hungary and Bavaria.
 The Netherlands
In the Netherlands, pancakes are called pannenkoeken and eaten at dinnertime. Pancake restaurants are popular at family restaurants and serve many varieties of sweet, savory, and stuffed pancakes. Pannenkoeken are slightly thicker than crêpes and usually quite large (12" or more) in diameter. The batter is egg-based and the fillings can include sliced apples, cheese, ham, bacon, candied ginger and many other ingredients — alone or in combination — as well as “stroop” (molasses), a thick sugar syrup. One classical Dutch filling is a combination of bacon and stroop.
Poffertjes are another Dutch pancake-type dish. They resemble American pancakes somewhat, but are sweeter, and much smaller. The require a specially dimpled pan, preferably in copper. The technique used also varies; they are flipped repeatedly before a side is completely done, in order to attain a softer interior.
 Northern Europe
Scandinavian pancakes are similar to the French crêpes. In some of the scandinavian countries they are served with jam as a dessert with a variety of savory fillings. Traditional Swedish variations can be exotic. Beside the usual thin pancakes, called pannkakor, which resembles the French crêpes and, often served with whipped cream and jam, are eaten for lunch on Thursdays with pea soup, the Swedish cuisine has plättar which resemble tiny English pancakes, and are fried several at a time in a special pan. Others resemble German pancakes but include fried pork in the batter; these are baked in the oven. Potato pancakes called raggmunk contain shredded raw potato, and may contain other vegetables (sometimes the pancake batter is omitted, producing rårakor). Raggmunk and rårakor are traditionally eaten with pork rinds and lingonberry jam. A special Swedish pancake is saffron pancake from Gotland, made with saffron and rice, baked in the oven. The Norwegian variety is commonly eaten for dinner, traditionally with different sorts of jams or sugar. It is common to add lemon juice to the sugar for extra taste. The pancakes are often served after a soup. The Icelandic pancake is very similar to a traditional Scandinavian one but is served differently. The pancakes are usually a bit browner than the traditional Swedish one and rolled up in usually sugar or cream. Another special ``Swedish pancake´´ is the äggakaka (eggcake), also called skånsk äggakaka (scanian eggcake),it is almost like an ordinary Swedish pancake but it is a lot thicker and also a lot more difficult to make due to the risk of burning it. It is made in a frying pan and is about 1½ to 2 inches thick and is served with lingonberries and bacon.
Finnish pancakes greatly resemble “Plättar” and are called “Lettu”, “Lätty”, “Räiskäle” or “Ohukainen”. In Finland pancakes are usually eaten as dessert with whipped cream and/or pancake-jam, sugar or vanilla ice-cream. In Finnish, “Lettu” and “Pannukakku” (literally “Pancake”) have different meanings, the latter having structurally closer resemblance to hotcake, and baked in an oven instead of using a frying pan.
 East-Central and Eastern Europe
Palacinky, Slovak pancakes
Home-made naleśniki filled with sweet white cheese (Poland)
In Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia pancakes are called palatschinke, palačinka, and palacinka, respectively (plurals palatschinken, palačinky, palacinky). In Romania they are called clătită (plural clătite). In countries of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Bosnia) they are called palačinka (plural palačinke). In these languages, the word derives from Latin placenta, meaning cake. These pancakes are thin and filled with apricot, plum, lingonberry, strawberry or apple jam, chocolate sauce or hazelnut spread. Kaiserschmarrn is an Austrian pancake including raisins, almonds, apple jam or small pieces of apple, split into pieces and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
In Hungary, pancakes called palacsinta (also derived from Latin placenta) are made from flour, milk or soda water, sugar and eggs. Sweet wine is added to the batter. The filling is usually jam, sugared and ground walnuts or poppy seeds, sugared cottage cheese, sugared cocoa or cinnamon powder, but – especially in hortobágyi palacsinta – meat and mushroom fillings are also used. Gundel palacsinta is an Hungarian pancake, stuffed with walnuts, zest, raisins and rum, served in chocolate sauce. The dish is often flambéed. Hungarian pancakes are served as a main dish or as a dessert.
In Poland, thin crêpe-style pancakes are called naleśniki (pronounced naleshniki). Like any crêpe or blintz, they can be served with a variety of savory or sweet fillings as a main dish or a dessert. Sweet fillings include fresh fruits (e.g. bilberries), jams, and soft white cheese with sugar. Savory fillings include fried vegetables, fried chicken, minced meat, and a variety of added ingredients such as potatoes, mushrooms, cabbage, or ham. The Polish pancake was adopted by the Russian and the Ukrainian cuisines, which call them nalesniki.
In Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, pancakes may be breakfast food, appetizer, main course, or even dessert. Blintzes (Russian: блинчики blinchiki) are thin crepes made without yeast. Blini (Russian: блины) are thicker pancakes made from wheat or buckwheat flour, butter, eggs, and milk, with yeast added to the batter. Blini cooking has a long history in Russia, dating back to pagan traditions and feasts, which are reflected in today’s “pancake week” celebrated in the winter before the Great Lent. Small thick pancakes made from yogurt or buttermilk based batter (without yeast) are called oladyi (оладьи) (diminutive: oladushki оладушки, further abbreviated as ladushki ладушки).
 United Kingdom
Scottish pancake and fruit crumpet