Monday, June 4, 2012

Sour Milk Griddle-Cakes and the Great Maple Syrup Contraversy

    We had two of our grandchildren spend the night on Saturday.  When I fixed breakfast for them on Sunday morning. Natalie chose to have pancakes.  I usually just use a mix, but there wasn't enough left in the bag.  I looked in my Fannie Farmer cookbook for a good pancake recipe and settled on Sour Milk Griddle-Cakes on page 77.  I had buttermilk on hand as I've been using it in my continuing quest for the perfect biscuit.  The recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of flour, 2 cups of sour milk (i.e. buttermilk), 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  The batter turned out very thick, about half way between what I normally do for pancakes and biscuit dough.  Sometime I will have to try making the griddle-cakes exactly according to the recipe, but I didn't want to end up with something too different from what the kids  were used to eating. Therefore, I added a bit more buttermilk the thin out the batter.  I used my biscuit flour rather than all-purpose flour.  They turned out very well. Conner and Natalie each ate two.  I made up some syrup using sugar, water, and maple flavoring as some of the grandchildren have a strong preference for syrup on their pancakes.  When I asked the kids which they wanted, Conner shouted out "Honey!"  It made me feel proud.

    Linda thought the pancakes turned out well too, but questioned me on how I made the syrup. Unfortunately, Linda is not a big honey fan.  I told her that I had brought two cups of water to a boil, added two cups of sugar, and when he sugar was dissolved added about a teaspoon of maple flavoring.  She then told me how to make maple syrup the way she had been taught by her mother.  Heat one cup of water, but don't let it come to a boil.  Add two cups of sugar, stir until dissolved and add the maple flavoring. Linda had been taught by her mother that if the water came to a boil they syrup would later crystalize. Apparently she thought my syrup was a bit thin. She explained to me that this is how she had been taught by her mother and it was how her grandmother and great grandmother had made the syrup.  It was also the way she had made the syrup all the years that our kids were growing up.  I prefer to  have honey on my pancakes and had never paid much attention to the making of the syrup.  However, in the future my syrup efforts will conform to the traditional family recipe.

    Just out of curiosity I looked in the Fannie Farmer cookbook to see if it had any instructions regarding maple syrup, real or adulterated.  To my surprise there was no mention of it other than as an ingredient.  It is possible that artificial maple flavoring didn't exist in 1896, when Fannie Farmer's Boston Cooking-School Cookbook was first published.  It is also possible that since she was from New England the concept of artificially flavored maple syrup might have been high heresy.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a delicious morning. I bet if you use sour milk next time, you won't have any consistency problems. Buttermilk is a lot thicker than sour milk. And thanks for documenting Linda's syrup recipe. I'll be adding it to the list of family recipes in my repertoire. I'm thinking maybe we need to create a family cookbook. But you need to perfect your biscuit recipe first. Oh, and we've been having fun with your cake flour. It makes perfect crepes and is really great for breading meat. Thanks!