The preservation of western cultural and the American Cowboy. Sharing the history of the early trail drives, the Chuck Wagon and those who pioneered untamed land. The content is for educational and entertainment purposes. Cowboys and Chuck Wagon Cooking reviews cooking techniques, products and western gear which today is part of western life style. We hope you will enjoy your visit and look forward to comments, recipes and shared heritage. Thank you for your visit. Hope you follow us along the trail of news, stories and the Cowboy way.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Waffles, Crepes, Pancakes and Hoe-Cakes

There are many different foods which are synonymous. The similar style making the food item yet changing the method use to cook the item, or perhaps changing one of more particular ingredients. This is certainly true with Waffles, Crepes, Pancakes and Hoe-Cakes.

Waffles once made by the ancient Greeks called Obleios made these flat cakes cooked between two hot metal plates. This method of cooking continued through the middle ages and served flat or rolled into coronets. A craftsman during the 13th century came up with an idea to forge a honeycomb pattern as a cookie plate.  This design is still use today with modern waffle cooking.

Early American Pilgrims brought the waffle recipe and plates to the new world from Holland arriving in 1620. By the later 18th century, Waffles became so popular, they were served at parties. The waffle became a food vendors would sale on the street served with molasses or syrup.

Through the early 1900's waffles were made poring batter on one plate and closing a second plate over the other sealing the mixture.  As cast iron cookware developed, many manufactures made waffle makers using different designs. Those use over open fires had long handles. However, hearth cooking designs added a bail handle to be hung eventually leading to a stove ring of different heights to place on top early wood burning stoves. The honeycomb pattern had been in a square shape that later included outer shapes of a honeycomb circle with pie cut quarters.  Even some heart and stars shapes. 

The waffle iron design even lead to a very flat cookie like sharped that would be rolled over a cone while hot to serve ice cream. This came about when a vendor at the St Louis Worlds fair serving waffles in 1904 was stationed next to an ice cream vendor. When the Ice cream vendor complained of running out of dishes to serve the ice cream, Ernest Hamwi took his waffle and rolled it into the conical shaped cone that later he patten. The Cookware for making waffles slightly changed with electricity introducing the plates as heating elements no longer requiring the use of a stove. 

However, 1953 introduce the frozen Waffle by Frank Dorsa which were marketed in supermarkets as Eggo Waffles. The 1964 World's Fair brought another introduction making a waffle using yeast and being thicker called the Belgian Waffle. Today, waffles remain as popular as their first introduction. Commonly eaten as a breakfast food in the USA but enjoyed for other meals too. The sensation of Waffle has vendors selling them at carnivals, fairs and if your every in Texas, don't be surprise to see the shape take on the form of Lone Star State.

Crepes eaten world wide originally come from Brittany area of France. Much like the Galettes which is made using buckwheat flour, Crepes used white flour which became affordable during the turn of the 20th century. However, both are traditional products from Brittany. An area of Celtic origin located in the west of France. Buckwheat was introduce to France during the 12th century from the middle east.  Galettes during ancient times were made using oats, wheat, rye or barley. They also could be sweeten using honey. Although, today the galette is a flat puffy-pasty. Filling of both crepes and galettes vary. Fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken are amongst the many foods which these flat cakes housed within as they roll in  the delicious taste.

Crepe Suzette was created by accident, according to the autobiography of Henri Carpentier, "Life a la Henri". In his book Henri states he was working as an assist chef serving the Prince of Wales. "It was quite by accident as I worked in front of a chafing dish that the cordials caught fire. I thought It was ruined. The Prince and his friends were waiting. How could I begin all over? I tasted it. It was, I thought, the most delicious melody of sweet flavors I had ever tasted. I still think so. That accident of the flame was precisely what was needed to bring all those various instruments into one harmony of taste. He asked me the name of that which he had eaten with so much relish. I told him it was to be called Crepes Princesse. He recognized that the pancake controlled the gender and that this was a compliment designed for him; but he protested with mock ferocity that there was a lady present. She was alert and rose to her feet and holding her little skirt wide with her hands she made him a curtsey. ‘Will you,’ said His Majesty, ‘change Crepes Princesse to Crepes Suzette?’  However, this has had controversy allegedly named after  French actress Suzette (for Suzanne) Reichenberg (1853-1924).

Pancakes can be traced back to ancient Rome. Much like a flat bread, the pancake "Alita Dolcia" (Latin for "another sweet") and these ancient recipes are also thought to be the relatives of waffles, cakes, muffins, fritters, spoonbread and doughnuts. Pancakes, as eaten in America today, were "invented" in Medieval Europe.  "One certain knight, that swore by his honor they were good pancakes, and wore by his honor the mustard was naught. Now I'll stand to it, the pancakes were naught, and the mustard was good, and yet was not the knight forsworn." - William Shakespeare.

Pancakes also called Flap Jacks is an English term meaning turning (Flap) or flip over and John Taylor, English poet, Jack-a-lent, 1620. An applejack also known as an apple turnover. The term Flapjacks in the New World  is of New England origin. While Pancakes have been made with many different ingredients, flour and water mix is the traditional as we served them today. Other cakes include potato cakes adding potatoes instead of flour or corn meal used making Corn cakes.  The settlers who arrived in the new world found native Indians making a flat cake using corn meal introducing corn to the early white settlers. Which leads to Jonny Cakes, Johnny cake, journey cakes or hoe cakes. 
In Sweden, pancakes are traditional Thursday winter's night dessert, following pea soup. This hearty combination has been enjoyed since the Middle Ages:

Pizzelle. A large round cookie made from a rich batter of eggs, sugar, butter, flour, and vanilla, baked on a specially designed pizzelle iron, which looks like a waffle iron. The intricately carved surfaces of the pizzelle iron imprint designs onto the cookie as it cooks. Pizzelle become crisp as they cool. While still warm, they can be rolled into a cone shape, then filled with whipped cream when cool...The Scandinavian version of pizzelle is krum kake,  made on a similar iron that has the traditional engraved scroll designs."

HOE CAKES   is a corn meal flat bread food of New America. Found along the Atlantic coast line into the Gulf of Mexico, this staple food called Jonny cakes in the northern states, though referred to as Hoe Cakes in the south. Made just as modern pan cakes but using cornmeal of yellow or white likely derived it's southern name from being cooking on the farm implement used by early negro cotton pickers as they worked the fields. The flat surface steel hoe could be removed from the wooden handle and placed into a fire much as a griddle. Thrust getting the term Hoe. Hoe cakes are very popular in the West indies, Jamaica, Bermuda as amongst the southern United States.

Check out this recipe you can cook indoors or out.

DUTCH BABY photo below:

I thought going Dutch meant each of us were picking up our own restaurant bill but with this treat, I have discovered differently. The Dutch Babies is another type of pancake yet cooked in the oven rather than stove top. It sometimes is called a German pancake, a Bismarck, or a Dutch puff.  This sweet breakfast dish is similar to Yorkshire pudding and derived from the German Apfelpfannkuchen.   Made from eggs, flour and milk mixed together,  normally it is seasoned with vanilla,  cinnamon and powder sugar.  Bake in a metal pan, "we use cast iron" the pancake will rise while cooking but collapse once removed from the oven. Do worry, that's part of the technique as the cavity is filled with fruit toppings, melted butter, and syrups along with whip cream. 

The Dutch Baby was originally served as three small Dutch babies served with powdered sugar and fresh squeezed lemon juice but eventually the "Big Dutch Baby" was invented and gained popularity. The Big Dutch Baby is usually what is referred to when reading about Dutch Babies.

It is thought by some that the "Dutch" moniker refers to the group of German-American immigrants known as the Pennsylvania Dutch, where "Dutch" is a corruption of the German autonym "deutsch."  Although, the first notes on this dish only date back to the 1950's, many similar style pancakes have been made centuries ago. The  Dutch baby and a similar pancake known as the Baby Apple, which contains apple slices embedded in the pancake.

Dutch Baby cooking in cast iron skillet
When you first remove the pancake from the oven, it immediately begins to fall in the center.  Let sit for about two minutes and slide the pancake on a large serving plate. It will retain the short side wall and the center is easily filled with tasty fruits or fillings of your choice. We selected blue berries and strawberries, dash a touch of lemon juice, powder sugar, cinnamon and topped with whip cream.  While this surely was fancier than the Cowboys on the trail drive had, it does make for wonderful ranch breakfast.   

Dutch Baby filled with fruit
Once filled with your selection for fillings, slice like serving pie or pizza.  This is sincerely and enjoyable dish that could also finish as a dessert for a gourmet meal. 


1 comment:

  1. Have been searching for years for a recipe that my deceased aunt from N. C made when I was a teenager. She called it flapjacks, it was filled with an apple mixture which was delicious. It was a soft dough that formed a half moon safe when folded over and sealed. She fried it in an cast iron frying pan. When they were done the flapjack was still very soft similar to the texture of pancake, just a fizz stiffer. I cannot find the dough recipe anywhere. They are always for crispy fried hand pies. Not what I want. I can make the filling just not the dough, can anyone help me with this recipe. Please respond to Thank you ever so much, Julie