A Recipe Story: Platta by Any Other Name…

When I first wrote a Recipe Story on these yummy, easy pancakes and had it published on what was then ‘The Dabbling Mum’ website (no longer in existence) I could not for the life of me find out more about them. They were called “platta” by my German step-grandmother, via my mom’s stories, aka “Thin Pancakes.” So I assumed the pancakes were GERMAN. German grandmother…German pancakes…right?

Well, not quite. There was no “platta” in German, but “platte” seems to mean “plate.” And in Low German, “platt” means “flat.” And they are flat–no leavening in these. Fatter than a crepe and richer in taste, but thinner and lighter than a regular American pancake. I am trying not to drool right now, they are that good.

Anyway. A writer’s need to research again drove me to try the word ‘platta’ one more time…just now. And guess what?? I found it! All hail the internet.

Platta is a SWEDISH thin pancake. Say what? Well…I guess Germany is just a hop across the water from Sweden. Maybe my grandmother got it from another immigrant. Somewhat edited, here is that Recipe Story:

Shortly after my mother’s birth in 1929, her very young (17 year old) mother passed away.

A few years later, my grandfather remarried a sweet woman of German descent

Grma Leona Heiden House In Yorba Linda

Gma Leona, Daughter of the Platta Lady

who promptly adopted my mom as her own—and it was from her mother, our step great-grandmother, that this recipe came. Great-Grandma Heiden was off-the-boat German (I remember her being rather hard to understand with that accent) and Platta was what she called these pancakes.

GreatGmaHeiden

The Platta Lady 

Though I didn’t know it as a child, they are much like crepes…And oh, how we loved them—especially my sister and I.

From the age I could sit on a chair by myself, I remember my mom standing over her faithful black cast iron skillet at a stove, cooking Thin Pancakes. castironThey were a staple of weekend breakfasts that I simply took for granted, like Palisade peaches or my mother’s love. She’d shovel a somewhat wrinkled-looking stack (more a “pile”) of thin, soft, sweet crepe-like concoctions on a plate which we topped with butter and homemade peach jam. If the peach jam was gone, we sprinkled them with sugar. This was indeed Breakfast Heaven. 

At least one of our weekend breakfasts—or whenever we could cajole mom into making them— included our Platta. As a child I assumed everyone ate them. I was shocked when I found out it was special tradition of our family…so much so that at one of my wedding showers, mom gave me a cast-iron skillet.

“Now you’ll be able to make Thin Pancakes,” she said with a smile. I knew how to cook about four things, not being domestically-inspired at this phase of my life. Though I didn’t even know how to cook a roast (yet), I knew this would be one tradition I had to keep alive. It took a few tries to figure out how to make a decent platta; my first few attempts were no more than sticky piles of near-inedible batter. 

Shirley about 1970 at CA beach

My mom, in her sassy pancake-making days. Here at her fav place-CA on the beach in the 70’s. 

 

Eventually, I put my own stamp on Platta, and experimented a bit. I added one more spoonful or so of flour.  I learned how to cook and flip one to keep it intact–that ‘wait ’til bubbles form on top’ secret with cooking pancakes. I gently filled and folded them into a nice-looking plate worthy of a restaurant.

Ah-ha! I had the perfect platta, based on Mom’s old recipe.

We had different ways of eating these Thin Pancakes. My dad liked powdered or regular sugar and butter on his, as did my brother. My sister prefers hers the same way I do, with various (peach still the favorite) fruit preserves and butter. Making them for my children now, they like maple syrup instead of preserves or jam – which in my opinion is much like the sacrilege of putting ketchup on  steak—much to my kids’ amusement.Peachjam posterz

Plattas are tender, like young hearts they need a bit of loving, vigilant watching, and careful handling to come out right, and you must let them sizzle a bit around the edges to make sure they’re strong enough to hold together.

Mom is gone now, but her adopted German-Dutch heritage – and her Platta – lives on in (the stomachs of) my children and me. Every now and then, they beg me for these sweet, tender pancakes for breakfast, especially on a special occasion—a birthday morning or weekend, or just anytime they want something extra-special.

—————–

As an empty-nester with a husband who doesn’t like a sweet breakfast, I make them for myself fairly often. I’ve whittled the recipe down to “Platta for One” (see below the main recipe) The fillings and toppings still vary. Greek yogurt inside with a dollop of fresh fruit or preserves. A cream cheese-yogurt with a warm compote of blueberries or blackberries.

And best of all, Palisade peaches in season–especially those giant, juicy Red Havens at the start of peach season.

Oh, YEAH. Peachesinbowl vibrant color_edited-2

THIN PANCAKES (PLATTA) RECIPE   (Serves 3 to 4 with approx. 3 pancakes each) 

3 eggs

6-7 generous TB unbleached white flour*

1 ¼ c. milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 t. sugar/stevia

Dash of salt

Butter, jam, syrup for topping

While mixing the batter, heat a twelve or eight inch skillet on medium to med-high heat.

BATTER

  1. Use a blender to blend eggs until they appear thicker and have a lemony-color.
  2. While the blender runs on slow, add flour, a tablespoon at a time, until the batter is semi-thick like whip cream.
  3. Add milk, vanilla, sugar, and dash of salt and then blend, on high, until frothy.
  4.  Add 1 tsp. butter or oil to skillet and melt to sizzling.
  5. Add enough batter to cover the bottom of skillet to an 1/8” depth.
  6.  Cook pancake until bubbles form in center and sides are nearly solid. Lift carefully and turn to other side; cook until light golden brown.
  7.  Serve hot with toppings as desired.\

[I promise to update with a photo as soon as I make some…likely tomorrow]

*Hungarian “High Altitude” Flour for above 7000ft*

…………….

*SPECIAL RECIPE – “PLATTA FOR ONE”*

Since I’ve been on a reduced calorie eating plan I’ve had to adjust my Platta rations severely. This version is ONLY 139 calories (toppings not included).

First, start heating a small NOT-STICK skillet on med-to medium-high heat while you mix the batter (which takes less than a minute.)

Batter:

  • 1 large Omega-6 egg, beaten in blender ‘til thick

While blender is running (same as main recipe) add:

  • 3 heaping tsp Unbleached Flour (wheat or spelt), one at a time (we’re at 7000. ft so I use Hungarian High Altitude Unbleached Flour)

    flour

    Best kept secret of mtn cooks

  • Add a dash of salt, granulated stevia (not liquid) and  a few drops of pure vanilla extract. Blend for about 30 secs to a minute until smooth and thick – do not over-blend.

Spray the skillet & add the bit of butter, and let it sizzle. Immediately pour-in enough of the batter to cover the bottom of the skillet, plus a bit more (not too thin a layer). Cook as above in #7 instructions – bubbles form and edges start to crisp a little.

To serve: Mix a generous 1-2 TB of Fage Greek Yogurt* (Plain, Zero % Fat) with a little stevia. Spoon into center of a cooked pancake, add fresh fruit and fold over; repeat with two other pancakes (approx.) until batter is used up. Top with more fresh plain fruit and enjoy!

*Use Fage yogurt. Seriously, this stuff is like AMBROSIA—so creamy, rich-tasting and tangy (with th stevia it becomes close to clotted cream, no kidding) – plus it’s VERY high in protein, which you need when ingesting the carbs-galore in these pancakes! Better than whipped cream, which is saying a lot for me as I love any kind of cream.

fage

Oh, my. Sigh.

Calories = 139 per serving (from myfitnesspal.com)

Protein = 8 g 

Palisade Peaches and Wine

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “A Recipe Story: Platta by Any Other Name…

  1. We also had these as children with a recipe handed down from my Swedish grandmother and made in a special cast iron platta pan for silver dollar size pancakes. We ate them with butter, lemon juice and sugar. Yumm. I think I need to make some now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s