Every Saturday that I wake up at my grandma’s house, I can depend on one thing: there will be hotcakes. When my brother and I were kids spending summer vacation with my grandparents, she would even deliver them to us by spatula (one at a time, hot from the pan) as we sat watching cartoons in the TV room.
As a teenager, I would wake up at noon and the cast-iron pan would still be waiting on the stove, with a pitcher of batter beside it. And as a college student, I could roll out of bed around 1 pm and yet, I could always count on hotcakes.
Even now, as a married 33-year-old woman, not much has changed. Well, I get up much earlier and actually sit at the table instead of the couch, but the idea is still the same.
The pitcher of batter is still waiting by the stove and my grandmother will be standing beside it, waiting for the oil to get hot. Then she’ll drizzle in the batter and slowly move the pan so that it spreads out flat. I usually hover beside her while she makes the first one — just like I used to as a kid when we would find shapes and animals in almost every hotcake.
Then she’ll wave me over to the table, where she’ll serve me one hotcake at a time, right from the pan, each one balanced precariously on the spatula.
If you’re curious about the idea of the hotcake, thinking it looks very different from the pancakes you might know and love, you’re right. They are very different. Swedish hotcakes are like a cross between a crepe and a pancake. They are fairly thin, which is why they seem to taste best rolled up with syrup or jam inside, but they are not at all delicate.
Oh no, they are far removed from their French cousins. Where crepes are often light in color and texture, these babies are fried in oil so that the edges are super crispy, crunching with every bite (this is by far my favorite part of the hotcake!). The centers are soft and melty. There is no way you could convince yourself that these are not terrible for you.
Not only are they are absolutely one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, they are also undoubtedly my fondest food memory. Since nothing can beat my 90-plus-year-old grandma (who would smack me if she knew I put her age in this post) making these for me, I can only hope that I get to enjoy her Saturday hotcakes for as long as possible and perhaps continue the tradition myself. I don’t have children, but I have a feeling these would be a hit with my six nieces and nephews.
My grandma’s recipe (feeds around four people, give or take):
- 3 Cups flour
- 6 tsp Baking powder
- 6 TBS Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 Egg, Beaten
- Milk (enough for right consistency, plan on using a couple of cups)
Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the wet. Add enough milk to make it loose — this can take some time to figure out, but it’s fairly forgiving. You don’t want the batter too thick, it’s important that it spreads out in the pan. My grandma also adds a splash of oil or melted butter to her batter.
Then, using a cast-iron pan, heat up vegetable oil until hot. Add a 1/8-1/4 cup of batter and tilt pan until the mixture won’t spread anymore. Wait until you see bubbles and until one side is golden brown. Flip the hotcake and cook the other side for maybe a minute or so.
Serve with butter, jam (I love homemade raspberry jam the best!) and/or maple syrup.