German Pancakes – Where’s the Recipe?

My mom was a Dressel (or Dressler). She used to make these pancakes that were a foot across that we all loved. How did she do it without tearing them? I’ve made pancakes, sure, but small ones, at the most five or six inches across. Was there a special recipe? Maybe. But it never showed up in her cookbooks or recipe cards after her death.

I’ve gone to German restaurants, Dutch restaurants (not yet Amish restaurants) but I’ve had no luck. Sure, they have lots of nice pancakes but not those foot diameter ones mom made. Most of the time when I say I used to add jam and peanut butter or honey and peanut butter, and then roll them up and cut them, waiters bring me crepes sort of pancakes. No, no, no. Nein, nein, nein. Mom’s were thick – crepes are paper thin. Solid, an eighth of an inch thick or a bit more, they could handle heavy fillings before being rolled. Crepes cannot handle peanut butter and bananas – mom’s could.

In my mind’s eye, there she is, standing over a hot stove, cast iron frying pan on the element, flipper in one hand, batter in a bowl nearby, frying these wonders up. Sometimes, to our delight, she’d add big chunks of chopped apple – of course, these babies could handle whole orchards of apples and laugh. Pancake ready, she’d scoop it out of the pan and place it on a plate and put it in the oven to keep warm.Pour more batter liberally into the pan and cook another. They never stuck and she had no PAM in those days. How was this accomplished? I don’t know.

But maybe someone out there in the big wide world knows. Maybe the Amish of Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania know. Or the Amish of Ontario. Maybe you know. I’d love to find a restaurant that cooked these or a recipe that told me how to mix the batter and get the thickness and flip them without ruining them. This site often has recipes, doesn’t it? Well, then, this blog is my contribution – except I don’t have the recipe. You have to find it and post it.

I only know it must exist somewhere because I’m sure mom learned it from her mom and her mom was born in “the old Country” – she carried a Swiss passport, there’s a town in Switzerland named Pura, yet Madegeburg in Germany figures into her story too, as do Alsace and Lorraine. So who knows where the recipe originated?  With Charlemagne? Martin Luther? Bach? The Swiss Brethren? Jacob Amman?

Who knows? Wer weib?

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2 Responses to “German Pancakes – Where’s the Recipe?”

  1. You already have the answer. I made these all the time when the kids were home. It is not the recipe, it IS your mom’s well-seasoned cast iron pan. It’s the only thing that works: a good 12-inch cast iron, well-seasoned pan. Oh, and a dollop of butter, NOT margerine or oil, in the pan just before you pour in the batter.


    murray Reply:

    OK, I’ll try it with our cast iron pan! Thanks!


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