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The Exceptions to Pancakes

November 20, 2011

There is a lot I don’t know about you. Every now and again, I’ll meet a lurker, and I LOVE it. I do really wish more of you would speak up, but I understand. Comments take time. I know, because I obsess over even short pithy comments I write on other blogs.

Who am I kidding, none of my comments are short or pithy.

But surely there are some people here who only read the FLB and do not follow my shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. And that’s fine. There may even be those among you who don’t know when to visit All Over Albany to catch my posts on the best local things to eat in the region. I only mention this because last Tuesday, AOA published a piece I wrote on the pancakes at the Jonesville Store.

Yes. I recommended pancakes. Yes, less than a month after claiming that I never order them out at restaurants. And do you know why? Because Kerosena taunted me in my own comments section. Well that, and they were delicious.

But are they really pancakes?

They are certainly not crepes. I have a very firm definition of crepe too, and good crepes are almost impossibly thin with a lacy edge. Oddly, you know what the amazing pancakes at the Jonesville Store reminded me of most?


No, hear me out. One of my favorite things to get at IHOP as a kid were the international-style pancakes. It’s been well over a decade since I last stepped foot into this establishment, but perhaps the time is nigh for another visit.

The German pancakes were always my favorite. These thinner, richer cousins to the traditional buttermilk variety, were drenched in butter and fresh lemon juice, sweetened only with powdered sugar. And even in the misty eyed innocence of youth, I still preferred this to the sticky dispensers of imitation flavored syrups available at every table.

Lemon, butter and powdered sugar are a powerful trinity.

Part of me really wanted to give the Jonesville Store pancakes this “German” treatment. But dammit, they come with real New York maple syrup on the side, and letting that precious golden nectar go to waste is a crime.

But it does also remind me of another pancake that’s not exactly a pancake: The Dutch Baby.

What an awful name for a delicious, if gigantic, variation of the pancake. It’s kind of amazing that I’ve never written about these. Really, it was ADS who would occasionally make them. But I may have to bust this out for my kids one of these days. Because nothing else is as good a vehicle for butter, lemon and powdered sugar than this bastardized pancake.

Mostly because if you make it right, it’s not a pancake, it’s a bowl. And if you think a thin crepe is good, slathered with butter and spritzed with citrus, this is better because the butter doesn’t have anywhere to go. It’s all contained within, and it challenges you to melt more and more butterfat in its hot cavity.

The “pancake” is made in the oven using a cast iron skillet, and it’s center dramatically puffs up while cooking, only to later collapse. This is what forms the melted butter receptacle. If you want to try and make one yourself, there are plenty of recipes online including this one from Orangette.

I may very well need to make one of these in the near future. I’ve got some happy regional eggs, Meyer lemons, and some organic butter.

Dutch Babies have their own name. Crepes are their own thing. Maybe the Jonesville Store variation has a widely accepted name too. Perhaps its griddle cakes? Or even New England-stye griddle cakes. I just don’t know.

What I do know is that when readers speak, I listen. I owe a great big thanks to Kerosena for showing me the light, and clearing a path between me and these delicious pancakes in Clifton Park. So who else is sitting on something delicious they aren’t sharing?

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ellen Whitby permalink
    November 21, 2011 2:53 am

    How about Nutella? Would you put that on a pancake/dutch baby/crepe without cringing? I just might try it.

    Speaking of Indian food, I was just at LaZeez on Central Ave in Albany. I was very impressed. Have you been there? If Indian were my favorite, I might go for a birthday lunch (or take someone who was having a birthday).

  2. Kerosena permalink
    November 25, 2011 9:49 pm

    Awww, Daniel, I didn’t mean it as a taunt. And I’m genuinely pleased that you tried the magical pancakes and enjoyed them. I loved reading the AOA post!

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, surrounded by loved ones and delicious food!

  3. Cindy permalink
    December 9, 2011 2:15 am

    Oh Daniel! Wish I had known you made the pilgrimage up the Northway to Exit 10 and the Jonesville Store – I would have joined you! I live just one mile down the road from it. My husband and I LOVE to treat ourselves to the occasional breakfast or lunch there – I’m the one who can be heard audibly sighing and moaning with every bite. It really is a special place. I hope you come back for some of their creative paninis or dinner specials – they are so good, and so worth it.

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