Pancakes are very popular in Central and Eastern Europe, packed with sweet or savory fillings. The pancake batter is made without milk so that the filling can contain meat, if desired. The potato and mushroom filling here is typical, but is only an example. Leftovers of almost any kind can be chopped and used to fill the pancakes; for instance, use chopped spinach, cooked potato moistened with a little gravy or white sauce, and so on. If the filling is meat, or if the pancakes are to be eaten at a meat meal, substitute margarine or shortening for the butter in the batter.
serves 6 to 8
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
5 large potatoes, peeled, boiled, and mashed
salt and black pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons grated cheese, or 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs combined with 4 tablespoons melted butter
1. For the batter, break the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add the flour, oil, and 2 tablespoons water.
2. Beat well until mixture is smooth, gradually adding remaining cup of water. Batter should be the consistency of single cream. Stir in the salt. Cover the bowl with a cloth and let batter rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
3. To make the pancakes, rub the butter lightly over the surface of a nonstick crepe pan or heavy skillet. Heat the pan over high heat, and when it is hot, add about 2 tablespoons of the batter, tilting the pan to spread it evenly over the surface.
4. Cook, shaking the pan, until the pancake no longer sticks to it, about 3 minutes. Wait a couple of seconds, then turn the pancake over.
5. Cook about 1 minute on the other side, then lay pancake on absorbent paper, and repeat with the rest of the mixture.
6. To make the filling, melt the butter in a saucepan over high heat and cook the onion until it is transparent. Add the mushrooms, cover, and cook on low heat until mushrooms give up their juices, about 10 minutes.
7. Place the mashed potatoes in a large bowl. Pour the contents of the saucepan over the potatoes. Add the egg and stir well. Season and use the mixture to stuff the pancakes.
8. To fill the pancakes, lay a tablespoon of filling down the center of a pancake. Fold the short sides toward the filling and then fold over the longer sides to encase the filling. Continue with rest of pancakes.
9. Preheat broiler. Arrange the pancakes in a greased ovenproof dish. Sprinkle the pancakes with either the cheese or the breadcrumb mixture and place in broiler to brown, about 3 minutes. Serve at once.
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