South African Pannekoek are a traditional Afrikaans breakfast treat or dessert. Enjoy these thin pancakes with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and a drizzle of lemon juice.
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one and buy something, Feast + West receives a small commission at no additional cost to you. All opinions are our own.
With Mother’s Day on Sunday, it seems like a fitting time to introduce to you my mom, Andrea! She was born and raised in sunny South Africa.
Before moving to the U.S., she attended a cordon bleu cooking school in Cape Town.
I owe so much of my love for the kitchen to her, so I’m inviting her to share a South African recipe and a story with us every so often.
Please join me in welcoming her to Feast + West! Oh, and don’t forget to plan something special for your mom.
(One of these Mother’s Day gifts, perhaps?) Now, take it away, Mom!
Hello there! I’m so excited Susannah asked me to share some stories and recipes from my native South Africa with you. I recently returned from a trip “home” to see my family.
While I was there, I made my mom one of our family favorite dishes, South African pannekoek. Fresh on my mind, I decided to make a batch for my first guest post!
Growing up in South Africa, my first memories of pannekoek (pronounced pun-uh-cook) were at church bazaars.
To raise money, the ladies of the church would stand over hot, one-burner gas stoves and flip the thin pancakes.
They’d place one pannekoek on a paper plate, cover it in cinnamon sugar, roll it up and serve it with a lemon wedge.
My dad’s mother used to make them for him, so they were his favorite. He loved it when, at an early age, I learned to make them for him.
And so continues a family tradition!
PANNEKOEK: SOUTH AFRICAN PANCAKES
Pannekoek is the Afrikaans word for pancake, but this is not like an American pancake.
Flat and thin, a pannekoek is more like a slightly thicker version of a French crêpe than the fluffy, buttermilk pancakes we eat in America.
The pannekoek batter is runny and not sweetened — one pancake generally fills up the whole pan.
It is cooked on both sides and then it can be filled with savory or sweet fillings for either entrées or desserts.
In South Africa, we usually eat pannekoek as a treat or as a Sunday supper.
But now that I’m in the U.S., I’ve adapted my pannekoek recipe into a breakfast dish for our family, sometimes serving them with blueberry compote or another fruit topping.
Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend, and South African pancakes would be a perfect breakfast or brunch idea for your mother. (And maybe serve it to her as breakfast-in-bed?)
HOW TO MAKE PANNEKOEK
Thank you so much for sharing, Mom!
I’ve watched my mom make pannekoek enough times to have picked up on a few of her tricks for making these South African pancakes.
First, make sure to let the batter rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour before cooking the pancakes.
It is also important to “season” your skillet before adding the pannekoek batter. This will help keep the pancakes from sticking.
Make sure not to add too much batter into the pan at once. Remember, pannekoek are very thin, so you want a very thin layer of batter for each pancake.
Lastly, you’ll know the pannekoek are ready to flip when bubbles form on top and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Using a long, thin spatula will make flipping the pannekoek easier.
Toppings for Pannekoek
Traditional South African pannekoek is generously doused with cinnamon sugar and a sprinkle of fresh lemon juice.
But the beauty of these pancakes is that you can dress them up however you want! Try one of these toppings instead:
- cinnamon sugar and lemon juice
- blueberry compote
- sliced bananas
- peanut butter
- fresh strawberries
- nutella spread
- sliced apples
- maple syrup
Any of these would make an excellent addition to South African pannekoek! You can even try savory fillings, like mushrooms, spinach or bacon.
I hope you love them as much as we do! They’re so lekker, as South Africans say. (Pronounced leck-uh — it means superb or fantastic.)
And don’t miss this Amarula Brandy Alexander if you’d like to try a South African cocktail! Enjoy! // susannah
FOR THE CINNAMON SUGAR
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE PANNEKOEK
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups ice cold water
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus another 2 tablespoons for pan
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Cinnamon sugar (recipe follows)
- Lemon cut into wedges for squeezing
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. With a small whisk or fork, mix together until evenly distributed. Set aside, or store in a jar or other airtight container for later use.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, water and 1/2 cup oil.
- In a large bowl, sift flour and salt to get out any clumps. Make a well (a hole) in the center of the flour mixture. Pour egg mixture into the well in a steady stream, whisking together as you pour. Mix until well combined; batter will be very runny. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- In a frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil on high heat. Do not leave pan unattended. When the oil starts to smoke, remove immediately from the burner and cool down. Pour off the excess oil and use a paper towel to wipe out the pan. This "seasons" your pan and keeps the pannekoek from sticking.
- Reheat the frying pan on medium-high heat. Spoon in the batter, allowing a thin layer to coat the bottom of the pan. When bubbles form on top and the pancake pulls away from the sides of the pan, use a spatula and flip the pancake. It is done when the pancake firms up and has browned slightly. Transfer to a plate.
- Sprinkle cinnamon over the center of a pannekoek, then roll into a narrow roll. Place on a serving dish, lining up the pancakes as you go.
- Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you're out of batter. If needed, keep pancakes warm under some foil in a 175-degree preheated oven until serving.
- Sprinkle more cinnamon sugar over the rolled pannekoek. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice just before serving.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 2 pannekoek
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 509Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 124mgSodium: 228mgCarbohydrates: 72gFiber: 5gSugar: 34gProtein: 9g