Elizabethan Pancakes, “Modernized” (1585, Good Huswife’s Jewell) ✔
Adapted from the 1585 cookbook, “Good Huswife’s Jewell”. These pancakes are closer to what one might call a crepe today. They are modernized in that I substituted in milk for thick cream and some eggs for egg yolks, as well as providing useful modern measurements. No “handfull”s of flour needed!
Servings Prep Time
~10pancakes 5minutes
Cook Time
~5minutes per pancake
Servings Prep Time
~10pancakes 5minutes
Cook Time
~5minutes per pancake
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Whisk together everything except the butter. It ends up being a slightly frothy batter just a bit thinner than modern pancake batter.
  2. Heat up a crepe pan or frying pan to medium heat, and melt a little butter in it, just enough to coat the bottom. (A crepe pan is convenient for getting your spatula at a nice angle to flip from, but it’s not strictly necessary.)
  3. Pour one ladle full (I think my ladle is probably about 2/3-3/4 cup. An ordinary sized ladle.) of batter in the center of the pan, and slowly tilt/swirl the pan to spread out the batter a bit.
  4. Cook about 3 minutes on one side, or until the top looks dry (the first couple might take a little longer if your pan isn’t quite up to heat yet, just watch it and see). Once it’s at this stage, you should be able to slide a spatula/flipper under the edge fairly easily.
  5. Carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side 2-3 minutes. They’re firm enough that you should be able to lift the edge and “peek” to see if it’s looking done underneath after a couple minutes.
  6. Once done, transfer to a plate with your spatula, and start the next one. You can keep them in a just-barely-on oven with a clean cloth or some foil over to keep them warm while you make the rest. They should stack nicely without sticking together.
  7. In between each pancake, add another little bit of butter (probably 1/2 tsp or less) just to keep things from sticking and add a bit of buttery flavor. If you start to get leftover butter or bits of batter burning around the edges, just give the pan a really quick wipe with a cloth before adding butter for the next one.
  8. Continue making pancakes until you run out of batter. Serve with butter and jam or preserves.
Recipe Notes

On Ale: I used a “Mutiny Red Ale” that had been in the fridge for quite some time. I’m really not an expert on beer or ale at all, and I’m not sure if the ale was added for flavor or for some kind of leavening, so I’m not entirely sure what to suggest as a substitution for someone who wants to omit it. It may have added a little bit of “frothiness” to the batter, in which case, maybe you could replace it with sparkling water? I have heard of that being used for leavening in 18th century America… I don’t feel like it came through as a strong element of the flavor, even though I did “oops” a bit and add a bit more than the 3 tbsp I meant to this time, but maybe the bitterness of the ale helped tame the sweetness of the pancakes a bit? I’m not sure.