Some prefer them thick and fluffy, others like them thin and crisp — pancakes, a traditional breakfast food in countries all around the world, come in many shapes and forms. Besides being a popular dish to start the morning with, pancakes are also eaten as a part of Shrove Tuesday traditions (for more than 1,000 years according to some sources). Also known as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday marks the day before the beginning of Lent. As the name reveals, Fat Tuesday became a day to eat fatty and filling foods — including pancakes — in preparation for the approaching Lenten fast. Pancakes have since then become a symbol for Shrove Tuesday in many cultures, and the day is also sometimes called Pancake Tuesday.
The shape, size, and ingredients of a pancake, as well as how it is served, vary depending on where in the world you are. While in the U.S. we often enjoy our pancakes as a heaping pile, drenched in syrup, some countries prefer their pancakes thin and served solo, such as crepes in France or naleśniki in Poland. In Australia, the typical pancakes, pikelets, are snack-sized little rounds that also can be purchased ready-made in grocery stores.
Kaiserschmarrn, the classic Austrian sweet pancake, is torn to pieces before it's served, and in Denmark, making the staple ball-shaped aebleskiver pancakes involves a special frying pan.
We at The Daily Meal decided to take a look at what the typical sweet pancake looks like in countries all around the world, from Greece to Malaysia, and compiled a list of our favorite international versions.
Tired of your regular fluffy flapjacks? Click through our slideshow of pancakes around the world for inspiration for your next pancake brunch.
1. Denmark: Aebleskiver
An aebleskiver is a traditional Danish pancake in a distinctive shape of a small ball. It's prepared in a special frying pan and molded to create the round shape. Aebleskiver can be found throughout Scandinavia, and are often served around Christmas along with a mulled wine.
2. Mexico: Hotcakes
Mexican hotcakes are similar in style to pancakes served in the U.S, but are more often made with cornmeal instead of, or in addition to, wheat flour. Common hotcake toppers are condensed milk, fruit jam, or a sweet goat milk spread called cajeta.
3. Malaysia: Apam Balik
There are several variations of the sweet apam balik, also known as Malaysian peanut pancakes. The pancake is usually filled with a ground roasted peanuts, sweetened dried coconut, corn, bananas, and sugar, and is often sold by street vendors. The sweet dessert comes in thick and thin variations, and is pan-fried on one side, stuffed with the filling, and folded in half.
4. India: Malpua
The sweet deep-fried malpuas are common in North and East India, and are eaten especially around Holi (the festival of colors) and other special occasions. The batter for malpuas varies from region to region, but is commonly a mix of sweetened condensed milk, flour, semolina, fennel seeds, and cardamom. The pancakes are deep-fried and dipped in a simple syrup of sugar and water.
5. France: Crêpes
French crêpes have become popular in several countries around the world. The thin and wide pancake is often filled with sweet fillings such as a simple dust of sugar and lemon, berries, or melted chocolate, or savory fillings such as ham and cheese. Crêpes are extremely versatile, and today there are countless of variations for both the batter and the fillings.
6. U.S.: Buttermilk Pancakes
Traditional American pancakes are often some version of the versatile buttermilk pancake. Adding baking powder to the egg, buttermilk, sugar, and flour mix allows the pancakes to rise and get their signature thick and fluffy look. Additional ingredients vary to include everything from blueberries to chocolate chips, and a stack of pancakes is often topped with a generous helping of maple syrup and a pat of butter.
For for of the best pancakes around the globe, check out the full list.
More from The Daily Meal