Ancient Greek pancakes
Hi, I’m Nico from the Ancient Greek Mysteries. As anyone who has read the books will know, I love food and breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. My friend Thrax and I scoff a lot of breakfasts during our adventures.
We Greeks have breakfast very early in the morning, usually even before dawn. If we don’t have time for a sit down meal, we just grab a piece of yesterday’s bread and a handful of olives or raisins to eat on the move. If we do have the time, we like tucking into fresh pancakes called tiganites, which we eat sweetened with honey (webmaster’s note: the Ancient Greeks did not have sugar.)
These pancakes are also good to take on a journey where you don’t think there will be an opportunity to buy snacks from a street vendor or a market. They’re also good to take to the theatre, wrapped in a piece of cloth to keep warm. If you’re going to seek the advice of the oracle, you’re also expected to leave one of these honey cakes on the altar at the temple.
I love sprinkling cinnamon on my pancakes but I don’t do it too often because it’s very expensive. We Hellenes (webmaster’s note: Hellenes is what the people in Ancient Greece called themselves) prize cinnamon highly. Rich people even leave it as an offering at the temple.
(Webmaster’s note: Ancient Greek pancakes weren’t the thin kind that we cook on Pancake Day in the 21st century. They were thicker and smaller, like American breakfast pancakes, and luscious.)
Here’s how to make your own tiganites
What you need for ten pancakes
250 ml white flour
250 ml milk
2 tablespoons olive oil (not virgin as it has too strong a taste for cookingl)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
For the topping
Runny honey, Greek yoghurt, chopped fruit of your choice [the Greeks loved grapes, raisins, figs and chopped apples, chopped walnuts.
HOW TO MAKE THEM
1 Sift the flour, salt and the baking powder into a mixing bowl.
2 Beat the eggs in another bowl.
3 Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and the milk to the eggs and whisk till frothy.
4 Pour the mixture into the flour and stir until you have a smooth batter.
5 Heat the rest of the oil in a frying pan and when it’s hot, pour in a ladle of batter. This will spread out a little as it cooks, which is what you want. When bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes, flip them over carefully and leave to cook.
6 Transfer the pancakes to plates, pour over the runny honey, add yoghurt, nuts and fruit.