Polenta & Bacon Pancakes for Shrove Tuesday

Tuesday 12 February 2013

I wanted to make you something different for pancake day this year.  I try to do something special each year for you.  Last year it was Honey and Raspberry Pancakes . . . a lovely treat.  Mmmm  . . . my mouth is watering just think about them.

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I had a real longing this year for light and fluffy pancakes, and yet hearty pancakes . . . pancakes that reminded me of my travels during my younger years, when a stay at a hotel meant pancakes for breakfast.   When I was a child my mother never ever made pancakes but for once a year, on pancake day . . . oh how we loved them.   My poor mom was stuck at the stove for hours fulfilling our pancake desires!

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I can remember traveling through Vermont when I was a young woman and stopping at a restaurant for breakfast in the Northern Part of the State past Burlington and near to the border . . . where it gets really watery and lakey and rivery . . . I know of no other words to describe it.   It was a cool morning and the mist was rising up over the lake, in an almost ethereal way.  The perfect pancake morning.

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I ordered pancakes for my breakfast and was served these pancakes which had been made with cornmeal, quite unlike any other I had ever eaten, and it was love, love, love at first bite.  I know that things seem to taste better with memory . . . and the memories of those pancakes are no exception.   Every time I think of them my mouth waters . . . and of course they were served with fresh Vermont Maple Syrup.  Scrummo!

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And so I wanted a hearty pancake like that, modernized for today by using polenta.   I had also seen photos of pancakes on the web, that had been baked over slices of crisp bacon, the batter flowing  around the crisp bacon . . . all crisp and golden.   Oh my, but they have always looked so tasty, and so I decided to add this aspect to my 2013 pancake as well.

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The result was a delicious pancake, moist from the use of sour milk, with nice bits of crunch throughout from the polenta . . . and that salty smoked moreish flavour from the Bacon, which goes so very well with the sweetness of the Maple Syrup.

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And so here you have my pancake day offering for Shrove Tuesday, 2013.   Polenta and Bacon Pancakes.  Enjoy!

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*Polenta and Bacon Pancakes*
Makes approximately 16 (8 servings)
Printable Recipe

Golden brown, sour milk tender, with a slight crunch.  Deliciously salty sweet and peppery, should you so choose.

170g of coarse polenta (cornmeal, 1 cup)
100g of plain flour (1 cup)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
16 rashers of lightly cooked dry cure rindless streaky bacon
(smoked or not, as you prefer)
393ml of sour milk (1 2/3 cup)
(to sour milk, squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the measuring beaker, and fill with
the milk to 393ml.  Allow to stand for 5 minutes before proceeding.)
2 large free range eggs
60ml of pure maple syrup (1/4 cup)
4 TBS melted unsalted butter, or bacon fat
(How naughty do you feel?)

To serve:
cold butter and maple syrup

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Preheat the oven to low and place a baking sheet lined with baking paper inside.

Whisk the polenta, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt and pepper (if using) together in a bowl.   In another bowl whisk together the sour milk, eggs, maple syrup and melted butter or bacon fat.  Blend thoroughly.   Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once and stir together just to combine.  A few lumps are normal and welcome.  Transfer to a pouring beaker. (This will make things so much easier, trust me.)

Lightly grease your skillet and heat over medium heat.   Place a slice of bacon in the skillet, or two depending on the size of your skillet and leaving a goodly amount of space between.   Carefully pour batter over the bacon to cover.  (about 1/4 cup)  Cook, until the undersides of the pancake are golden brown and the surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles.  Carefully flip over and cook until the other sides are golden brown.  Transfer to a warm oven and keep warm while you  cook the remaining pancakes.

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Serve hot with cold butter for spreading and plenty of Maple Syrup.

Note:  If you are feeling really indulgent you can serve them with more bacon and some cold tinned sliced peaches.  Nom! Nom!


  1. What a great recipe, Marie. I'm going to give it a whirl and make them tomorrow, as they put me in mind of my Grandpa Lewis' johnnycakes. My mother's parents were farmer's in Vermont, north of Burlington in Charlotte. When we children would stay the weekend, he'd make his corn pancakes, johnnycakes for us for breakfast, though he didn't put bacon in them, but berries instead.

  2. These look great. I'm sure the kids will love them.
    Just waiting for the opportunity to make your cranberry, brie Panini. Mouth watering!

    We made the fudgey vanilla tray bake it was delicious, the kids polished it off.
    Just love your recipes.
    Thanks for sharing. Love Lisa x

  3. What a lovely memory Mary! That is such a pretty area.

    Lisa, so happy that your kids enjoyed the tray bake. It's a keeper for sure!

  4. I enjoy pancakes for dinner. These would fit that bill perfectly!
    Only pure maple syrup will do. I hoard it on our trips to NY, where it's slightly cheaper to buy than in Virginia.

  5. I know what I'm having for dinner tonight! Bacon and cornmeal ~ what's not to love? This may end up becoming a tradition for me on the day before Ash Wednesday. Thanks, Marie!

  6. Oh these sound delightful! I have been craving something like this! I love pancakes. It was one thing my mom liked to cook on saturday mornings! We sometimes got to play outside while she past out rolled up pancakes with jam.

  7. Great story, great recipe! I really want to try those pancakes!

  8. OMG, bacon IN pancakes....? Oh yes please! Great idea and delicious recipe :)

  9. Thanks Jeanne! They were fabulous! I like to sprinkle a bit of coarse pepper on mine. Sooo good with the maple syrup and the bacon. Tis that sweet/savoury thing us North Americans like I think!

  10. wow these look lovely, I made buttermilk pancakes with bacon & maple syrup today but would never have thought to put the bacon in the pancakes...genius!


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