Monday, October 25, 2010

And The Winner Is...

The judging panel for the pancake challenge.
The Great Amish Friendship Bread Pancake Challenge was held last night and no clear winner was chosen.  The most vocal member of the judging panel said she liked Daniel's cornmeal pancake fried in lard the best.  True to her mother, my daughter Violet declared my classic sourdough pancake the winner, although she refused to try the others.  In the end, it was a split-decision, but I think that most of us agreed that the best use for the Amish Friendship Bread "Mother"was in Daniel's version of Palaczinta, which is very much like a crepe.  Unfortunately, it was disqualified for two reasons.
Daniel's Palaczinta.

1.  Palaczinta is not technically a pancake.

2.  The judges believed that the use of jam and sour cream might have swayed the vote.

In the end, sour cream was declared the real winner.  I, as the overall loser, was forced to keep the "Mother".

The Scoring Breakdown

Overall Winner (Ultimately disqualified for violating category standards):  Daniel's Palaczinta

  • Most delicious
  • Best use of sour cream

Best Traditional Pancake:  Susan's Classic Sourdough Pancake
Daniel flips a buttermilk pancake.

  • Most heart-healthy
  • Good for vegetarians (no lard)
  • Easiest to prepare because it used mostly pantry ingredients (no additional buttermilk, lard, or bacon fat required)
  • Best for those who don't like the taste of sour dough
Amy's Choice:  Daniel's Buttermilk Pancakes
  • Very crispy edges due to frying in lard
  • Nice crunch thanks to the addition of corn meal
Kids' Favorite:  Susan's Heart-Shaped Waffles (also disqualified for not being a pancake)
  • Heart-shape is a fan-favorite
  • Very soft, fluffy interior

It was a great meal enjoyed with friends, and very much in the keeping with an old-time Sunday dinner.  My family has a long-standing tradition of serving breakfast food for Sunday dinner so it felt like home to me.  And nothing makes it feel more like home than bacon.  Amy brought crispy thick-sliced bacon and shared her secret for making perfectly cooked bacon in the oven.  (Layer the bacon on a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil and place in a cold oven.  Heat to 400 degrees and continue cooking until bacon is crispy.)
Jared's chicken, chorizo, and green chile hash.
Jared made an amazing chicken, chorizo and green chile hash using a recent LA Times recipe.  I hate to admit it, but I think the side dishes were my favorite.

And as an unexpected treat, Lisa arrived just in time to help with the judging and give us a giant brown bag full of green olives, ready for curing in the Calabrian style.

Over the next several weeks, we will provide recipes for winning pancake dishes, a video of the event, and a follow-up report on the traditional Calabrian olive-curing process, including recipe and video.  So stay tuned!

In the meantime, feel free to check out our "Heirloom Foods" Facebook Page for additional photos and comments on the event.  (You'll need to log on to facebook to see it.)


  1. I do not want this to come off as sour grapes at the Palaczinta being disqualified for violating category standards, but I have found numerous internet references on food websites to the alternately spelled Palacsinta being Hungarian pancakes. Yes the batter is thinner, and it is true that a door knob would taste good with a dollop of sour cream, but disqualification? I have been asked to clarify the spelling of Palaczinta, and I cannot. Each of my Eastern European grandparents came from a different Soviet block country, though the exodus occurred prior to or at the beginning of the Soviet regime. To further complicate matters, the Hungarian, Bulgarian, Slovak and Ukrainian foods that I grew up eating are all similar in many ways, though they may be distinguished by having different names with different spellings. Grandma Nanowsky called this Palaczinta, but she did not spell it, and she was Slovak, not Hungarian. She married my Ukrainian grandfather, so we also called this same meal Nalusnyky. I chose to make a sweet version that included some grated orange zest which came from a French recipe I found in Fanny Farmer's cookbook. Grandma Nanowsky would never have done that. She would have filled the Palaczinta with jelly or cottage cheese or sauerkraut, but the sour cream was a necessary garnish for all. I guess the bottom line is that my version of Palaczinta is suffering from a serious identity crisis, and being disqualified from a pancake contest would make them weep if they were capable of weeping. Thankfully, none survived the contest as they were eagerly consumed.

  2. Thank you, Daniel for this very full report. I will respond to this message in a future post, along with the recipes for the pancakes and crepes under discussion.