For those of you who haven't had johnnycakes, they're actually more than just a reference to The Sopranos. Johnnycakes are basically pancakes made with cornmeal instead of flour. They go way back to the original European settlers who basically made everything out of cornmeal, which, when you think about the fact that they had to hand grind the corn, was pretty impressive. Brown says in the book that the theory is that the name actually came from the name journeycakes, which makes sense since they can also be cooled and eaten at room temperature and therefore would have made a hearty cake to take on a journey. I've found that modern johnnycakes vary greatly depending on where you get them (the ones at the Town Deluxe Diner in Watertown are to die for). Brown's recipe is pretty standard, cornmeal, water, milk.
I started with the pumpkin pancakes and found that they really did yield nine, which is what it said in the recipe. It wasn't really enough, but I had run out of potato starch, so after that we moved on to the johnnycakes.
I made the pancakes on the griddle with cooking spray and they worked fine. The johnnycakes were done in the frying pan and needed a LOT of butter. I also did one batch of johnnycakes with the optional egg and one without. The batch with the egg came together a lot better as a batter, cooked more evenly and were a lot easier to flip.
Unfortunately, I made this at my parents' house and I forgot my camera, so the pictures are sparse.
|Pumpkin pancake batter resting|
|Pumpkin pancakes served|
|Johnnycakes in the pan|
|Johnnycakes on the plate with a pitcher of maple syrup|
|My most discerning customer munching away on a |
pumpkin pancake. Turns out they make good finger food...
Next stop: we're making a side trip to Louisiana to celebrate Mardi Gras with a King Cake