Friday, August 3, 2012

Out Of Grandma's Kitchen: Johnnycake Pan

Our favorite pan to use for pancakes is a cast iron Johnnycake pan that belonged to my great grandma.  What differentiates a Johnnycake pan from a griddle is the lip on the edge of the Johnnycake pan.  This held the sometimes watery batter from dripping off the edge into the fire or onto the stove.

The original Johnnycake was a basic mix of cornmeal, water and salt.  It was mixed into a wet batter and poured into the pan to cook, resulting in a thin, crisp on the edges, pancake.  Some people also call Johnnycakes by the name hoe cakes.  The story is that people would cook these cakes on the flat edge of a hoe for want of another pan.

Here is a Johnnycake recipe from the Joy Of Cooking:

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups milk

Cook cornmeal with salt in boiling water about 10 minutes.  Add cornmeal slowly to boiling water to avoid lumps. Add butter and milk after taking off of the heat.  Stir to make a batter.  Drop one tablespoon full at a time onto a hot, greased griddle.  Cook on low just like you would a pancake.

Recipes that you see with flour and baking powder added are really for cornmeal pancakes, not Johnnycakes.  In the old days in the southeastern United States flour was hard to come by, but cornmeal was readily available.

See The Lip On Edge Of Pan
It's fun to cook on a pan that is not only a family piece, but a piece of our American history.  It keeps me in touch with my forbearers that might only have a bag of cornmeal to get by on.

God bless,

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