Lívance, a traditional Czech pancake recipe, is a beloved dish passed down through generations. These yeasted pancakes have a soft and fluffy texture that sets them apart from other pancake varieties.
In this article, I’ll take you through the rich history and cultural significance of lívance, as well as provide a detailed recipe for making these delectable treats at home.
The Origins of Lívance
Lívance, also known as Bohemian pancakes, have their roots in Czech cuisine. Czech grandmothers have been making these pancakes for their grandchildren for centuries, creating a special bond between generations. The word “lívance” itself is derived from the Czech language and represents the love and care poured into making these pancakes.
Making authentic lívance requires a few key ingredients and a special technique to achieve the desired light and fluffy texture. Let’s take a closer look at the traditional recipe:
- Whole milk: 2 cups (480 ml), warm but not hot.
- Fresh yeast: 2 teaspoons (or 30 g of active dry yeast).
- All-purpose flour: 3 cups (390 g).
- Granulated sugar: 1/3 cup (70 g).
- Eggs: 4, at room temperature.
- Pinch of salt.
- Unsalted butter for frying.
The Traditional Lívance Recipe
In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm milk and yeast. Whisk in the flour, sugar, pinch of salt, and eggs until well combined. The batter should have a liquid consistency.
Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let it leaven in a warm place for about 40 minutes, or until it doubles in volume.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and grease it with butter or a small amount of oil.
Using a ladle, pour the batter onto the hot pan to form pancakes about 3 inches (7 cm) in diameter.
Cook the pancakes on medium-low heat until golden brown, then flip and cook on the other side for about a minute.
In a large deep bowl, mix the powdered sugar with ground cinnamon. Roll the slightly cooled pancakes in the mixture to coat both sides thoroughly.
Serving Suggestions for Lívance
Lívance can be enjoyed in various ways, depending on personal preferences and regional traditions. Here are some popular serving suggestions:
- Coated in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon: This classic topping adds a touch of sweetness and warmth to the pancakes.
- Jam and sweetened sour cream: For a tangy and fruity twist, top the pancakes with your favorite jam and a dollop of sweetened sour cream.
- Fresh fruit: Enhance the flavor and presentation of lívance by adding fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries.
- Plum butter and crumbled tvaroh: A traditional Czech combination, spread plum butter on the pancakes and sprinkle them with crumbled tvaroh (Czech farmers’ cheese) and powdered sugar.
Tips for Perfect Lívance
Achieving the perfect lívance requires attention to detail and a few tips and tricks. Here are some suggestions to ensure your pancakes turn out fluffy and delicious:
- Leavening the batter: Allow the batter to double in volume during the leavening process. This step ensures that the pancakes will be light and airy.
- Cooking temperature: Maintain a medium-low heat while cooking the pancakes to ensure even browning without burning.
- Use a non-stick pan: A non-stick frying pan is ideal for lívance, as it prevents sticking and allows for easy flipping.
- Brush with flavored butter: For an extra burst of flavor, brush the cooked pancakes with a mixture of melted unsalted butter and a tablespoon of spiced rum.
The Cultural Significance of Lívance
Lívance holds a special place in Czech culture and is often associated with cherished childhood memories. Czech grandmothers take pride in passing down this recipe and sharing their love through the preparation of these pancakes. Lívance is not only a delicious treat but also a symbol of family traditions and the warmth of home.