Food photography by Renée Comet, styled by Lisa Cherkasky.This delicate dessert pancake recipe from Hannah Glasse was very fashionable during the eighteenth century and might have been found on the Washingtons' table as part of a second course.

Quire is a Middle English term meaning twenty-four or twenty-five sheets of paper of the same size and stock. It is used here to help the cook visualize the desired paper-thinness of the pancake. "[B]utter the Pan for the first Pancake; let them run as thin as possible," Glasse instructed. Her words were repeated verbatim in a Mary Randolph recipe written some seventy-five years later.

From Dining with the Washingtons

This recipe is a modern adaptation of the 18th-century original. It was created by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump for the book Dining with the Washingtons (2011).

AVAILABLE FROM THE SHOPS

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 10 tablespoons sugar, plus more for sprinkling over pancakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for frying
  • 5 tablespoons sherry
  • 1 teaspoon orange-flower water
  • Stewed fruit or preserves for serving (optional)
  • Lightly whipped cream for serving (optional)
  • Directions

    1. Sift together the flour, sugar, and nutmeg.

    2. Beat the egg yolks until smooth and lemon-colored. Combine with the cream and melted butter, mixing together well. Gradually add to the flour mixture, blending thoroughly. Stir in the sherry and orange-flower water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or as long as overnight.

    3. Preheat the oven to 200°F.

    4. When ready to cook the pancakes, melt about 1 teaspoon of butter in a small sauté pan set over medium to medium-low heat. Make a small test pancake to ensure that the pan is the right temperature and that the batter has the right consistency. The batter can be thinned with a little milk or cream, if necessary; it should have the consistency of pudding, falling in splats from a spoon.

    5. Prepare one pancake at a time, using a scant 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Pour the batter into the hot pan, tilting it so the batter can run evenly over the bottom. Cook until slightly puffy and pale yellow, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until set.

    6. Slide the pancake onto a plate, and sprinkle with sugar. Set aside in the oven to keep warm while preparing the rest of the pancakes, stacking and sprinkling sugar over each one.

    7. Serve the pancakes plain in a stack, or serve them one at a time filled with stewed fruit or preserves, rolled (if desired), and topped with lightly whipped cream.

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