Judging from the number of pancake recipes in cookbooks throughout the years, we don’t eat pancakes as much as we used to. Pancakes were often made with 100 percent cornmeal or, as in our corn pancakes recipe, a mix of cornmeal and white flour. Flint corn was referred to as “Indian corn” until well into the 20th century, so if you want to find recipes in older cookbooks that use it, search for “Indian meal.” In the 19th century, pancakes were leavened with yeast or with some form of chemical leavening, such as baking powder. I personally prefer either yeast or egg whites. In this case, I’ve chosen egg whites, and they produce pancakes with a lovely, soft texture.
2 cups cornmeal, bolted (larger pieces of bran sifted out)
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup unbleached white flour
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup milk (approximately)
Add cornmeal to mixing bowl and pour boiling water over the meal. Whisk smooth. While the cornmeal is cooling, separate the eggs. Set yolks aside and whisk the whites to a soft peak. When the cornmeal is lukewarm, whisk in the flour, then whisk in the reserved egg yolks and the milk. Fold in the egg whites and immediately bake on a lightly oiled griddle heated to approximately 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn when the pancakes have set on the top. Makes 12 medium pancakes.