Christmas Breakfast Bosnian-Style–Palacinke

For years I’ve struggled to figure out how to inject a little Bosnia into our Christmas celebration. Before we started dating, Jas never celebrated Christmas and so the holiday has always been an onslaught of Italian-American tradition. I’ve asked Jas if he wanted to add an extra dish to either the Christmas Eve or Day menus, or if there are any other traditions he’d like to incorporate but again, as he’d never celebrated it before, such traditions did not exist. Until now.

One morning, a few months ago Jas announced he was in the mood for palacinke (pah-lah-cheen-kay) and began whipping up a batch. Palacinke are Bosnian-style pancakes similar to the French crepe though a bit sturdier and while the crepe is eaten both savory or sweet at varying times of the day, palacinke are always served sweet as a snack or dessert. They are filled with nutella, chocolate, ground walnuts, or jam (strawberry or plum). They are not breakfast food and yet that didn’t stop Jas from fulfilling his craving one morning. As I watched him whisk the batter, ladle it in large circles onto a hot griddle and then flip the pancake the air–it hit me. Why not bring Bosnia to Christmas breakfast?

Chocolate palacinke served with ice cream at a cafe in Bosnia.

Chocolate palacinke served with ice cream at a cafe in Bosnia.

Christmas breakfast has always been a mixed bag in my family. Some years my mom would make apple fritters dipped in beer batter and dusted with cinnamon-sugar–a heavenly concoction and one that I quickly abandoned after trying it myself one year. Deep frying on Christmas morning prior to preparing all of the other Christmas Day foods does not a happy girl make. Other years we’d have scrambled eggs with bacon, or almond olive oil cake with macerated oranges, while others we’d simply nibble on some Christmas cookies or dip into the platter of leftover struffoli (Italian cookie/pastry). This year we made Bosnian pancakes.

Or, Jas made Bosnian pancakes. On Christmas morning. In his pajamas. Hair askew. While he whisked, ladled and flipped (did I mention he flips them in the air? It’s one of the reasons I married him), I arranged the fillings on a serving tray. Again, traditionally palacinke are filled with Nutella, jam or ground walnuts. I added some French touches to the choices such as butter, powdered sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. I stopped short of placing some cheese and ham on the tray for those who might be in a savory mood–it’s good to adapt but some changes fall into the realm of sacrilege.

Once the pancakes were ready we simply placed them out with the tray of fillings and let everyone help themselves. It’s true–palacinke are strictly a Bosnian dessert, but if you can’t eat dessert for Christmas breakfast, then what’s the point of it all?

IMG_7391

Cookie enjoying palacinke with Nutella.

Here’s the recipe:

Bosnian Pancakes (Palacinke)

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup sparkling water or water
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Whisk all ingredients together. Melt 4 Tbs. butter. Drizzle the butter into a hot 8 inch frying pan. Then pour in about 1/4 cup batter. Tip the pan until the batter fills the bottom (should look like a giant pancake). When the edges start to curl up, flip the pancake and cook for another 60 seconds. Flip into a large plate. Repeat until you have no more batter left.

Pass palacinke at the table with Nutella, jam, and/ or ground nuts. You can fold them into triangles as seen above, or roll them up.

Yields: about 12 pancakes

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5 Comments

Filed under food, Recipes

5 responses to “Christmas Breakfast Bosnian-Style–Palacinke

  1. Cathy Bove

    Sounds awesome! Not sure what I love more the new tradition or the recipe.

  2. TheAppraiser

    Nice tradition. It seems odd your husband has no Christmas traditions, as there are quite a few. Anyway….
    Palacinke are my go to when company drops in and I have nothing “sweet” to go with coffee. However you are mistaken on two points. They ARE eaten savory.. Typically with feta cheese in them (ask your husband). AND palacinke are not “Bosnian” but made throughout Eastern Europe. My kids (even though they are teenagers – and big and mean 🙂 still sing an English “palacinka” song they learned when little whenever me, their aunt or grandma make palacinke for them.

    • Hello! It’s true that there are Christmas traditions though none that a Muslim family would celebrate. Thank you for the information on the savory pancakes…I did ask my husband and his family and they are not familiar with them. Perhaps they are eaten this way in different parts of the country…or in different nations of the former Yugoslavia? I’d appreciate any more info you have. As for the origin, I simply meant that they are a dessert traditionally eaten in Bosnia not that they are exclusive to it.

  3. Irma

    I was born and raised in Bosnia and it is true, most of the time we had “palcinke” with nutella or a yummy spread that my mom would make with ground walnuts. But we also had savory “palacinke”. I particularly remember the once made with filling made out of sautéed onions, mushroom and lots of herbs. Once stuffed and rolled you can also place them in a large dish, poor over few eggs beaten with some sour cream and put in the oven until the eggs are baked. YUM YUM!

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