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Palatschinken are a type of lightweight pancake made from a thin batter and lightly fried. The dish is commonly consumed in Central and Eastern European cuisine, especially Austria and Hungary. It is usually topped with sweet or savory ingredients, then rolled up or folded before being eaten.
The base of the thin batter that is used for making palatschinken is generally made of milk, eggs, flour, and salt. Once the batter is prepared, it is then added in batches to a large skillet greased with butter, oil, or a combination of both. To make the pancakes thin, only enough batter is added to coat the bottom of the pan, rather than cooking larger scoopfuls of batter for thick pancakes. The batter is then cooked until it is golden brown on each side. Since the batter is so runny, the individual cakes do not take long to cook on each side, often less than one minute per side.
Palatschinken can be served in both sweet and savory versions. One of the more traditional fillings for the thin cakes are stewed fruit sauces, such as apple, strawberry, raspberry, apricot, or plum, and topped with powdered sugar. Other sweet filling options often include some form of chocolate, such as melted chocolate, thick chocolate and hazelnut spread, or cocoa powder. To counteract the richness of the chocolate fillings, the cakes may also have dried fruit, such as prunes, raisins, or dates, ricotta or cottage cheese, or nuts, such as walnuts or almonds.
One of the more common savory fillings for palatschinken are meats, such as stewed beef or pork. Other savory versions include mushroom and cheese fillings. Cooked vegetables or even soups or stews can be served as a filling for the thin cakes. If the cakes have savory fillings, they may be flavorful enough to not need a topping after they are rolled up, but sour cream may be served as a condiment.
Although palatschinken are most often cooked on a stovetop before being filled and rolled up, they can also be consumed without fillings or toppings. The freshly fried cakes may be cut into thin slices to be used as a garnish for other dishes. Soups, stews, or other hot dishes may be topped with the strips to add more flavor to the dishes and make them more filling. Plain prepared cakes can also be topped with sweet or savory ingredients, stacked into layers, and baked in the oven for a larger dish that serves multiple people.