“Speck-tacular Season”

Christmas Day 2010, Nashville

Speck, anyone? Not your familiar Southern pork product.

Waking up this morning to a backyard that looked like this:

Cafe Latte’s…..to wake up, walk the dog and make a special Christmas Day morning breakfast of Pannekoeken with Speck. More about Speck later…..first the coffee…

…next Ella…

…lucky dogs get new toys and walks in the snow.

Now to our breakfast….I have blogged about Wouter’s fantastic Dutch Appel Pannekoeken before, but not Pannekoeken with Speck.

A bit about Speck:

References to “speck” have been showing up in many of my cooking books and magazines from Great Britain & Australia recently…to my mind it was “just smoked cured bacon”….wrong!

Wouter has always talked about speck…the taste, how it is different from any of our regional bacons in the US, about not being able to purchase it here…my curiousity inspired me to request some from his last trip home.







Like prosciutto and other hams, speck is made from the hind leg of the pig, but, unlike other prosciutti, speck is boned before curing.

A leg of pork is deboned and divided into large sections called “baffe”, and then cured in salt and various spice combination which may include garlicbay leavesjuniper berriesnutmeg, and otherspices, and then rested for a period of several weeks. After this the smoking process begins.

Speck is cold-smoked slowly and intermittently for two or three hours a day for a period of roughly a week using woods such as beech.


Speck is ubiquitous in the local cuisine of the province of Bolzano-Bozen, and is also found in the AustrianCzechDutchCroatianGermanItalian and Slovak cuisines.

Speck can easily replace bacon or as a smoky alternative to Pancetta. The differences between speck and bacon include different time lengths of smoking, the technique of curing it, and the fact that speck cures for a longer period of time than bacon does.

I am sure there are shops all over the USA that sell Speck, but it will be in large city markets…otherwise you can just google “speck” and find many mail order shops.
Wouter brought this vacuumed packed back in his suitcase from Amsterdam. When I opened it this morning for the first time I was struck by the wonderful smokey, spicy, salty aroma unlike any of our bacons.

The slab of speck is cut into thin bacon-like slices.












Cooked until somewhat crispy.
Meanwhile pancake batter is whisked together. You can use your favorite recipe or even a boxed mix as a last resort. If using a boxed mix add extra liquid so batter is runny.
Batter is poured over speck in skillet and cooked on both sides til golden brown and crispy.
One thing that just must be the real thing is the syrup…real maple syrup, not anything else.
This bottle was given to me as a gift from my daughter, Whitney. She knows how much I love maple syrup and even more when it comes in a charming bottle like this!
Pannekoeken with Speck drizzled with maple syrup for a cold Christmas Day morning.
The best Holiday gift!
Two of my favorite Santa Claus images from “Twas the night before Christmas” by Reverend Howard Finster.
Happy Holiday and New Year from Teresa at foodonfifth.com






“Pannekoeken, Please”


Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you…high above the skillet, looking very “halo-like” over one of my Charlie Cook tough-guy paintings, suspended for a split second mid-air, is one of Wouter’s Sunday morning Dutch Pancakes. It landed back in the skillet effortlessly and for a moment upon entering the room I  wondered if I had stumbled in on some performance art piece, or breakfast?

Pannekoeken or Dutch Pancakes are one of our favorite breakfasts. Unlike our American pancakes these are a bit like a cross between a pancake and a crepe, can be rolled or eaten flat with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup and can have apples or other fruit added as well as bacon. In The Netherlands we always have at least one breakfast, or dinner of Pannekoeken. It is one of the culinary joys of visiting.

I don’t ask for them often as I understand what makes “something special”,  special. But with food friends Nancy Davidson & Diane Stopford  as guests I asked Wouter to make this very special breakfast for us…..Pannekoeken, please.

“Wouter’s Pannekoeken (Dutch Pancakes) For Sunday Morning Guests”


1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour; 2 large eggs & 1/2 cup milk. 1/2 stick butter for the skillet.  Powdered sugar & real maple syrup. Tart seasonal apples such as Braeburns; Pink Ladies; Jona Golds, Granny Smiths, cored, peeled and thinly sliced.

How to make Dutch Pancakes in photos & words:

1. Mix together in a bowl the flour, eggs & milk using a whisk. Let batter stand about 10 minutes.

2. Using a 10 inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat Wouter has melted some butter. When skillet is hot and butter is sizzling he ladles a thin layer of batter, turning pan from side to side to coat bottom of pan with batter. Return pan to heat.

3. When the batter starts to pull away from sides of pan and starts to set around the edges, tilt the pan around so batter can run underneath cooked edges. Do this during the cooking time so batter will cook evenly. It is now time to flip the pancake. You can do this the more conventional way using a spatula or if feeling a bit of theatrics coming on, just flip mid-air like Wouter does!

4. Flip. These are pancakes best served as they are cooked so Diane, Nancy & I waited patiently with our lattes for our first Pannekoeken hot off the grill.

Guests get served first!

First we add powdered sugar…..

…some warm Wisconsin maple syrup….

…rolled & ready to eat.

For Pannekoeken round #2 Wouter poured the same batter over apple slices.

1. Wouter arranges apple slices over bottom of skillet with hot melted butter.

2. Ladles a thin layer of batter over apples & returns skillet to heat.

3.  Cook until edges of pancake are set and middle is bubbly, tilting and turning pan to let uncooked batter seep underneath edges to bottom of pan to cook.

4. Flip. Cook on other side and serve hot!

Diane adding powdered sugar….

…and warm syrup.

The apples are fork tender, the pancake hot with warm syrup & a dusting of powdered sugar. Pannekoeken Perfect!


We like White Lily flour for Pannekoeken.

Finally, the cook gets to eat!

Eet Smakelijk! (or as we say Bon Apetit)