Now that winter is seriously here and snow is everywhere, at least here in the Northeast,
I’ve been thinking about the ways snow has been used in cooking.
Before there were such things, snow was a convenient refrigerator-freezer. Joy of Cooking authors Irma Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker reminisced about storing molded ice creams outside in the snow. “Finding them again was such a lark,” they wrote.
Snow was also an ingredient. It was used as a substitute for eggs back in the day when eggs were not available all the time, everywhere. A couple of spoonsful of snow took the place of one egg, according to many cookbooks.
Perfect for locavores, snow is fresh, local, and doesn’t cost a cent. But you do have to harvest it the minute it falls, while it’s still untouched by human hands – or feet.
This recipe for snow pancakes is in Dorothy Hartley’s famed Food in England, first published in 1954.
Snow pancakes are made in winter. Use an ordinary pancake batter, and, when just ready to fry, stir in a spoonful of fresh firm snow and fry quickly so that the batter firms before the snow entirely melts, leaving holes in the pancake.
If you don’t have any snow, try this pancake recipe for lovely, light-as-a-snowflake pancakes.
Three eggs, separated
One-quarter cup flour
Three-quarters cup ricotta
One-quarter cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
One tablespoon grated lemon zest
Beat egg whites until they hold stiff peaks.
Mix all of the other ingredients together until they’re well blended into a batter. Fold the stiffly beaten egg whites into the batter gently.
Spoon scoops of batter into a hot, greased frying pan. When they’re browned on the bottom, flip them over and cook briefly. Serve with maple syrup or your favorite pancake topping.
The stunning snowflake images were created by Kenneth G. Libbrecht. To see more, go to – www.SnowCrystals.com.