Dessert Pancakes – Mid-Century Recipe Guest Test Sunday

Posted on Dec 29 2013 - 5:00am by Erica

Sometimes you get a recipe that you know will be doomed to failure. And then there are recipes like Dessert Pancakes, which shouldn’t be bad… but then you try making it…


3.0 from 1 reviews
Dessert Pancakes
  • 8 small thin pancakes
  • 2 slices Libby's Pineapple, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. pineapple syrup
  • ½ cup pineapple syrup
  • 1½ tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbsp. butter or margarine
  1. These may be made before dinner and kept covered in a warm place until ready to serve. Sauce and filling may also be made ahead of time.
  2. For 4 people, make 8 small thin pancakes. (With prepared mix, use 1 cup mix to 1¼ cups water.) Place 1 tbsp. filling on each, roll up loosely, and serve with sauce.
  3. FILLING: Cream 2 tbsp. butter. Add ½ cup powdered sugar and cream together thoroughly. Gradually add 2 tbsp. pineapple syrup.
  4. SAUCE: Stir ½ cup pineapple syrup into 1½ tsp. cornstarch. Add 1 tbsp. each of lemon juice, grated lemon rind, butter or margarine. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cook 3 minutes longer. Add 2 slices Libby's Pineapple, cut into pieces.
  5. Serve hot. Serves 4.


So all I need to do is make 8 thin pancakes, some filling, and a sauce to put on top. Easy! Where’s my can of Libby’s Pineapple?

Problem #1: The only can of Libby’s available in the store was canned in pineapple juice sweetened with Splenda. This seemed neither retro nor the proper consistency, since the “heavy syrup” is an unusually important component — so instead we settled on a store brand can of pineapple in heavy syrup.

But we have to deal with ingredient problems all the time. Still easy! Where are my pancakes?


Problem #2: The pancakes. Oh those pancakes.

More accurately, the recipe seems to want me to make crepes (a thin pancake that is rolled up and filled with something). A crepe pancake is easy in theory (double the liquid in the batter, spread out when pouring), difficult in practice. Not only is it problematic to spread the batter (not too fast, not too slow), but flipping is crazy — if the pancake doesn’t tear, it crumples and folds all over itself. And of course after I’ve made the eight I need (plus a large selection of pancake wads), Buzz realizes that he knows all about making crepes, because he is very good at blintzes.

But the filling won’t be bad, because it’s just butter and sugar and syrup and I can let the stand mixer handle it!


We always pre-measure everything when cooking (which is usually a great time-saver). Problem #3: When I asked which of the bowls on the counter had the pineapple syrup, Buzz pointed out the one with lemon juice. I mixed up a delicious tart, sweet filling… only to realize it was completely wrong.

I’m sure the sauce will go better, now that we’ve gotten all these stupid mistakes out of the way.


Problem #4: This sauce was just absurd. It was orange — a rather nice pale cantaloupe color, but not something I would associate with pineapple. It smelled funky. I did get it to thicken quickly, but I held my breath the whole time I was stirring it.


There wasn’t actually a problem with filling and assembling the pancakes, but by this point I was completely sick of the entire thing, and had wasted quite a lot of time. We were late for a kid’s activity, so I stuck everything in the fridge and left the house for a while instead of tasting immediately.


Problem #5: When the pineapple sauce was chilled for a few hours, it got really thick and sticky. You could hold your plate vertically and the pancakes wouldn’t move.

serving1 serving2 serving3

Buzz doesn’t really look like much of anything here — but this is the most expressive face I saw while he was eating these.

Verdict: Mediocre.

Tasting Notes:

The first bite wasn’t bad, but they quickly got worse. It was quite a lot of sugar, and the pineapple flavors were not strong enough to compete with the sweetness. Even without all my missteps along the way, this was a lot of work for a not very impressive product. However, the neighbors would probably be pretty impressed by presentation if you served plates of these for dessert.

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Erica was inspired to learn to cook by a complete lack of home economics classes in high school, and a love of old books. When using antique cookbooks to teach herself some skills, she realized a lot of the recipes were pretty strange by modern standards. All that fun testing just begged to be shared with the world. Regular recipe testing can be found here on Mid-Century Menu, on Erica's Retro Recipe Attempts blog, and also I Ate The 80's.

6 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. dkzody December 29, 2013 at 10:39 am - Reply

    This is when that crepe maker that was featured a few weeks ago would come in handy. Or, in my case, my very small skillet that I use for crepes after trying the fancy crepe maker and finding it more trouble than it’s worth. Crepes were a very popular food in the 70s. I even did whole dinner parties with crepes so I became quite adept at making them. Savory and sweet. This recipe looks to be just an easy way to make up a quick dessert. I know, you didn’t find it very easy, but from how we cooked back then to now, it is an easy recipe.

    • Erica December 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm - Reply

      It absolutely should have been easier. The crepes in particular — I was getting better at making them towards the end, but I was also getting a lot more frustrated and annoyed, which isn’t a good state of mind to be attempting to make thin, delicate pancakes 😀

  2. Lassie December 29, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

    You put less than a cup of filling ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer? Wasn’t that overkill?

    • Erica December 29, 2013 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      I don’t really disagree, but I had a lot going on in the kitchen so I just let the power tool handle it. (I also hadn’t completely softened the butter, and letting it get punched around by the stand mixer is a good shortcut.)

    • Buzz December 29, 2013 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Since the stand mixer is so handy, we never replaced the handheld electric beater after it was destroyed by election cake.

  3. Buzz December 29, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    I was also not convinced that the “heavy syrup” surrounding the pineapple was anything other than slightly thickened pineapple juice. It certainly did not seem like the gooey liquid I remember canned fruit being packed in throughout my childhood.

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