How to make Czech pancakes (lívance)

pancakes on a table in Prague

The most delicious Czech breakfast treat…

Lívance, oh lívance; such tasty little Czech treats you are. For those unlucky people who are not in the know, lívance are leavened Czech pancakes. Don’t be afraid, they’re just as simple to make as American pancakes, except I’ve found them to be consistently better in both taste and texture.

Being yeasted, they’ll take some extra time to make, but are really worth the wait. It’s easy enough to make the batter and then just enjoy a reading break in the meantime. Or, because we’re adults, make the batter the night before and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. They’ll be ready for you in the morning, and you’ll be thanking your past self.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup/250ml milk
  • 2 tbsp/25g butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1½ cups/200g all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 large egg

Instructions:

  • Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan to melt the butter.
  • In a mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, yeast and salt.
  • Making sure the milk and butter mixture is not too hot* (so as not to kill the yeast), combine it with the dry ingredients and beat in the egg.
  • Let the batter rise, covered, until it doubles in size — usually about an hour, although it varies depending on room temperature and humidity.
  • Heat up a large skillet (or a crumpet pan if you have one). Add enough butter to coat the cooking surface of the pan you’re using and add about a 1/4 cup of batter per pancake.
  • Cook until you see bubbles popping on the surface of the pancake, usually 2-3 minutes, then flip to cook the other side until it is nicely browned too, usually another 2-3 minutes.

*Generally if you can hold a finger immersed in the liquid for a few seconds comfortably, the yeast will be comfortable too.

Serve brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar or your favourite jam on top. It should go without saying that whipped cream is important, too. If you’re still in the Czech Republic, pick up a jar of Švestková povidla (plum butter) at any grocery store before you leave and smother it on your lívance — there’s nothing better!

Though they’re not as lavish as French crêpes and not as fast as American pancakes, these lívance can still hold their own. This is one of my favourite desserts… or breakfasts. And many restaurants have their own recipes, making a pancake crawl through Prague a delicious possibility. If you’re looking to try them, some of our recommended stops would be U Pinkasů or U Šumavy, two places where you can have a good beer with your pancakes as we usually do on our Beer and Tapas Tour, and also Café Sladkovský (pictured above with their deliciously classic blueberry lívance), where they even have a version with proper maple syrup and always makes for a nice coffee break in an interesting part of the city. No matter where you end up tasting these, you’ll be sure to enjoy them.

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Tour Guide @ Prague Urban Adventures. Brewer of beer and lover of food, culture, history, wine, and every combination of those one can imagine.

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