Bubbe’s Bubula – Recreating my Grandma’s Puffy Matzo Meal Pancake

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Bubbe’s back just in time for National Pancake Day.

(photo courtesy of my brother)

Some things are just meant to be. About a month ago a few other bloggers – Chow and Chatter, Globetrotter Diaries and Yumivore, – and I agreed in a Twitter conversation it would be great fun to all post a pancake recipe on March 1st in honor of National Pancake Day. I agreed as long as it was after Feb 19 – the day of my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, because I knew I would be a little distracted (understatement) until it was over.

As it turns out, my pancake post was born while chatting with my cousin from Florida who was visiting for the big Bat Mitzvah event. And of all my relatives to discuss food with, she used to be the most unlikely candidate. Of her many and varied successful occupations over the years, one of them included professional dancing which required a tiny body and very little eating. On top of which she was picky about her food. But who says people don’t change?

Sunday is now her cooking day and while she was here, we had many conversations about how she manages her pescatarian diet and her husband’s specialized diet for his Parkinson’s disease. And I introduced her to food blogs! We searched on Google and Twitter and I think she might be hooked. During one of these conversations, we discussed what recipe I might use or create for my upcoming pancake post and she quickly said: Why don’t you make Grandma’s bubula? A stroke of genius.

A bubula (like the Yiddish word that is a term of endearment) is a matzo meal and egg based pancake. You could probably categorize it as an omelet too but it really ends up looking more like one of those puffy apple pancakes. And for me, the taste evokes only happy memories of my Grandma with her thick glasses, denture-filled smile, and short, stubby hands that worked challah dough like only a grandma can. I hadn’t eaten a bubula or attempted to cook one in years. So I emailed my mom, who didn’t learn to cook any of my grandma’s other baked goods, but has turned out a few good bubula’s over the years. And she actually emailed me back a rough recipe. Thanks mom!

Here’s my mom’s directions verbatim from the email (yes she is 81 and uses email and texts):

“I used to make one with two eggs separated. Beat the egg whites to stiff peak and then gently add the yellow of eggs together with some matzoh meal. Just enough to give it some body and add some seltzer water to help it rise. Mix very gently and pour into frying pan. I always used oil instead of butter. Fry on one side and gently turn over to brown on other side. Should come out so that when you put in fork it doesn’t fall apart. Put sugar on top {sprinkle as you like} and enjoy with coffee, wine or any way you wish.”

I think my mom missed her calling as a recipe writer.

Now for the step-by-step with photos:

  • 2 eggs, separated into medium bowls
  • 2 tblsps of matzo meal (if you don’t have matzo meal, you can make your own by putting some pieces of matzo in a Cuisinart and pulse them until they are finely ground)
  • 1 tblsp of sparkling water (seltzer)
  • a pinch of salt
  • canola oil or similar to your preference
  • sugar
  • cinnamon

Separate 2 eggs. Put the whites in a medium bowl, big enough for whipping them. Place the yellows in a similar size bowl.

Egg Yolks, Salt, Matzo Meal, and Seltzer

To the yolks, add 2 tablespoons of matzo meal, one tablespoon of sparkling water (seltzer), and a pinch of salt. Combine, using a small whisk or fork.

Egg Yolk Mixture Combined, Ready for Egg Whites

Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and then fold the egg whites into the yellow mixture.

Egg Whites Folded In and Ready for Pan

Heat a small skillet on medium to medium high. Once heated, add one tablespoon of oil, then add the matzo meal mixture.

In the Pan Almost Ready to be Flipped

Cook until you see it sizzle around the edges and firm up. Then, depending on your skill in the kitchen, you can either flip the pancake like a pro or grab a spatula to turn it over. (Dormant chef flipped, I used a spatula) It should be nicely browned.

Flipped and Almost Ready to Eat!

It only needs to cook briefly on the flip side to brown and finish firming up the interior.

Flip the bubula onto a plate, sprinkle with granulated sugar. A little cinnamon is nice too. Powdered sugar would be attractive but I have always loved the texture of the granulated sugar with the matzo meal pancake.

My son pointed out that syrup might be a nice accompaniment. I grew up eating it plain with just sugar on top but a flavored syrup or perhaps even yogurt or sour cream might be lovely. Fresh berries would be a nice addition as well.

Thanks Grandma for making a repeat appearance just in time for National Pancake Day. And readers, leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite pancake recipe. Even if it starts with a mix, please share your family traditions. We love pancakes in our house – eating them almost every Sunday morning. How about you?

And remember to visit Chow and Chatter’s blog and follow her on Twitter @chowandchatter, Globetrotter Diaries’s blog and follow her on Twitter @globetrottings and Yumivore’s blog and follow her on Twitter @yumivore. They are all posting interesting and tasty cultural perspectives on pancakes just in time for National Pancake Day.

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40 Responses to Bubbe’s Bubula – Recreating my Grandma’s Puffy Matzo Meal Pancake

  1. Richard Bernhardt February 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

    Yummy on my tummy. So, your Bubula used seltzer. That is a very interesting idea! I’ve never added soda or seltzer to this recipie. The only ingredient that is very very different to me is the cinnamon. Never tried that. Otherwise, you have me fawning for latkes. Have a great day! :)

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

      First time I tried cinnamon as well – but it was yummy. But my favorite is still just granulated sugar. A bubula with granulated sugar is still one of my ultimate comfort foods.

      As for the seltzer, we also use it in Matzo balls to aid in the fluffiness. Does it really work? Who knows but it definitely doesn’t hurt!

  2. rebecca February 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    what a wonderful post Grandmas are the best must try these so fluffy delicious was fun to do with with you Beth

    Rebecca

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

      She was the best Grandma. I miss her every single day.

      Loved doing this post with you guys. Definitely up for another round!

      I have some strawberries in the fridge just waiting to be sliced and eaten with pancakes!

  3. sandy corman February 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    The bubula looks perfect. You have inspired me to try one soon. They are delicious.
    Thanks for compliment on recipe instrux. And thanks for picture of Grandma. Mom

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:10 pm #

      So easy and your recipe was perfect. All I added was a pinch of salt to bring out the flavor. Give it a try – not too complicated.

  4. Karen at Globetrotter Diaries February 28, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Wonderful recipe. This was great! Glad we could all do this together.. happy pancake day!

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

      Karen – thanks. I can’t wait to try your scallion pancakes. I know my family will love them. This was great fun. Up for working on something together again for sure.

  5. Orly @yumivore February 28, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    First Mazal Tov on the Bat Mitzvah! The only thing stopping me from devouring these right now is my computer screen (ok it’s a big show stopper) but luckily you’re in my neck of the woods, and I’d gladly schlepp over if you’re cooking! Agree with Rebecca and shared with Karen, it would be lovely to all meet and have a nosh! This has been such fun!

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      Thanks Orly! The Bat Mitzvah was such a huge success. My daughter was a superstar and all the meals and gatherings were wonderful. Now I’m catching up on life and looking forward to scheduling a meet-up with you! If you want to come my way and eat bubulas – I’m game!

      This was a great collaboration – would do it again in a heartbeat. If we could put four posts together like that without really planning, imagine what else we could do!

  6. Georgia B. March 1, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    OMG! this sounds so yummy!!! And I’m on a diet!! I’m trying the Atkins diet, but I may have to cheat tonight. I mean, how can I miss Pancake Day?!
    And Mazel Tov on the Bat Mitzvah! I’m assuming it went swimmingly well. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there.
    And what a great picture of Bubbe!!! Hmmmm. Making me weepy — no fair! xoxo

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

      A bubula isn’t that far off the Atkins – it’s mostly eggs :-)

      Bat Mitzvah was fantastic – we missed having you there. Will share more pictures soon.

      That picture of my Grandma makes me smile every time I see it. You would have loved her.

      We will be in New York City in April. Will be in touch with details.

  7. Mommy Crib Notes March 1, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Emm, these look delicious! I love eggy, doughy treats like popovers, apple pancakes and such. These look right up my tastefood alley.

    • omgyummy March 1, 2011 at 9:25 pm #

      Try one – it’s different from your typical pancake but really fun to eat. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. rsmacaalay March 2, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    I never had tried one of those but it looks similar to the Filipino Bibingka

  9. MommyMatter March 2, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    Nice, have to try these, thanks!

  10. Alexandria Campbell March 2, 2011 at 11:20 am #

    these look so delicious and are going on my shopping list to make this weekend.

    *here from sits

  11. Julie m. March 2, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    What a beautiful pancake you’ve created here! The recipes handed down from family members are truly the best ones.

    Thanks so much for the sweet comment over at my end. And yep, I’m coming to Blogher Food. It’s going to be so great to meet everyone!

  12. Laura Santamaria March 3, 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    thank you for the comment on my blog! that pancake looks so delicious i’m quite hungry for some delicious food right now!
    i’m subscribing to your blog!

  13. Serene March 4, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    Oh, I HAVE to make this.

    Our favorite pancakes are my mom’s latkes, but second place is probably a basic buttermilk that I adapted from an Tyler Florence recipe.

  14. Kristen March 10, 2011 at 6:34 pm #

    Your grandma is simple adorable and your mom is awesome as well. I love recipes that evoke these kind of memories!

  15. Jun Belen March 12, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    Your mom is 81 and she’s hooked on technology? Very impressive! But I’m more impressed by your bubula. I could imagine that the matzo adds great texture to the pancake. I’d love to try this out with a splash of syrup on top. Thank you for sharing!

  16. Stephanie March 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    That looks soooo so tasty!!

  17. Otehlia Cassidy April 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    I love the way those cakes look so hearty! Yummy, for sure. Love your blog…

  18. Carol Sacks February 28, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    What a sweet post! Reminds me of watching my grandmother make matzo brei. Glad you re-posted!

    • omgyummy February 28, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      aaahh – matzo brei – it’s almost Passover time isn’t it? Getting very hungry sitting here in Starbucks trying to write about food!

  19. Mindi March 5, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Yummm!!! Need to make these. I love that your mom uses e-mail and texts at 81. Awesome!

    • omgyummy March 25, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      I love that too! She definitely has lots of chutzpah!

  20. Harri March 25, 2012 at 9:00 am #

    Was making them for years and completely forgot the receipe. Just found it in your blog. Thank you Harri

    • omgyummy March 25, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      Oh you are so welcome. It is comments like this that make every minute I spend creating this blog so worth it! Hope it came out just the way you remembered it!

  21. thefolia July 15, 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Bubula here we try! We love pancakes in our nest. We usually use Pamela’s as the base and then add whatever fruit or vegetables we have on hand. Simply saying Bubula and my little ones break into laughter!

  22. Hannah March 25, 2013 at 7:15 am #

    Such a sweet post, Beth! What a lovely tribute to your Bubbe and it’s wonderful to document such a marvelous family recipe. I’m adding this to our Passover breakfasts this week. Love your step-by-step directions, too. Thanks for sharing!

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