Naleśniki: Polish Rolled Pancakes with Fruit Preserves

Throughout much of American history, immigrants were encouraged to “assimilate” to life in the United States, putting aside language, dress and social morés from the “old country.” Many retained their ethnic foods as visceral links to home. By the 1960s and 70s Americans were expressing a growing interest in world cultures. As part of this movement there was a renewed sense of celebration of Americans of all ethnicities and food was an egalitarian and popular medium to explore these themes.

Time Life publishing produced a series of recipe-based books about world foods, including American Cooking: The Melting Pot about the American melting pot featuring the Kowalsky family of Westport—Polish immigrants who were successful farmers and then, later, building contractors. 

To make 28 pancakes 


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 12 ounces fruit preserves (cherry, raspberry or strawberry) 
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind 
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled 
  • Confectioners’ sugar 


To make the pancake batter in an electric blender, combine the flour, eggs, milk, water, sugar and salt in the blender jar and blend them at high speed for a few seconds. Turn off the machine, scrape down the sides of the jar with a rubber spatula, and blend again for 40 seconds. 

To make the batter by hand, stir the eggs and milk together, then beat in the flour, water, sugar and salt with a whisk or a rotary or electric beater. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve set over a bowl. 

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the fruit preserves and grated lemon rind. Set aside. 

Heat a 60 inch crêpe pan or skillet over high heat until a drop of water flicked onto it evaporates instantly. With a pastry brush, lightly grease the bottom of the pan with about ½ teaspoon of the melted butter. Pour 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan and tip the pan so that the batter quickly covers the bottom; the batter should cling to the pan and begin to firm up almost immediately.

Cook the pancake for a minute or so, until a rim of brown shows around the edge. Turn it over with a spatula and cook for another 1 or 2 minutes, or until pancake is lightly browned. When the package is done, spread it with 2 heaping tablespoons of a fruit-preserve filling, roll it loosely into a cylinder, and place it in a baking dish in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the rest of the pancake batter, adding butter to the skillet as needed. Serve the pancakes warm, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar.