Pancakes have been emblematic of spring for centuries. Eggs are the essence of new life, and the round shape of pancakes symbolizes the sun — plus pancakes are meatless, and came to be associated with Lenten fasting.

In this country, we like pancakes for breakfast, and it never feels like deprivation to be presented with a stack of fragrant griddle cakes dripping with melted butter and Maine maple syrup.

Here are two very different types of pancakes — rather traditional griddle cakes and an oven pancake that puffs impressively like a souffle.

BUTTERMILK-CORNMEAL PANCAKES

These cakes have a pleasingly sour tang from buttermilk and a bit of crunch provided by the addition of some cornmeal.

Makes 12 4-inch pancakes (2 to 4 servings)

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk, plus 2 to 3 tablespoons if necessary

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, whisk the egg with the 1 cup of buttermilk and the melted butter until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour with cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour milk mixture over the dry ingredients and whisk gently just until flour is moistened. Do not overmix.

Heat a lightly oiled cast-iron griddle or skillet over medium heat. Stir in a bit of the remaining buttermilk if batter is too thick. Spoon about 3 tablespoons batter onto the griddle for each pancake. Cook until the undersides are golden brown and the tops are speckled with burst bubbles, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until the undersides are lightly browned and the centers spring back when lightly pressed, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve immediately, or keep warm in a 200-degree oven while making the remaining pancakes. Pass the butter and maple syrup.

PUFFED APPLE-SKILLET PANCAKE

Kids love the way this simple batter seems to magically puff in the oven. This slightly sweet pancake is great for breakfast, and makes a lovely addition to a brunch.

Servings: 4

4 tablespoons butter

4 cups cored, peeled and sliced medium-sweet apples such as Macoun or golden delicious

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk, whole or low-fat

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar for sifting over top

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In an 11- or 12-inch, preferably cast-iron, skillet with ovenproof handle, melt butter over medium heat. Spoon out 2 tablespoons of the butter and transfer it to a large bowl. Add apples to remaining butter in the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook until apples are almost tender, about 5 more minutes. Flatten into an even layer and set skillet aside.

Break eggs into the bowl with the reserved butter. Add salt, milk and vanilla, and whisk until blended. (The mixture will still be slightly lumpy.) Place the flour in a sieve and sift it over the egg mixture. Whisk gently until just combined. Do not overmix. Pour batter over apples.

Bake in preheated oven until pancake is puffed, golden and crisp around the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle heavily with powdered sugar and serve immediately, cut in wedges. (Remember that the skillet handle is hot!)

Brooke Dojny is author or co-author of more than a dozen cookbooks, most recently “Dishing Up Maine” (Storey Publishing 2006) and “The New England Clam Shack Cookbook” (Storey 2008). She lives on the Blue Hill peninsula.