Swedish Pancakes

When it comes to Scandinavian food, it’s all to easy to fawn over the cool aesthetic of places like Noma or think that it’s all about cinnamon buns. However, something that I really like is one of the simplest things you can make – straightforward Swedish pancakes, served the merest dusting of icing sugar and topped with lingonberry jam.

swedishpancakes3

These are made with one of those handy-to-remember recipes, based on a ratio of 2-3-6. That’s 2 decilitres of flour, 3 eggs and 6 decilitres of milk. Yes, the decilitre. Odd, huh? This is something that you come across fairly rapidly if you dare to venture into Swedish cooking, but it does at first prompt a little confusion if you’re not used to it. It’s equivalent to 100ml, but as you might have worked out by now, I’ve got a bit of an aversion to volumes-based measurements. I’ll happily measure our liquids in a jug, but when it comes to dry ingredients, I always go with my natty set of digital scales. If you’ve never tried, you really need to get a set! So much easier for getting precise quantities. Never again do you need to worry about whether flour needs to be compacted or not before adding to batter…anyway…

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These pancakes are similar to crepes. The batter is very thin (you would think that the flour is not enough for all that milk, but it is!), so when you add the batter to the frying pan, you need to make sure you quickly spread the batter to get them thin and round. When it comes to flipping, you need to be quite confident with these little fellows. If you use a non-stick pan, then the butter in the batter will stop them from sticking. It’s then just a case of shaking the pan to loosen the pancake, and then you need to flip them with a firm, confident motion. Do it this way, and the pancake with do a mid-air somersault that should impress onlookers. However, if you lose your nerve, then you’ll end up with a pancake that folds itself in half and sticks into a big, doughy mass. Be confident!

The lack of sugar in the batter also means that these pancakes work equally well with savoury or sweet flavours. If you’re trying the keep with the Swedish theme, I’d add some cheese or mushrooms. Otherwise, jam is a favourite, with lingonberry being the classic.

Now, you may or may now know that I am a bit of a compulsive collector of all manner of edible berries. I subscribe to the school of thought that says you should never pick things that you are not completely sure of, so if you’re going to don your country finest and go foraging for berries this weekend, just stick with what you know.

Anyway, I was on a trip to Finland and managed to come away with a decent amount of lingonberries from the forest to the west of Helsinki. They made it back to London, and have been hidden in the back of the freezer for a while now. I thought they would be perfect with these pancakes – I just popped the berries into a saucepan, added some water and a little sugar (one quarter of the weight of the berries) and within minutes, I had a simple lingonberry compote. If you’re not familiar with the flavour, it’s sweet and tart, but less sharp than cranberries, and it’s great on top of pancakes. If you’re in Sweden, you’ll even find the stuff served with meat and potatoes. Sadly it was too much like jam for me to think of it as something to eat with savoury dishes!

These are great for breakfast – I make the batter the night before, so you can whip up a batch first thing in the morning.

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To make Swedish Pancakes (makes 16):

• 200 ml (100g) plain flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 600ml milk
• 3 eggs
• 3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1. In a bowl, mix the flour and salt with half the milk until smooth. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, and beat well. Leave to sit for 30 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).

2. Add the melted butter to the batter in a thin stream, stirring constantly.

3. Heat a non-stick frying pan on a medium heat. Add enough batter to make a think pancake, tilting the pan to make sure the batter is evenly spread. Cook until set, then shake to loosen the pancake. Flip and cook the other side.

Worth making? Of course. Who doesn’t like pancakes?

14 Comments

Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

14 responses to “Swedish Pancakes

  1. Ohh..one of my all time favorite “comfort foods”. Yours look absolutely delicious!

  2. meg

    Looks delicious!

  3. These look so good! Pancakes are such a staple. Yum!

    http://sometimesgracefully.com

  4. As a child, I’m sure I was weened on these. Only difference? My mum would make them with sour milk. Sounds sort of gross, but the final result is out of this world!
    The lingonberry jam is an absolute must. Now I must go off to drool somewhere.

    • Ah, that’s an interesting idea – in Scotland we have those little pancakes (called drop scones) which sometimes use buttermilk, so I can see how that would work. I’ll give it a try some time.

      I was totally in love with my lingonberries. It wasn’t really jam, there was not so much sugar, but the flavour was just fantastic. Made it worth the effort of bringing them back from Finland to London!

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  6. Rebecka

    I think pancakes was the first recipe I ever learned by heart. Although mine (or mum’s I suppose) is even simpler. 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 (or you know, 3 – 3 – 3 – 3 when making for the family and not just myself). That is 1 dl flour whisked with 1 dl milk. Then 1 egg, and 1 additional dl of milk. No salt, no butter. And no resting! I only ever rest waffle batter. Still perfect and delicious (gotta have butter in the pan though). I can’t flip them though so I just use a spatula.

    And oh man, speaking of measuring. Being Swedish I’ve been brought up with measuring everything by volume (except butter. The butter packages come with a “ruler” that shows you grams. So when recipes call for sticks or table spoons I need to start converting) and having it all in decilitres. It feels so weird and cumbersome using scales! But I know it’s way better.

    Lingonberry jam on pancakes? Really? I actually bought a new jar of that today (staple food!) but I’d never ever put it on pancakes. But as you say, here we eat it with savoury dishes (tbh I never eat it with anything sweet). I had it just the other day with rösti and bacon. Yum!
    With my pancakes I prefer jam (strawberry, raspberry, queen, forest… never lingon! Actually I think there’s a jam called “pancake jam”. Not sure what’s in it though, but I think it’s a mix. It’s red at least) and whipped cream or ice cream. OR sometimes just regular granulated sugar (maybe with some melted butter if the pancake is hot enough). When I was younger my parents sometimes filled rolled up pancakes with minced meat (cooked with tomatoes and such. Similar to bolognese), packed them together in an oven dish, sprinkled cheese on top and put them in the oven a little while. Tasty!

    You’re making me want pancakes now!
    To me it’s the perfect food for when you’re in the woods or something like that. The tiny version (plättar) is even better. Same batter but handy size. Should’ve made some for tomorrow as I’ll spend all day at an archaeological excavation without any place to heat food. Too late now! Maybe I’ll do it later in the week though. Cause damn, your pretty pictures make me crave some good ol Swedish pancakes.

    • Ha, I’ve tried a couple of methods, this was the one that I preferred, but to each his own! The butter is actually a lazy man’s shortcut when using a non-stick pan. By putting the melted butter into the batter, it means you don’t need to grease the frying pan with butter between each pancake. Not a major issue, but I tend to burn the butter too easily on my stove, whereas in the batter on a non-stick pan, works like a dream. And the resting is just something that I do out of habit – you can skip it, but if I’m doing pancakes on a Saturday, I’ll mix the batter the night before so I’m able just to heat, pour and eat in the morning. Again…the lazy man’s approach to breakfast.

      I love lingonberry jam on pancakes. It’s not as sweet as other jams and is still quite tart and sharp, which I really like. That, and I did happen to have a bag of frozen berries in the house, and heck – when am I ever going to use lingon berries otherwise?

      I did try some of these with cheese too – totally delish.

  7. I will try out this method, there soo many different ways, and I am still looking for the perfect one…but I guess I´ll never find it…😀

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