Holiday Breakfast: Swedish Pancakes Two Ways

Monday, December 5, 2011

I love Swedish pancakes. "Love" actually doesn't even begin to describe how I feel about them. Adore, treasure, obsessed are actually more accurate. They are such perfection -- so light and fluffy and delicate, a subtle sweetness in flavor that melts in your mouth. They're the opposite of spongy pancakes, or flat-as-a-board tortillas. They are, in a word, my favorite.

They are also shockingly easy to make. If you have the right tools. A good non-stick pan is a must for swedish pancakes. Butter to grease the pan each and every time will give you a perfectly formed cake without breaking the delicate lattice borders, and a simple batter that comes together in seconds can transform an otherwise boring breakfast into one fit for any special occasion.

version 1: traditional style served with lingonberry jam on the side
I base my recipe off of my good friend Chandra's recipe from her mother, a real authentic Swede herself. I add a twist by adding a small dash of vanilla to the batter for festive holiday aroma, and serve them two ways: some with traditional tart lingonberry jam whose color in particular is just perfect for the holiday season; and, an Italian twist for us Italians/Eastern Europeans, our other obsessions also known as Nutella.

version 2: using nutella

These pancakes will sure to delight any holiday breakfast and are perfect to whip up quickly on Christmas morning. I know you'll enjoy them as much as I do. Happy Holidays everyone!

Swedish Pancakes Two Ways
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick of unsalted butter -- for pan (you won't use all of it)
powdered sugar for dusting
lingonberry jam

special equipment: medium-sized non-stick pan

Whisk together the flour, eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. The consistency will be like very thin pancake batter. Set aside.

Preheat your nonstick pan on medium heat (I've found a level 5 out of 1-10 is perfect on my own range). Take the butter and holding one end with your hands, apply the other end to the pan, coating completely the bottom of the pan. You'll see the butter will begin to brown -- this is good and what you want -- it will help create that coveted lattice pattern on the edges. Ladle some of the batter into the pan. You want enough batter to thinly coat the entire bottom of the pan; too much batter and your pancakes will be a little thick, like a tortilla; too thin and they'll not be large enough. Take the pan with your hand and quickly swirl the batter around to help it coat the bottom evenly. Place on the stovetop and cook 1-2 minutes, until firm and you can pick it up with the spatula. Then gently loosen the sides of the pancake around the perimeter first with a rubber spatula. Then gently loosen the bottom, and pick it up, quickly flipping it over to cook the other side another 1-2 minutes.

Slide the pancake off onto a plate or working surface and place the pan back on the heat to rewarm for the next pancake. While it heats and working very quickly, fold over the cooked cake in half, then again to create the classic triangle shape. Set aside and repeat process with the batter until you've made your cakes.

To serve, lay out the pancakes in a decorative pattern either per plate or on a serving platter. Dust with a very generous dusting of powdered sugar and serve.

To serve with linonberry jam, add the jam on the side.

If making the nutella version, you'll have to spoon some of the nutella onto the pancake during the folding process: fold the large cake in half, then spread out some nutella (about a good tablespoon is fine), then fold the cake back over to create the triangle shape. Then dust finished nutella cakes with powdered sugar and serve.

These are best served piping hot, so it helps if you have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen -- one to cook the cakes while the other folds and serves (and stuffs if doing nutella). A garnish of fresh strawberries are also lovely.

*You can find lingonberry jam in the jam section of your grocery store. If you can't find it, Ikea actually puts out a really good version (not even kidding!)

**You can find nutella in the peanut butter section of the market. If you're up for an even more incredible pancake, add some thinly sliced banana to the nutella ones and a very small pinch of ground cinnamon on top. It's amazing.

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