Friday, 1 February 2013

Finnish pancakes

The Finnish pancake (sometimes I've also seen it referred to as a Dutch pancake in recipes, what's up with that?!?) is very different from the US pancakes. The Finnish pancake has less flour and more eggs, it's not fluffy at all but more dense and a bit gooey (and I'm using the term gooey very lovingly here). And it's much less high maintenance compared to its American cousin, as it's baked in the oven and doesn't require anyone to slave at the stove flipping pancakes while watching the rest of the people eat them faster than you can get them off the pan opand onto a plate.

I know this is entirely a matter of taste and preference, both which are heavily influenced by what you have gotten used to and grown up with. But as much as I love a good stack of American pancakes (with butter and maple syrup) the Finnish pancake just has that special place in my heart which is only reserved for things which make me remember happy moments of my childhood.

When we were kids, me and my sister always spent Tuesday evenings at the stables, as that was the day of our riding lessons. Or maybe it was Wednesday... Anyways, it was the best day of the week, no doubt. My sister had her riding lesson first, and me and my friends had ours after that. And obviously we would sit out there in the riding hall to watch each other's lessons. Which in the winter got really cold, as there was no heating. As long as you were on horseback you were ok (riding really is a physical sport which gives you a good work out, just take my word for it if you haven't had any hands (or legs) on experience). And I still remember that penetrating cold, your thighs would start to tingle and you lost all feeling in fingers and toes. And still it was really sad when my mum or dad would come and pick us up from the stables, as that meant it would be another week before we would get to spend time with the horses again. But when we got home, the sauna was hot for us to warm up our frozen limbs. The fingers and toes would tingle when you had a warm shower before entering the sauna, and then warmth would slowly start spreading over your body until after sitting there for a while, it just got too hot and you had to slip back out to take a cool shower. I still love that feeling of anticipation when you are really cold, but know that soon you will be warm again. Unfortunately I don't get to enjoy that often enough these days, especially as the sauna at the gym is a disgrace and nowhere near warm enough to get to that blissful state of overheating. What has this all to do with pancake you ask? Well, obviously that was what my mum had cooked for me and Sis for supper after the sauna. It was always baked in a large black oven sheet, and the best bits were the edges which were drier and crispier than the gooey middle. It was usually enjoyed with berries and my mum's home made strawberry jam (well it wasn't proper jam, it was more like mashed up strawberries frozen with a bit of sugar, and it was so much better than jam because it tasted more of strawberries and less of sugar). Every time I have Finnish pancake, that is the memory it brings to my mind. And that is why it will always taste better to me than any other pancakes.

Because the crispy edges of the pancake are much better than the middle, I though the idea of making mini pancakes in muffin tins or moulds was a genius one. This gives a perfect ratio of crispy edge and soft centre. I saw this pin on Pinterest, and it immediately went in the 'has to be tried' pile. And now I had the perfect excuse as I needed some practical take away brekkie for a morning on the go. I decided to reduce the amount of sugar a bit, and add some berries for extra flavour and vitamis. These pancakes only take a minute or two to prep, and can be baked the previous day for a grab and go in the morning. The are nice to eat cold, but I think pancake is best if eaten fresh, not hot out of the oven, but still warm after letting it cool for a while.


Mini pancakes (makes 6-8):

1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat)

15 g sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

100 g frozen mixed berries


According to my estimate (made using MyFitnessPal) one pancake (1/6 of the recipe) contains 90 kcal (2.9 g fat, 12 g carbs of which 3.5g sugar and 5.2 g protein).


The howto:

Preheat oven to 200 deges C. Mix flour, sugar and salt. Add milk and eggs and mix with a fork or wooden spoon. Distribute batter in individual muffin moulds (or pour in an oven proof tin to make one big pancake). Sprinkle frozen berries on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.

The verdict:

I loved them. Loved, loved loved. Also the culinary consultant seemed to enjoy them enough to have two, although he found them a bit tart. I don't think the whole wheat flour made them taste any healthier than regular all purpose flour would as the main flavour comes from the berries, but of course you are free to use any flour you want. I think I will experiment with using some other flours as well, maybe quinoa or spelt, why not even rice flour or some other gluten free variety. And you could add any flavouring you wanted, blueberries, cranberries, chocolate chips, raisins, pineapple, or whatever your heart desires. The traditional Finnish pancake doesn't have any topping at all, and it's really tasty on it's own as well, although for that I would probably add some more sugar. Overall, add more sugar if you find my variation with unsweetened mixed berries too tart, or leave it out completely (or replace by maple syrup or agave) if that's your preference. Or mashed ripe banana would also work perfectly to bring some flavour and sweetness. Ooh, that's my next attempt. Banana and chocolate chip pancake.

I baked my pancakes in my flower cupcake silicon mould. In the picture I turned two of the pancakes with the pretty flower side up, and left the other two upside down so you can see the berries and the puffy golden brown edges of the pancakes.



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