Cook's Country (October 2010)
You know how, whenever you go to IKEA, there's always one thing that you get home with and think, "Hunh. Wait, why did we buy this, again?" And then it sits at your house for two years until you either throw it away or find some use for it.
Maybe it's a 100-pack of votive candles. Or an amorphous orange ceramic serving dish. Or, hey, maybe even a bookcase.
In our case, it was lingonberry jam.
We bought it earlier this year with the good intentions of throwing an Austrian-themed dinner inspired by a January 2010 Bon Appétit feature. Honestly, we just never got around to doing it. (In some alternate universe, we held that dinner party and become huge fans of Liptauer. And we're probably wearing lederhosen.)
Anyway, there was the lingonberry jam, staring us in the face every time we opened the pantry, taunting us.
Finally, we decided to do something about it. So we made these Swedish Pancakes.
We're actually on a bit of a pancake tear, having just made Blueberry-Banana Pancakes (delicious, if you haven't tried them).
We already knew we loved Swedish-style pancakes. On an post-college backpacking trip in Northern Europe, Zach essentially spent his days eating pancakes and then waiting to get hungry enough to eat some more pancakes. Clay's love affair with Sverige flapjacks was kindled only last year, during a trip to Vermont. We ate -- twice -- at the Dutch Pancake Cafe in Stowe, which serves a variety Scandanavian-style pancakes. (Cook's Country mentions that they also serve them at IHOP, though we are IHOP-less here in our Nation's Capital.)
If you haven't tried them, Swedish-style pancakes are like a cross between Western flapjacks and crepes, and they're traditionally served rolled on a plate and with lingonberry jam.
The terrific thing about this recipe is that it's actually easier than making traditional pancakes. The batter comes together in a snap -- thanks to a few unconventional ingredients, like club soda and instant flour.
Once you've got the batter, just swirl it in a hot buttered pan, cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side, and then remove to a plate to keep warm. The only "trick" here is that you want to make sure the pancake is nice and thin -- way thinner than a Western pancake -- so pay close attention to the scoop-size and pan-size in the recipe below.
Since the pancakes cook so quickly, you've got a heaping stack of them in no time.
The taste is heavenly. They're rich and buttery, soft and silky smooth. Thanks to the, ahem, 9 tablespoons of butter, the pancakes have a golden, almost savory flavor.
Rolled on a plate and smothered in sweet, tart lingonberry jam? It's your best morning ever.
Oh, and just to take things into the stratosphere, we did make one addition to the recipe. We cooked some bacon separately and then crumbled a little into each pancake once the batter was in the pan. How'd it taste? Are you kidding?!
Anyway, if you're a pancake fan, give Aunt Jemima a rest and look toward Sweden. You'll be glad you did.
Makes 15 pancakes, serving 4 to 6
This recipe needs instant flour, such as Wondra or Pillsbury Shake & Blend. Keep the pancakes warm, covered, in a 200-degree oven. Serve with lingonberry jam, as the Swedes do, or your favorite jam.
2 cups instant flour (see note)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups club soda
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs plus 2 yolks, lightly beaten
1. MAKE BATTER Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Slowly whisk half-and-half, club soda, 4 tablespoons butter, eggs, and yolks into flour mixture until smooth.
2. COOK PANCAKES Brush surface and sides of 10-inch nonstick skillet with 1 teaspoon butter and heat over medium heat. When butter stops sizzling, pour 1/3 cup batter into skillet, tilting pan to evenly coat bottom with batter. Cook until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer to plate and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining butter and remaining batter. Serve.
MAKE AHEAD: Swedish pancakes can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month. Layer cooled pancakes between parchment paper, wrap in plastic, and transfer to zipper-lock bag. To serve, microwave stack of 3 pancakes on 50 percent power until heated through, 10 to 20 seconds.