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Up until I was contacted by Nordic Foods to create and photograph a Swedish recipe, my understanding of Swedish cuisine was, embarrassingly, this:
I know. I’m the worst.
Clearly, Swedish cuisine warranted a little more research on my behalf. Because if it wasn’t the Swedish Chef, I could also talk about Ikea meatballs! Or, no.
In any case, I began this project knowing little to nothing of Swedish cuisine, and since then, I have to say I’ve become quite a fan. The Swedes are a foraging, hunting, fresh-food supporting crew, and I loved tinkering around with ideas and inspiration in preparation for this post.
Since I’ve always been a bit of a rabid fan of creperies (and who doesn’t love a place dedicated to making crepes and only crepes?), I was thrilled to see that the Swedes have their own version of the world’s loveliest pancake. And, even better, it’s called a “Pannkakor”, otherwise known as the coolest word ever for “pancake”.
Pannkakor is slightly thicker than a French-style crepe, and is usually served with sour cream and lingonberry jam. Since I’m currently visiting family in Northern Michigan and unable to get my hands on lingonberries (a tart, juicy berry indigenous to the Nordic cuisine that is not widely available in The Middle of Nowhere, Michigan) I made do with blackberries and made a thick, vanilla scented jam. Smeared on a pannkakor and sprinkled with powdered sugar, I ate five pancakes before dinner and then wasn’t hungry for healthy food. Smart.
I couldn’t find a recipe that really jived well with the blackberry jam at first. The first batch I created was a little too sweet, with not enough depth. This was solved by switching out some of the white sugar for dark brown sugar, which ended up giving the pannkakor a deeper, more nuanced flavor, not to mention helped them toast to a better shade of mottled brown. Therefore, that brown sugar in the final recipe is essential, and I don’t recommend skipping it.
At the end, I’m thrilled to have been asked to delve more into an unknown cuisine and discover something more about Sweden. After all, it’s a country that not only brought me the trendy particleboard furniture currently decorating most of my apartment, but inspired my favorite Muppet and created these incredible pancakes. You’re not so bad yourself, Sweden.
Swedish Pancakes (Pannkakor) Recipe
Swedish Pancakes (Pannkakor) Ingredients
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon sour cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white flour
- 1 pinch of salt
Blackberry Vanilla Jam Ingredients
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 quart fresh blackberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cinnamon stick
Swedish Pancakes (Pannkakor) Instructions
- Whisk together the eggs, sour cream milk and butter until thoroughly combined, then add the sugars and stir to dissolve.
- Sift the flour and the salt together, then slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing with a whisk only until all the ingredients are incorporated. Make sure not to overbeat the batter, as this can toughen the pancakes.
- Heat a small, non-stick saucepan over high heat. Add a small pat of butter, swirling it around to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour in a little batter (I found about 1/3 of a cup was perfect) and tilt the pan so that the batter evens out. Using a spatula, gently lift the pancake away from the sides of the pan, pushing the spatula a little more underneath the pancake each time. Be careful doing this- you don’t want the pancake to break, and the spatula will only slide cleanly underneath if the pancake has cooked through. Carefully flip the pancake and toast the other side, then transfer onto a plate and allow to cool slightly. Do this until all the batter is gone.
- The pancakes will keep for up to two days if covered in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator.
Blackberry Vanilla Jam Instructions
- Melt the butter and vanilla together in the bottom of a heavy pot, over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick and sugar and stir to slightly dissolve the sugar. Add the blackberries and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.
- Once the jam has boiled, bring it back down to a simmer and allow it to cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes to half an hour. Stir often, breaking the blackberries up with the spoon as you go.
- To test if the jam is ready, drop a spoonful onto a bowl or small plate, and place in the freezer for about ten minutes. the jam is ready if the spoonful jiggles when removed from the freezer. If it’s not ready, cook another 10 minutes and test again.
- When the jam is cooked, remove the cinnamon stick and transfer the contents of the pot to a glass jar. If you’re canning the jam, now is the time to process the jar. If not, chill the jam, covered, for at least one hour before use.