Our dear friend Erin (who has the greatest blog URL, ever) is pregnant with twins, which has me thinking about Swedish pancakes.
Allow me to explain.
A twin pregnancy is one best fueled with a high-calorie (3000/day), high protein (120 grams/day) diet. Which, when it comes right down to it, means a lot of eggs: they are compact, flavorful, and (most of all) versatile. When my dear wife was in the midst of a twin pregnancy, we ate a lot of Swedish pancakes. So I thought I’d post the latest iteration of the recipe in the hopes of inspiring a few more bites of protein (along with some other good stuff) for Erin. It’s for the children, don’t you know.
The proportions are essentially the same as they were in my last recipe, but the method is entirely different. The challenge which everyone faces with pancakes is the proper amount of stirring: too much and your pancakes are tough and too flat, too little and they are lumpy. One chef/food scientist I consulted suggested pre-mixing the batter the night before. This way, the batter could be whipped to perfect smoothness yet still allow the gluten to relax overnight. Which worked fine, but which tended to coagulate the butter as it re-chilled overnight (and it didn’t incorporate well in the morning, either). It is still the way to go if you are, say, making pancakes for forty of your dearest friends at a church retreat, but I found a better way for home.
I was watching the great Eric Ripert cook on TV, making crepes (naturally). And what he did was to beat the eggs well, then add the flour and beat that until it was integrated and shiny. Something about the fat in the egg yolks coats the flour or something… I’m not sure. What I do know is that you get no lumps, you don’t even need to sift the flour, and it is much faster.
1. This recipe only makes enough pancakes for 1.65 people. But it is my father’s traditional recipe, so we will retain it. I always double it, at the very least. Besides, these things keep well in the fridge and are still tender after a brief trip in the microwave.
2. There is just something about lingonberries. They are the perfect blend of sour and sweet, and don’t taste too bad with some real maple syrup, either. It is best if you buy them at IKEA, since it provides a good excuse to buy some Swedish meatballs as well.
3. Cast iron rulz. Yes, you can make them in a wide non-stick skillet. But a properly seasoned cast-iron griddle (that’s a round pan with very low sides) has even heating, is essentially non-stick, and far more durable. It also feels really good in your hand. Plus my dad uses one, and gave me mine.
4. Whole wheat is a whole lot better. I generally use half unbleached white flour, and half whole wheat. The whole wheat flour gives them a bit more earthy flavor, a nice bite, and makes them a little more filling. But they are still light and slightly fluffy.
5. I used to use a very low flame, cooking each pancake for many minutes. But I’m getting better results now with about a 30% full flame under the skillet. You barely have time to sip your coffee between flips, but the pancakes have a better texture and come a lot quicker.
1/2 cup flour (half white, half whole wheat)
1 cup milk
2 tsp sugar
dash or two of vanilla extract
1/2 stick melted butter
Place skillet over medium-low flame to preheat. Whisk eggs, then incorporate flour until lumps are gone and a shiny surface is evident. Mix in milk, sugar, and vanilla while butter melts in skillet. Then pour in butter while simultaneously whisking mixture to incorporate butter. Let batter sit for several minutes before cooking.
Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into skillet, or enough to coat entire surface in a thin layer when the hot pan is gently swirled around. Flip once, and serve with jam, maple syrup, lingonberries, whipped cream, powdered sugar, or all of the above.
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