No, this is not a metaphor that will go on to prove this or the other point — it’s time to talk about pancakes. Again.
More than eight years ago, I posted the only recipe that has ever went here, and for a place named Waffle, I thought it very fitting to post about: Swedish pancakes. (This brain, though remarkable, is not currently for hire.) The only reason this is now relevant is because I went on YouTube to see what the hivemind knows about Swedish pancakes. It was depressing. Lackluster performances by my compatriots and a bunch of Americans treating it in serving and preparation like a “cultural variant” that’s still best served as a supporting role in syrup and butter soup, like so many American pancakes.
So as long as I’m not posting anything of value here anyway, let’s repeat the recipe and some points.
- 4 dl / 1.6 cups flour (wheat flour)
- 2 eggs
- 6 dl / 2.6 cups milk
- a few pinches of salt (grains, not the sea/Kosher flakes)
- 50 to 100 grams / 1.5 to 3 oz melted butter (to taste)
An esoteric addition that most Swedes would not recognize is the following:
- 1 dl / 0.4 cups bran (wheat bran or oat bran will do) to provide some fiber
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla sugar (icing sugar mixed with vanilla extract or vanillin extract – hard to find in the US and possibly everywhere outside of Scandinavia, but I’m told IKEA stocks it)
Mix all dry ingredients in a bucket, then add in, while stirring, the wet ingredients in this order: milk, eggs, butter. Keep the relations of flour, eggs and milk the same even if you vary the rest. Let sit for ten minutes.
Bring the pan up to about 80%-90% and make sure the butter (or possibly canola — olive oil will ruin this) has browned before you start frying. Bring the pan down slowly over the course of several pancakes as the pan gets hotter. Pour in a thin pancake, enough to fill the pan, and fry one minute on each side. The texture should be crispy and the color should be tan to golden brown. Be swift and deliberate when flipping or setting aside or it will break. The first one will always come out worse. If they’re consistently pale, add heat or fifteen seconds of cooking time.
The recipe will make about 30 pancakes, and you’ll want between three to six pancakes in one go depending on filling. The batter refrigerates well.
Point 1: Do not use water instead of milk. Swap milk for something else if you can’t handle milk, but don’t use water.
Point 2: Swedish pancakes are not the brick thick American pancakes and the batter won’t allow that width-to-height ratio. They don’t contain a rising agent, so making them that thick will ruin them. Make them 5 mm thick – or about a third to a fourth of an American pancake – at most. Do not under any circumstances pour in batter and then turn on the stove. We are a quiet people who do not mean harm or want commotion, but we would introduce harsh penalties for this ridiculous affront on cooking.
Point 3: Do not eat them whole, do not quarter them or slice them up or origami them into funny hats. Put filling on them, hook a tine of your fork into the edge, then roll the pancake up into a tight spool, as tight as the fork will allow. You want four laps or more, since this is not a jam burrito.
Point 4: I said filling and I said jam: one teaspoon of strawberry jam (or possibly blueberry or raspberry jam) per pancake. Thin layers! Rolling means it accumulates. You can use diced fruit (apples and bananas work well) or nuts and you can mix that directly into the batter. You can even sprinkle sugar or use a small amount of syrup (although prefer the other alternatives first). What you can’t do is use “real food”. Meat, spices (live or not), vegetables, cheese, what have you — it won’t mix well. This still is not a burrito.
Point 5: At your leisure, ignore everything I said if you want to and keep doing bits and pieces in the American style. But it’ll make a worse meal, and you’ll go back to the full American meal the next time, and you’ll curse the Swedes (as so often) for their weird food, and I’ll know it’s because you didn’t make what you thought you made, and now you’ll know too. Or you could do it right, and return to it every so often (like reader and friend Shawn, who even makes this work as a vegan) because you didn’t make American pancakes with a Swedish Chef accent.