A few weeks ago, I received an email from the folks from Honest Cooking about participating in the NORTH Festival Food Blogger Outreach, challenging a group of bloggers to try our hand at Nordic cooking and do a sponsored post. While I don’t have any Nordic roots in my heritage, Marc definitely does. He’s half Norweigan and half Danish and grew up eating all sorts of Nordic food like lefse, ebelskiver, krumkake, and rice pudding. Marc’s mom even made a Kransekage for our wedding, which is a traditional Norweigan and Danish celebration cake.
The country that I was assigned to immerse myself in is Finland. Starting out, I had no idea what the Finnish cuisine was like so I did some research. Like many countries, the food and eating habits of the Finnish have changed greatly in the past hundred years but staple foods remain to be dairy products, potatoes, and bread, supplemented by root vegetables, peas, beans, smoked meat and fish. However, the use of these main staples varies greatly between the eastern and western parts of the country, as the western side of Finland tends to eat much more meat and fish while eastern Finland cuisine is based more on vegetables.
Regardless of what part of Finland one lives in, some traditional Finnish foods are porridge with berries, rye bread, meat stews made with beef, pork, or reindeer, fish pie or soup, pulla, which is a sweet bread, and an interesting popular dessert called Leipajuusto, which is a cheese that is fried and served with cloudberry jam. One of the most interesting facts that I learned is that Finland has the highest per capita consumption of coffee in the world. Sounds like my kind of place!
To complete my research and immersion into Finnish cuisine, I decided to make a Finnish pancake, or Pannukakku as it is authentically named. A Finnish pancake is oven-baked in a skillet (or baking dish if you don’t have an oven-proof skillet) and is the perfect Sunday morning breakfast when you don’t want to stand over the stove flipping pancakes. The process is as simple as melting butter in the skillet, whipping up the batter, and then tossing the skillet in the oven.
The batter for pannukakku is thin, but once it gets 30-40 minutes in the oven it bakes up beautifully into a cross between a custard and a pancake. Marc and I both loved Finland’s version of pancakes. I loved how custard-like the pancake was and the caramelized apples were a wonderful topping. Other topping options could be powdered sugar, berries, maple syrup, jam, or whipped cream.
for the finnish pancake:
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
for the apples:
- 2 apples peeled and sliced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- dash of salt
To make the pancake:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add butter to oven-proof skillet and place in oven to melt butter. If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you could alternately add already melted butter into a 9x13" baking dish.
- Next, make the batter.
- Beat eggs in large bowl.
- Add flour, milk, sugar, and salt and stir until well combined.
- Carefully pour mixture into buttered skillet.
- Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. If you use a 9x13" baking dish, cooking time will be closer to 30 minutes and if you use a skillet, cooking time will likely be closer to 40 minutes.
To make the caramelized apples:
- Melt butter in medium skillet over low heat.
- Add apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and dash of salt.
- Let caramelize over low heat, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, until apples are soft and caramelized.
Learn more about Nordic cuisine at the NORTH Festival 2013 in New York City. This post is a collaboration between the blogger and NORTH Festival 2013.