Monday, June 7, 2010

Pannukakku (Finnish oven-baked pancake)

Though not even halfway through, 2010 can already be defined by a few significant events in my life. Most impactful is the fact that Jim accepted a job out of state, but that will happily soon transition to a job back here and we are anxiously awaiting his move home. Towards the end of last year our family began enjoying a tradition of eating foods from different countries Jim visited for work, but 2010 is the year we discovered pannukakku from our Finnish friends right here in Houston.
The inspiration for making this the first time (yes, we've had it twice now, and I have no good excuse for not blogging about it earlier) was strawberry season. After spending the morning together with my friend Rebecca picking strawberries with our kids, we returned here to make jam. Luckily, Charlotte (mostly) waited until after we paid to dive in to what we picked.
Part way through the jamming processes, Rebecca thought out loud "Do you know what is a great way to eat fresh jam? Spoon some on to pannukakku!" Since my kids love all breakfast carbs, and pannukakku was described as an 'oven-baked pancake' there was no way this wouldn't be a hit. She called her husband for a reminder of the recipe, then a little math ensued (did we have enough deciliters of milk, or did we need to buy more?) and finally we were rewarded with the golden goodness.
A couple pics of the finished product from strawberry and blackberry jam sessions - yum!!
Yes, the kids help picking and mashing. Ironically, I had to go out to ebay to buy a vintage Foley food mill, exactly the same one my mom had growing up that I remember her using to make applesauce. I'm sure the one I purchased is older than I am - if you're curious about that number, just ask Charlotte how old she is, and she'll be sure to add how old her mommy is too.
OK, so fast-forwarding to this past weekend. Rebecca returned with her daughter, and again we took the kids outside of the Houston city limits to pick blackberries. And we made more jam. Lots more jam. About twice as much as we had made a couple months earlier. Mmmm - blackberry jam! We had been originally planning to eat the fresh blackberries with sweet cream, but instead decided to make more pannukakku that could be covered with blackberry jam AND sweet cream. A-ma-zing!

Last time we also ate the pannukakku with savory topping of lox and dill, but warm pannukakku with warm, not-quite-fully-set jam is one of Spencer's all time favorites.

Adapted by Rebecca Rautio, from the classic Finnish cookbook Kotiruoka (Home Cooking) via her Finnish mother-in-law.

3 eggs
3 1/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
toppings of choice (jam, cheese, smoked fish)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a jelly-roll pan (or similar pan with a thick rim) with overhanging parchment paper, if you have, and grease the parchment paper. Otherwise grease the pan liberally.

Beat the eggs for several minutes, until thick and light. Mix together the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl, and then mix into the pannukakku. Let the batter rest 10 minutes, then pour into the prepared sheet pan. Bake 30 minutes, until fluffy and lightly golden in some spots. Cut into squares while still warm, and serve.

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