Oct 26 2011

A Scandinavian Treat

We brought home a few souvenirs from our September trip to London and Copenhagen, including this cute Danish bird, a small vase by Anne Black, and several Christmas presents.  Far and away, the best gift to ourselves is the Nordic Bakery Cookbook.  No trip to Scandinavia is complete without indulging in several fluffy pastries and muffins--and we happily indulged!--but oddly enough, we bought this book in England, from London's Nordic Bakery.

Before flying to Copenhagen, we spent several days in London and Cambridge.  One night, before dinner at Ottolenghi's Nopi, we found ourselves chilly and in need of a place to sit for half an hour.  I didn't really want to eat before dinner, but I was conflicted because I had wanted to visit Nordic Bakery even before our trip, and we were already nearby.  We found the cafe, ordered water, and sat down.   It took approximately 3 minutes for the enticing smells and sights of the pastries to win me over, especially the sticky bun I was staring at (I should have sat with my back to the pastry case!).  I asked Justin to order one for us to split and I firmly informed him that I'd just have a few bites.  Well, we each had a few bites and those few bites rendered the plate empty before I even knew what was happening!    Suddenly my eyes were back to the pastry case, contemplating what I should order next (all while rationalizing that we're not in London very frequently and we were making memories!).  Justin dissuaded me from ruining my upcoming dinner, and I'm thankful he did.

As a souvenir/consolation prize, we bought Nordic Bakery's cookbook.  Featuring simple, clean photography by Peter Cassidy, the cookbook is a laundry list of nearly every item Nordic Bakery makes.  So now I can make their baked goods at home and I'll never have a reason to go back to Nordic Bakery, right?  Not exactly.  I'm not going anywhere near the sticky bun recipe.  I have no business attempting something they've so clearly mastered!  Besides, unless I'm feeding a family of at least 6, I don't want a tray of sticky buns cooling in my kitchen.

When we returned to Brooklyn, I thumbed through the cookbook, making note of several recipes that were more 'my speed' and also less dangerous to hanging around my kitchen.  Immediately, two recipes caught my eye:  oven baked pancakes and an apple tart.  I'm making the apple tart today (and will share pictures and the recipe soon--if all goes according to plan).  Taking into account our love of all things breakfast, especially leisurely weekend breakfasts, we've made the baked pancakes twice.  I'm happy to add another item to our weekend breakfast choices.

Nordic Bakery shares that "oven baked pancakes are an everyday treat in Finland, loved by children and adults alike."  I have two comments about that.  First, after living in Copenhagen, visiting Copenhagen, and then eating these pancakes, I've never pined for a childhood in Scandinavia more (*not that there was anything wrong with my childhood, Mom and Dad).  Second, an everyday treat?!  Seriously?  As decadent as these taste, I recommend making them as a weekend treat, not an everyday indulgence.

You need to allot an hour to make the pancakes but the actual hands-on time is around five minutes. The preparation is quite simple and if you can wait the 45 minutes they take to bake, the resulting baked pancake squares are firm on the outside, fluffy on the inside, moist, and sweet.  We served ours with whipped cream because if you're going to serve what basically amounts to birthday cake for breakfast, you might as well commit!

Oven-baked Pancakes

Recipe Source:  Nordic Bakery Cookbook

Serves 4-6

tools needed:  a roasting tray, around 9 x 12


*(all listed in weights, so you will need a small scale)*

100 g caster or fine cane sugar

275 g flour (all purpose works well)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

800 ml milk (your measuring cup has this measurement)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

100 g unsalted butter

whipped cream


1)  Combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Make a well in the middle and pour the eggs and a little bit of the milk in.  Whisk the dry ingredients into the well.  After combined, whisk in the remaining milk and the vanilla extract until the entire mixture is smooth and without bumps.  Let this mixture stand for 30 minutes.

2)  While the mixture is standing, heat the oven to 400. When five minutes remain on the standing batter, put the butter in the roasting try and and heat it in the oven until melted.  Take the tray out of the oven and use a brush to evenly spread the butter around the try.

3)  Pour the excess butter into the pancake batter.  Stir well and then pour all of the batter back into the roasting tray.

4)  Bake until golden and slightly crisp on the edges (30-40 minutes).

5)  Let cool slightly and then slice into rectangles or squares.  Top with whipped cream.  Enjoy your decadent breakfast!