I am so fortunate to be married to the most wonderful of Swedish-descended girls. We just marked our 40th anniversary, and I still can’t believe how blessed I am.
So Christmas Eve, I asked her what she’d like the Tomten to make her for Christmas breakfast.
Plattar: Traditional Swedish pancakes.
So let’s start with the recipe. This comes from my mother-in-law’s cousin. Most good recipes get passed down from generation to generation, and this one is no exception.
First, a short word about my mother-in-law, and my father-in-law. They were wonderful, warmhearted, loving, giving people; I used to call them ‘Mor’ (pronounced ‘moor’) and ‘For’; Swedish for Mother and Father. They were literally a second Mother and Father to me. Even before the moment I proposed to my wife, they adopted me as a son, or “Moog” (pronounced ‘moge’). I was always welcomed into their hearts and home.
There are other memories of Mor and For coming down for Christmas Eve or New Years (Nit Ors) for a wonderful visit; but I’ll leave those for another time. Suffice to say that Plattar means something special. Always.
Now that you know the warm spot in my heart that this comes from, let’s continue:
Original recipe from Walberg Peterson (My mother-in-law’s cousin)
2 c. milk
1 c. flour
¾ tsp. salt
4 Tbsp. Melted butter
Beat eggs until light and fluffy. Add milk and beat until well mixed. Add flour and salt, beat until smooth. Beat in the melted butter. Bake on moderate hot grill spreading very thin. Use more butter for frying. Bake until golden brown.
Here’s how I do it:
I use a blender! The ingredients go in, then blend on a medium speed until ready for the next ingredient.
So you need a ‘Plett Pan’ or “Plett Pannar” (if I understand how to say it right). The best ones are cast iron, but even cast iron doesn’t heat evenly.
Let’s get our “Alton Brown” on and do some setup. You want the pan to run at about 425°, and the only way to accurately check this is with an infrared surface thermometer. I happen to have one. We’ve been heating for a while at what I thought was a low temperature, but I forgot: “Cast iron cooks hot and fast!”
Checking the back of the pan:
So the back of the pan is running a bit hot. Let’s check the front of the pan.
There’s a HUGE difference here! So to make the plattar turn out right, you move the pan toward the back, a fair amount – about 1/8 of its circumference. Then check again, a few minutes later.
Meanwhile, I’ve oiled the pan with a bit of grapeseed oil and a silicone brush. (That’s NOT “rapeseed” oil. Rapeseed, now known as “Canola” is a GMO, and it tastes like it to me – it has a gritty taste.) The grapeseed oil keeps the pan’s pores filled and ready to cook. And it has a high smoke point.
Now the batter goes in. I use about 3/4 of a tablespoon-ladle, but enough so that the batter initially covers the bottom of the Plett Pannar. Here’s a snap of the first set of Plattar:
So what’s best to turn them? Some of the ‘old folk’ used to use a flat spoon, but I started with an offset spatula. It worked OK, but this size was a bit too small. I found that the next size up was better, and using this as a ‘second hand’ kept me from burning my fingers.
So how do you tell when it’s time to turn them? They will get a golden edge on the very outside. Plus, you can use the offset spatula to ‘peek’ at the bottom if you’re not absolutely sure.
So, let’s learn from an old guy here: the Plattar tell you if you need to move the pan or increase the heat.
Here you can see that the ones on the left are a little light. So we need to move the pan to the right a bit now, and the next batch will turn out perfect from side to side.
Ahhh… perfection! Mor and For and all my Norwegian Aunts would be proud of me. Of course, such things were secondary to the love we had in the family; but such things were celebrated as a Gold Medal achievement nonetheless. But even if I’d turned out just OK stuff, they’d loved it anyway – and would have said so. It’s just that one little bit of “yeah, I did good!” that makes you feel so warm inside.
Hope you enjoyed the post, and I hope the memories warm your heart as much as they do mine. Merry Christmas from the Scandinavian side of the family, and Happy Christmas from the British side of the family.
May God bless you and yours this holiday season. May you see every blessing he has placed around you.