I am a wizard. With the turn of a dial I bring fire to life. The flames flare and dim, licking the bottom of the pan. I feel the heat slowly transfer to the metal and I think of the first humans as they discovered fire’s ability to alter raw food. How awestruck they must have been by the phenomenon. It’s still a magical experience for me. I twiddle with temperature settings, I adjust the pan’s position, I watch the butter steam — and I feel powerful. I am connected to the pioneers who learned to control fire and heat in order to transform elements.
I spoon my gloopy mixture onto the sizzling surface. While watching it metamorphose into a solid wafer, I contemplate all the ways in which heat provides flavor: by releasing volatile oils, by melting fat, fracturing membranes, and by causing sugars and amino acids to react. When making pannkakor, heat is something I have to manage well. The first dozen times I tried to turn batter into a paper-thin Swedish pancake I failed. The pan didn’t get hot enough, the butter smoked, the mixture was lumpy, one side too burnt….
Each time, however, there was a lesson learned. I began to pay more attention to the transformations occurring. I started using all my senses. My palm hovering an inch from the pan to detect warmth; sniffing out the nutty aroma of the melting butter; listening to the hiss of the semiliquid mixture as it hardened; watching the bubbling of the pannkakor edges as they crisped. With effort and patience, sometimes I achieve that golden-umber, slightly translucent pannkakor disc…a triumphant pinnacle.
Then the challenge is to repeat the process — no simple feat since over time the transfer of heat from source to surroundings varies. More adjustments are made to the temperature, the amount of butter, the interval between flips. The sensory faculties hone in, assessing the thickness of the batter, the sponginess, the char on the underside. With each completed pannkakor I play with one of the primal elements on earth. I engage with fire and heat, thereby entering into a miraculous rapport that results in stacks of deliciousness.
BT’s PANNKAKOR RECIPE
Serves 2 Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes [45 minutes preparation; 30 minutes cooking]
WHAT YOU NEED
0.6 liters milk
3 large eggs
180 grams flour
2.5 grams salt
57 grams butter
WHAT TO DO
- In a small saucepan heat 57 grams butter until fully melted. Set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine 180 grams flour and 2 ½ grams salt.
- In a second mixing bowl, crack 3 large eggs. Mix in 0.6 liters milk and the melted butter. This allows for less whisking later, resulting in fluffier pannkakor.
- Transfer the dry ingredients (flour and salt) into wet ingredients’ bowl (eggs, milk, butter). Whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and fluid.
- Rest batter in refrigerator for 30 minutes to ensure it has a uniform consistency for a more delicate texture.
- Preheat a 9-inch frying pan on medium-high heat. Take out batter from refrigerator. Give it a quick mix to recombine.
- Place your open hand, palm down, an inch or two above the pan’s surface. If you can feel the heat, the pan is hot. Alternately, sprinkle drops of water over the pan. If they evaporate quickly, the pan is hot. Now add a layer of butter to coat the surface.
- Pour in ¼ cup of batter or enough to lightly cover the bottom of pan. Swirl the pan or use the back of a spoon to spread the batter evenly so that it is neither too thick nor too thin in any spot.
- Watch the batter. Once the middle of the pancake has a solid appearance while its edges are crisp and can be easily pulled off from pan, use a spatula to gently pry the pannkakor from the sides.
- Insert the spatula under the pancake to take a peek at the underside. If it is golden-brown, then flip one-half of the outer perimeter towards the center of the pancake. Now reinsert the spatula under the semi-folded pancake and with a wrist flick, turn the pancake over.
- Spread out the folded edge carefully. Allow the other side to also turn golden-brown.
- Place finished pannkakor on plate. Repeat above steps until you have desired amount or batter is used. Remember to monitor the pan’s heat and the amount of butter used for each pannkakor as these will vary.
- Serve with favorite preserve such as lingonberry.*
* BT Tip: For a variation on the usual berry jams, lemon juice can also be squeezed over the pannkakor and served with extra melted butter and powdered sugar on top.