Sunday morning plättar

Last night, we had rökta räkor [smoked prawns] for dinner, with plenty of aioli and sourdough bread, and a bottle of pinot grigio whe’d kept on our veranda to chill. By the time we’d fallen asleep, the clocks had been set backwards and a thin layer of fresh snow had covered the roofs we see through our bedroom windows.
Coffee, fleece blanket, and Sunday morning plättar [Swedish pancakes].

Swedish plättar
Adapted from Kungsörnen’s recipe.

In Sweden, pancakes can have many forms. There are the larger ones, not unlike crêpes, although somewhat thicker: plättar. There are the small ones, cooked in a special pan: småplättar. And there are the ones cooked in the oven: pannkaka or perhaps more likely, ugnspannkaka.

These names are, however, subject of a debate; one that has been dividing the country. Yes, what I’ve just told you is only valid in Skellefteå (where we live, and where K. grew up) and above. South of us, even as close as Umeå, which stands just a short 135km drive away, what I’ve come to know as plättar is called pannkakor. And plättar really means the small ones. Rather confusing, no?

In an insightful episode of Språket, the terminology is examined and the comments make for an even more interesting read (in Swedish).
One reader states that, to her, plättar are the pancakes that one cooks in a cast-iron pan, eventually, with small holes for små runda plättar [small round plättar]. Tunnpannkakor [literally, thin pancakes] are cooked on the stove in a frying pan, and can be made with the same batter as plättar. Ugnspannkaka is baked in a roasting tin and the batter is thicker than the one made for plättar or tunnpannkakor. She then follows by saying that in any case, plättar cannot be cooked in a frying pan, tunnpannkakor shouldn’t be made in a cast-iron pan, and of course, ugnspannkaka can only be baked in the oven.

So really, I have no idea which recipe I’m sharing with you today other than it’s one that we love to make – on Sunday mornings or as a quick everyday dinner. One that we eat with jam, most likely the drottningsylt I made with the blueberries and raspberries we picked over the summer. One that I cook over the stove in a cast-iron pannkakspanna, something that changed everything I knew about crêpes.

These plättar have crisp and salty edges, and are slightly thicker than the crêpes I grew up on.
You could make them in a regular frying pan, in which case, I’d recommend warming up a generous amount of butter and oil in the pan until it just starts to smoke before cooking them. If you choose to make them in a cast-iron pan, don’t hesitate to use a little more batter than you normally would, perhaps 1 1/2 ladle instead of the usual 1.

Swedish plättar

Makes around 10-12 medium pancakes, approx. 22cm wide.

2 eggs
500 mL whole milk
100 mL water
180 g plain flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
a generous tbsp
(around 20-30g) melted butter

Combine the eggs, milk and water. Pour half over the flour. Add the salt and mix until smooth. Add the remaining liquids and the melted butter, whisking as you do so.
You can use the batter straight away or store it in the fridge for up to 36 hours.

When you are ready to cook the plättar, heat a lightly oiled cast-iron pan (read note above) over high heat.

When the pan starts to smoke, pour a ladle of batter onto the pan, using approximately one-third of a cup for each plätt. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
Cook the plätt for about a minute, until the edges start to brown. Loosen with a palette knife, flip over and cook the other side for a minute. Serve hot.

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