What’s perfect to eat on a nice picnic? I’m sure many Swedes would nominate plättar, or Swedish mini-pancakes. Somehow, they are even more delicious than their famous larger sibling, the thin pancake.
However, there are different ways of picnicking, as this story from Svenska Dagbladet shows.
In May 1885, a family went on a picnic together with a guest. The mother in the family had promised everyone a delicious meal, but the guest was slightly concerned as he couldn’t see any food baskets.
As they were walking towards the right spot, the guest noticed the eighteen-year-old daughter, Louise. She looked particularly lovely that day, with a narrow, corseted waist and a bustle so enormous that her skirt looked like a hot air balloon.
But, the guest wasn’t the only person who took an interest in her skirt. Her brothers gather around her, whispering until one exclaimed: “plättar, plättar, it smells like plättar!” Their sister blushed and shooed them off.
When they arrived at the picnic spot, the mother opened a slit in the skirt… and took out a ham, two loaves of bread, a dozen beer, a bottle of glögg, plenty of eggs, a plate of plättar, “and plenty of other rarities”.
The mother was so proud of the invention, but I can’t help wondering what Louise thought about having to carry all the food inside her skirt…
How to make Swedish mini-pancakes — plättar
The recipe I use is the same for plättar as it is for large, thin pancakes. If you don’t have a special iron for making plättar, you can simply fry them in a frying pan, using about one tablespoon for each mini-pancake.
It is easy to adjust the recipe: 1 egg and one deciliter of flour for every two deciliters of milk. This recipe yields about 50 plättar.
3 dl (1 1/5 cup) flour
pinch of salt
6 dl (2 2/5 cup) milk
For frying: butter or a neutral oil like sunflower or rapeseed oil
For serving: traditionally jam, fresh berries or fruit, whipped cream
- In a large bowl, add the flour and salt and stir it together. Add about half of the milk and whisk until it is smooth and lump-free. Then add the rest of the milk and whisk.
- Add the eggs one by one to the milk mix, whisking in between each egg.
- Let the batter rest for at least 30 minutes so the flour can swell.
- Melt butter in a plättjärn (a mini-pancake iron) and once the butter is quiet, add batter. Remember to add the middle one last, as it will cook the fastest. If you don’t have a plättjärn, use a sturdy frying pan and once the butter is quiet, add about a tablespoon of batter for each one. Make sure to keep distance between them, as they will float out at first. You want them to be golden and the batter to have set on the top before you flip them over and fry the other side.
- Enjoy your plättar with jam like drottningsylt, fruit or berries, or whipped cream.
Plättar freeze well and are excellent picnic food. Serve them with jam or berries, and maybe whipped cream. If you want to go savory, it is easy to top it with some grated carrots, pork, and maybe lingonberry jam.
Plättar often come as a dessert after a meal of soup.