Taste of History is a new limited-run blog series exploring some of the many old-school recipes and food culture found in archival collections. Each blog post will feature a different recipe found in the vault recreated by staff at the archives with modern ingredients and tools. To kick off this series, let’s start off with a recipe popular at breakfast.
While many of the recipes featured will come from cookbooks donated for research by different individuals and families, our first recipe was printed and distributed through the newspaper. Unfortunately, since all that remains is the clipping, we do not have much context for the recipe. A little research though and I found that the recipe is likely based on a Finnish oven-pancake, a called pannukakku or kropsu. While they can be made sweet or savoury, the version from the newspaper clipping recommends making a sauce from canned pears.
As you can see from the ingredients lined up in the image above, a few substitutions were required. In particular, I had to opt for mixed canned fruit in syrup rather than pear due to what was available at the grocery store. I also used golden sugar instead as regular brown sugar was surprisingly difficult to find.
After mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately I slowly combined the two for the batter, which was then poured into a baking tray that already had melted butter. While I did enjoy the shape of the final pancake, I would recommend using a smaller dish with higher sides; transferring the tray to the oven without accident was nerve-racking.
Making the sauce while the pancake was baking was no fuss and came together quickly. The cinnamon and nutmeg gave a nice colour to the sauce in addition to balancing some of the sweetness. While the syrup did thicken the sauce somewhat, the cornstarch did most of the work in getting the desired consistency.
With a baking tray this wide and thin, I adjusted the cooking time down to twenty-five minutes. It came out a little puffed up, but the pancake settled after I inverted the it and added the fruit sauce over top.
So how did the Finnish pancake with fruit sauce turn out? Pretty great overall. The pancake was soft and fluffy with a buttery taste and it held up well against a thick topping. The sauce was also flavorful, but not something I personally enjoyed. I did not grow up eating canned fruits in syrup, so I found the sweetness to be a little overpowering. It is a recipe I would make again though as it’s an easy breakfast for a crowd. The Finnish pancake is also a canvas for other toppings; I want to try it with fresh fruit or even a thin coating of powdered sugar and lemon juice.
Please look out for the continuation of Taste of History next month where we will be trying Blind Dates from the Monarch Cookbook, published by the Maple Leaf Milling Company.