March 29, 2011

The Icelandic Non-Pancake

I don't think there is a mom out there who has not struggled with getting "stuck in a rut" when it comes to cooking meals for their families. And its bad enough that you want to cook with some variety but you also want to cook meals that you feel are at least somewhat healthy. I have definitely had my ups and downs in this area. There are weeks where I feel like the neighborhood gourmet (watch out Curtis Stone!) and then there are weeks when my level of creativity amounts to sprinkling some cinnamon and sugar on the PB & J's.

Even on my bad weeks, though, I make it a goal to at least try and meal plan just one thing each week that we have not eaten before.  It does not have to be a full meal - sometimes it's a new vegetable or a side dish - anything to break up the monotony of meal planning and to encourage my kids to try new things.  Keith and I love to try new foods and will try just about anything once (except Rocky Mountain Oysters.  Keith tried them once and assures me I would not like them.  Which is good because there is no way those "oysters" would even get near these lips.) - but the kids are another story.  There is nothing more discouraging than working hard on a special meal or new dish, only to have the kids turn up their noses and roll their eyes in unison before you even have it set on the table. *sigh*

Therefore, when one of my kids brings home a recipe and says, "Mom, we've got to try this!", I am on. it. like. Blue. Bonnet. (sorry.) So when Isaac excitedly brought home a recipe this past fall for "Ponnukokur" or "Icelandic Pancakes", I was more than happy to give it a try.  But first we had a problem - in order to make these pancakes", you needed to have a "medium sized non-stick pan" and we did not own one.  I know you are wondering how we can cook without a frypan.  We have a pan but it is one of those large, deep family style pans.  It is great for hot dish and frying fish or chicken.  Not so good for stir fry ...or Icelandic pancakes.  So in November, when Keith and I went to IKEA for our anniversary our big purchase was this:

Exciting, huh?  Happy Anniversary!  Actually, we LOVE this pan.  It is the perfect size and everything cooks in it wonderfully.

Anyhow, so you would have thought I would have rushed right home to fry up some pancakes, right?  Didn't happen.  Instead, life happened and I forgot all about Isaac's pancakes (bad mom, I know.)  Until this week, when I finally remembered and made room for it in the meal plan.  I was thrilled to finally make the recipe that had been taped to my cupboard door for weeks months now and knew Isaac would be, too.  So I assembled my ingredients and began to cook.  I very quickly learned 3 things:
  • Icelandic Pancakes cook fast!  This is not a time to be multi-tasking.  I tried and as a result burned at least two of them beyond recognition.
  • Lumps are not good.  I hate dragging out my electric mixer and so did not use it for this recipe.  While the batter is thin and mixes easily, a spatula does not do a good enough job of breaking up the lumps that like to hide at the bottom of the bowl.  And who wants lumpy Ponnukokur?
  • It is impossible to properly pronounce "Ponnukokur".  It has been said that Icelandic is actually the most difficult language in the world to learn - you have to make those weird guttural sounds in the back of your throat and I think there maybe also be some "tongue clicking' involved.  I asked Isaac how his teacher pronounced this recipe and, after several attempts at saying it correctly, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, "It's something like that." We'll just call them "pancakes".
  • Ponnukokur is a dessert not an entree. Isaac shared this little tidbit with me after I was on about pancake #10. This would not have bothered me except for the fact that I was making them for supper. After all, they're called pancakes. But in all honesty, I could have probably figured that out when I read the ingredients. So to balance out the fact that we were having dessert for supper, I had Isaac throw together some bananas and mandarin oranges for a fruit salad. (The fruit salad was also supposed to have apples in it but they disappeared somewhere and we were out. *sigh* )
And finally...
  • Ponnukokur is to die for! OMGoodness... It may look like a pancake but it does not taste like a pancake - instead they literally melt in your mouth as in delicately sweet "I-call-dibs-on-the-last-five-pancake-thingies" goodness. We will be making these again...and again...and again. 
So after months of waiting, here was the fruit of our labor:

There is no way a photo would ever do them justice.  You just have to make them for yourself to find out how delicious they are.  And so, without further ado, here is the recipe to make your own Icelandic Ponnukokur pancakes:

2 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 cup flour
2 cup milk

Combine all ingredients except the flour and milk.

Add the flour and beat until smooth.

Add the milk a little at a time and beat until smooth each time to prevent lumps (I discovered this is very important!)  When all milk is added, batter will be thin!

Spray the bottom of your recently purchased IKEA medium sized non-stick frying pan with cooking spray (or lightly grease with oil.)

Heat the pan to medium high heat.

Put a little less than 1/4 cup of batter in the pan and very quickly tilt the pan to evenly spread the batter over the entire bottom of pan.

When edges are lightly brown, loosen the edge with a spatula (or fingers) and flip the pancake to brown the other side.

As you take pancakes off pan, stack on dinner plate.

When all are made, sprinkle each pancake with 1-2 tsp sugar and roll.

Cut rolled pancakes in half, find a corner to hide from anyone who may want you to "share" your delicious goodness, and enjoy!

(Makes about 16 pancakes.)


I am also linking up to Beauty & Bedlam's Tasty Tuesday!

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