Pannukakku – the traditional Finnish Oven Pancake – was my Grandmother’s version of comfort food
Finnish pancakes are the main comfort foods I remember from my childhood. Actually, it was pancakes and Finnish cardamom coffee bread, but I never did get my grandmother’s recipe for pulla (coffee bread). I do, however, have Mummu’s recipe for Pannukakku, also known as Kropsua, which I will share with you below.
If you’ve never made Pannukakku, you’re in for a treat. This is a custardy pancake that contains ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, takes very little time to prepare, and bakes in the oven while you go do something else. My kind of cooking.
Pannukakku is a very adaptable dish. I’ve had this pancake for breakfast, dessert and even as the main course for lunch or supper. It is versatile, delicious and… I guess you could say… soothing. It reminds me of my grandmother… and childhood. Christmas, too. That’s when my mom would make Kropsua… on Christmas morning. Finnish oven pancakes are rich and filling – a little heavy for summer fare – but they are perfect for chilly fall and winter days.
I hope you have a chance to try my Pannukakku/Kropsua recipe and get a taste of this traditional Finnish comfort food for yourself. Who knows, it might even become one of your own family traditions.
My grandmother, Alina, with my mom and grandfather
My grandmother emigrated from Finland to Canada in the 1920s. She and my mom traveled by ship, meeting my grandfather in Halifax, since he had gone earlier to get a job and save up the money to send for them. The family lived in Rouen, Quebec for a while and later settled in Toronto.
This photo of my mother and grandparents must have been taken after they arrived in Toronto… early to mid-1930s, probably.
My mom, being young, learned English very quickly and was fluently bilingual her whole life. My grandmother, on the other hand, was a dyed-in-the-wool Finn. She managed in English, but was never completely comfortable with it.
One thing my grandmother brought with her from Finland was the memory of how to make pancakes – Finnish oven pancakes called kropsua or pannukakku – and also the smaller Swedish-style pancakes, which my sister and I learned to make quite early on, because we loved them so much.
On another page, I’ve given the recipe for my grandmother’s Swedish (we always thought they were Finnish) pancakes. You know, the crepe-like pancakes you make in a plett pan, with seven slots for a tablespoon of pancake batter each. Oh… you don’t know about those? Click here for our Swedish Pancakes Recipe if you’d like to compare the two types of pancakes.
On this page, you’ll find (what I think is) my grandmother’s recipe for Finnish oven pancakes. It might be a recipe my sister found, but my taste buds tell me that it’s just how I remember my grandmother and mother making it way back when.
I found my recipe card for Strawberry Kropsua not long ago when I was sorting through some files. I’d show it here, but it’s spotted with baking ingredients and the paper has yellowed over the years.
My new cast iron skillet worked perfectly for my oven pancake
The week I wanted to try making Pannukakku for the first time in many years, I received two frying pans from Amazon. One was for the small Swedish pancakes, which I’ve reviewed on another page. The other was this 10 1/4 inch pre-seasoned cast iron skillet from Lodge Logic.
This was my first purchase of a Lodge Logic product and now I see why they get such great reviews.