A Popover’s First Cousin: Swedish Pancake

A couple weeks ago, right after Ethel Pochocki’s Danish Soup from her Holy Housewifery Cookbook, was the recipe for the week here, Jeannie Tabor of Monson, wrote me. “I was very interested in your column today about Ethel Pochocki. “I have always enjoyed her children’s books very much (I’m a retired librarian). One of my favorites was A Penny for a Hundred about harvesting potatoes in Aroostook County during the Second World War.”

Jeannie wrote that one of the main characters is a German prisoner of war befriended by a little girl, Clare, who introduces him to Scandinavian foods common in the county.

It turns out that Ethel, formerly of Brooks, who used to share recipes with me for this column, included a recipe in the book for Swedish Pancake, with a note that it came from Favorite Swedish and American Recipes, compiled by Members and Friends of Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden, Maine.

I presume that this dish is called “pancake” because one bakes it in a cast-iron pan, but it is a far cry from the cake-like pancakes most of us think of. With lots of eggs and not so much flour, it proves to be a delicious member of the popover and Yorkshire pudding family, golden, puffy, and rich.  Jeannie said, “It is probably my husband’s favorite breakfast. I serve it with a blueberry sauce (from one of Marjorie Standish’s cookbooks.)” It was obvious that I ought to try it out for myself, and I, too, ate mine with blueberry preserves, though others opted for butter and maple syrup.

The real moral of this story is that food and recipes connect us powerfully. The recipe for Swedish Pancake has wended its way from Gustaf Adolph Lutheran Church in New Sweden to Ethel who put it in a book, thence to Jeannie Tabor, then to me, and now to you. Meanwhile, to make things extra special, two of Ethel’s daughters got in touch, too, because of Ethel’s recipe appearing here. Julie Terray lives in the Brunswick area, and Therese Parr hails from Baltimore.

Swedish Pancake is really a snap to make. Beat eggs, add flour and milk and melted butter, bake for twenty minutes in a hot oven and make sure everyone is sitting at table before you take it out of the oven because it does deflate right away, otherwise you’ll miss the “oh, wow,” moment.

Swedish Pancake
Serves: 2-3
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ¾ cup milk
  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt butter or margarine in an eight to nine-inch diameter cast-iron pan.
  3. Using an egg beater or whisk, add flour to the beaten eggs and gradually add the milk.
  4. Swish the melted butter in the pan to coat bottom and side then add the remainder of the butter to the egg and flour batter. Blend it in well.
  5. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 20 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately with preserves or syrup.


Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.