Kitchen Globetrotter: Finland // Blueberry Kropser

This post from Mo Cahill of Apartment Dining fame. She’ll be introducing us to yummy, lesser-known dishes from far-flung locales. You can follow her culinary adventures on Facebook and Twitter, too!


Finland ranks high on my list of “Countries I Must See Before I Die” for three big reasons:

Its stunning landscape. The Northern Lights, craggy mountain peaks, miles of untouched evergreen trees, and pristine icy waters are unlike anything I’ve seen in person before.
Women’s equality. I know it may be a strange reason for tourism, but Finland was the first country in the world to grant women unrestricted rights to vote and to be elected to office. I want to see that society in action.
Reindeer. (Obviously.) The number of reindeer in Finland’s northern-most province of Lapland almost surpasses the number of people that call it home, and tourists can take reindeer-drawn sleigh rides through the snow.A trip to Finland is still a long way off for me, but in the meantime I tried making kropser: a baked pancake that can be enjoyed with breakfast or a cup of tea. It’s really less like a pancake and more like a light bread pudding with crispy edges and a custardy center. It’s often served with berries and powdered sugar, but you can also try it with maple syrup, some lingonberry jam, or a drizzle of honey. It’s the kind of breakfast that stays with you long after you’ve left the house to go to work, whether you’re behind an office desk or herding reindeer in beyond the Arctic Circle.

Finnish Kropser (adapted from AllRecipes.com)
1 ¼ cups flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 cups milk (2% or whole)
¼ cup butter
Optional: blueberries, powdered sugar, maple syrup, honey, or jam
1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and milk together with a fork. Add to the flour and sugar mixture and blend with a whisk.
3. Place the butter in a 9” x 13” baking pan, then put the pan in the oven. Watch it closely until the butter melts, then remove the pan from the oven. Carefully turn the pan until all of the sides are coated with butter. Pour the excess butter into the batter and mix with the whisk.
4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the edges begin to puff up and turn golden brown, like the above photo.
It will flatten out once it cools.
5. Let the kropser cool for 10-15 minutes and serve with your choice of toppings.
Enjoy!  Any Finnish readers out there?  Any other Finnish specialities we should know about?

16 Comments

Carrie

Yum! I'm going to attempt to make this. My maternal grandma is Finnish and she always served Finnish squeaky cheese at all our family gatherings. It actually squeaks when you chew it! When I was little I thought that was the best thing ever. In Finnish I think it's called leipäjuusto.

Reply
Leena

Finnish reader here! I just had the compulsory "omg someone foreign just mentioned Finland! In a positive context!" squee at my desk. This oven pancake was a common dessert at the school cafeteria, but I've never managed to recreate it. Maybe this time it will work!

I highly recommend this leipäjuusto (or juustoleipä). It's some kind of bread/cheese hybrid. It does squeak, it's weirdly tasteless, and you should definitely have it with cloudberry jam.

I want to recommend so many Finnish specialities but I think all the good ones are actually Swedish… One of my (expensive) favourite treats when I visit home is fish eggs (especially vendace?? or just plain salmon), mixed with finely chopped red onion and smetana (a really high-fat creme fraiche), on top of some rye bread. Mmm hmm. And obviously gravlax.

Reply
Alicia Johnston

Ooh yum! This looks amazing, and those are all ingredients I usually have on hand. Can't wait to try it- maybe with blueberries and strawberries for a July 4 breakfast! Finland and America are friends, right?

Reply
Christy@SweetandSavoring

As soon as I saw the Finnish Kropser pic on FB, I wanted to taste it! It's pretty similar to a Dutch Baby/German pancake, which I make pretty often for breakfast. This is better though, because it's made in a larger pan, hence serving more people, yay!
And wow, I'd LOVE to see the Northern Lights and ride in a reindeer-driven sleigh!

Reply
Anonymous

Another Finn here! Oven pancake is definitely a common dessert here, but I've never heard it called a kropser (that sounds foreign, not Finnish), just pannukakku (pancake). And I've only seen it served with strawberries/strawberry jam and/or vanilla ice cream/whipped cream, but topping it with blueberries is a great idea, I'm definitely going to try it the next time I make a pancake!

In general, when I think of Finnish delicacies, I think of fresh produce rather than specific meals. Finnish cuisine is heavily influenced by Swedish and Eastern Russian traditions, and as Finland is a very large but sparsely populated country, different regions have traditionally had very different food cultures. If you're in Finland, I'd definitely try the following:

– Fresh berries (blueberries (the real, forest-grown, tongue-staining variety, not the sickly-sweet farmed ones you get in supermarkets), wild raspberries and strawberries, lingonberries, cloudberries, gooseberries…)
– Fish, especially graavilohi (gravlax), smoked salmon and smoked whitefish, preferably topped with mustard and cognac sauce
– Salmiakki (salty licorice). You can get various different types of this candy, with completely different flavours and levels of saltiness. Salmiakki ice cream is also popular, as is salmari (vodka infused with salmiakki). We're obsessed by salmiakki, it's definitely as popular as chocolate!
– Buckwheat blinis. I guess these are more Russian than Finnish, but all restaurants seem to serve these in January and February, I think there's even a specific blini restaurant in Helsinki. They're easy to make at home as well. So yummy topped with fish eggs, sour cream (smetana), gravlax and chopped red onions!
– If you're in Eastern Finland and specifically the Savo region, try lörtsy at a food market. It's basically a flat pastry made of doughnut dough and filled with different kinds of jam – it's very greasy and I'm not sure if I would call it a delicacy, but it is yummy.
– Cured reindeer
– Elk sausages
– Warm karjalanpiirakka with butter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karelian_pasty)
Also, if you are in Helsinki and want to go to a food market, head to the Hakaniemi market place and hall in Hakaniemi (Hakaniemen tori/halli). For some reason the Market Square in the harbour is the place where all the tourists go to, but I don't know any locals who actually shop there and it's filled with Lappish touristy crap (reindeer skins, plush toys, keyrings…) – Hakaniemen halli is where people actually shop. There's also a nice restaurant that serves different kinds of Finnish soup, including salmon soup; it's so famous that even The Guardian has written about it! Here's a link to the article:http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/nov/28/nigel-slater-recipes-salmon-soup-fish-broth

Reply
Anonymous

How you not want to visit Finland when they rank so high on all the good measures (e.g. social justice, well being indices, education measures – all the goodies!).

Reply
Erini

My family is from Finland… and one of my favorite things has been traditional Finnish Christmas bread. It's so amazing. It makes three loaves (large knotted bread), and it's got cardamom… I generally eat an entire loaf by myself.

I've been dying to visit Finland and my cousins there… One of these days, hopefully!

Reply
Kaisa

I am from Estonia (which is next to Finland), I have lived one year in Finland as an exchange student, but in Helsinki. I have traveled a bit, but never gone to the north. Also, never had that dessert. Not even heard of it. x) I will correct that next time I am over. Well, I love Finnish chocolate by Fazer. Yum. xx

http://www.kaisaphoto.com/

Reply
Anonymous

You must try pulla bread. Absolutely amazing. More often than not its braided. Similar to christmas bread. Generally served with coffee.
My mummu used to bake this for us every day.

Reply

Leave a comment