Lingonberry jam and pancakes.

Swedish pancakes, with homemade lingonberry jam.
Photos © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro 2011

I believe Swedish pancakes served with lingonberry jam, a dish now made globally popular by Ikea, to be one of the first few dishes I was introduced to when I landed in Sweden for the first time, about twelve years ago. Yet, it was only yesterday that something said click! in the learning process and for the first time, ever, I managed to make the perfect Swedish pancake, the ones with little bubbles in the middle and a crisp brown frilly edge.

Swedish pancakes are much like French Crepes though I believe the proportions of the milk to flour and eggs would be slightly different. From what I gather, you’ll have more eggs and less milk to flour in French Crepes compared to Swedish pancakes.

To get these pancakes, it was 500 ml milk to 150g (or 2.5 dl) flour, just one egg and a pinch of salt to taste. A brisk stir and you’ll have the batter ready in a zip! Finding the combined aroma of warmed cinnamon and cardamon intoxicating, I added to this batter a dash of both spices. Traditionally, these pancakes were fried in lard. I used butter in this case, and lots of it!

As for the jam, it was simply to boil the fresh berries together with castor sugar, the proportions of which are half sugar in weight to the total weight of the berries. The boiling process should take no more than twenty minutes, let cool and pour into jars for keeps. Lingonberry jam was the single Swedish import I found in the Singapore grocery shelves long before I had even arrived in Sweden. I grew to love this sweet-tangy jam after a couple of tries, having it mostly with filmjolk or the Swedish version of ‘sour milk’. After a decade or so being here, I find it highly rewarding to finally be able to make my own lingonberry jam from fresh berries, almost ribboning the red berried jars as they go into the fridge for storage.

Cooking this dish on my part, has taught me that perhaps learning processes take time in themselves and are best left, unhurried. When you live and breathe the environment, the food, the culture and the people, things will somehow, one day fall in place. And like the last piece of jigsaw puzzle that slides neatly into the larger picture, after much experimentation, pondering and fixing, you get… perfect lingonberry jam and pancakes. A classic for lunch or dinner, or why not with a dash of whipped cream or ice cream for that afternoon fika.


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