Pannukakku, candles and dinosaurs singing heavy metal!

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An important part of Reading Round Europe for us is going to be using the books we read as a family to explore other countries and cultures. So to go with our reading of It’s Snowing in Animal town (review here) I searched high and low for a genuine, fun Finnish activity for us to get up to us a family. I wanted something more interesting than colouring in the Finnish Flag so I reached out into the blogosphere for suggestions and discovered Ruth who blogs at The North Wing.

Photo: Ruth Landesa

Ruth is a jewellery maker and designer based in Finland and when I stumbled across her blog and website I was immediately drawn in by her beautiful photography which reminded me of another blog I enjoy, Bloesem. I wrote to her asking if she could help suggest an activity for me and my girls and despite it being the week before Christmas when I contacted her, she came up trumps and very generously wrote up a recipe for Pannukakku, “a very, very traditional Finnish dessert that is really easy and good to prepare with kids“… what could be better than that?!

Photo: Ruth Landesa

Ruth’s Pannukakku

For 2 generous portions

  • 1 dl flour – I’ve never measure flour like this, but I just put it in a measuring jug up to 100ml and that worked fine
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 dl milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 spoon margarine or butter
  • For 6 portions

  • 3 dl flour
  • 1/2 tea spoon of salt
  • 8 dl milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-3 spoons margarine or butter
  • 1. Preheat the oven at 225 degrees Celsius.
    2. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Add half quantity of the milk and whisk until the mixture is smooth.
    3. Add the rest of the milk. Add eggs and whisk.
    4. Grease a pan (Ruth uses a glass oven-pyrex pan for the small pancake and for the 6 portion pancake a pizza pan of about 30×40 cm size). Place the butter or margarine into the pan and put the pan for a few minutes into the oven until the fat melts and starts to get a little colour.
    5. Pour the mix into the pan and bake at the middle level of the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until the pancake has puffed up and has a beautiful colour.
    6. Leave to cool in the pan and cut.
    7. Serve the pancake as a dessert with fresh fruit – Ruth normally use berries, berry jam or compotes. It is also served with ham, salmon as an starter.

    And here’s how it turned out for us:

    The girls did just about everything themselves, apart from taking the pancake out of the oven.

    They were very proud of what they prepared and baked!

    And the pancakes were really delicious – definitely something I would cook again!

    If you want to make a whole meal of it, you could try out this pea soup (Hernekeitto) recipe – these pancakes are usually eaten as pudding after pea soup on Thursdays in Finland.

    Whilst cooking and eating our Pannukakku we listened to:

  • One of my favourite CDs, one we have on most weeks whether or not we’re learning about Finland – Seleniko by Värttinä, a contemporary Finnish group with powerful voices and pounding rhythms. You can hear some of their music at their Myspace page.
  • Lots of fiddle music from JPP – Järvelän pikkupelimannit (“Little Folk Musicians of Järvelä”) – who have been described as “Finland’s number-one folk group” (World Music – The Rough Guide)
  • Music from the heavy metal band Hevisaurus, the band that Finland’s leading daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat calls “the hottest thing in Finnish children’s music at the moment”! Who can resist music performed by four dinosaurs and a dragon?

  • Ruth also suggested some other activities with a genuine Finnish element, and any of these might be fun to do alongside reading It’s Snowing in Animal town or learning about Finland:

  • Make candles out of toilet rolls and card to put in your window on Finnish Independence Day (Itsenäisyyspäivä) – at 6pm on December the 6th it is traditional for Finnish families to light two candles in each window.
  • Photo: Ruth Landesa
  • In Finland, Vappu (Walpurgis day), which falls on May 1st, is one of the biggest celebrations with a carnival atmosphere and plenty of partying and picnicing. Streamers and balloons abound and so you could make your own carnival accessory like these streamers on a stick:
  • Photo: Ruth Landesa

    Tomorrow I have an interview with the author and illustrator of It’s Snowing in Animal Town, Hannamari Ruohonen – I do hope you’ll be back to join us then, and in the mean time my huge thanks to Ruth for her help (do go an visit her blog or website!), and let me know if you’ve ever read any Finnish books or been to Finland…

    10 Responses

    1. Zoe

      Thanks MakemineMid-Century! The pancakes were super easy and very delicious so definitely worth a try.

    2. Minka

      I have been to Finland around 14 years ago – stayed in Tampere for 3 months – and I had such a wonderful time although I was working (not holidaying !! ). Missed the moomin museum because of uncooperative colleagues but thanks for the pics anyway. Kittos !!

    3. Judi

      Hevisaurus – interesting! I watched the clip with my six year old – he giggled. I think my four year old would be too scared if he saw them in person especially the thought of them coming to his room while he was in bed!

    4. Janelle

      If I can figure out the American conversions, we’ll have to try making the pancakes. I’ve never tried cooking pancakes in the oven. What is a dl? How large of a spoon?

    5. Zoe

      Hi Janelle,
      I’ve never used dl with dry ingredients either but all I did was convert 1 dl = 100 ml, so I poured flour up to the 100ml mark on my jug and patted it down to make it flat, and 300ml for the milk and that worked fine.

    6. Zoe

      Hi Judi,

      yeah “interesting” is a word that came to my mind too – can’t imagine what a live concert would be like!

    7. Rachel

      This reminds me of a German book, In the Town All Year ‘Round. It is also wordless except for introductions to each character at the start of each section (season) and follows the same characters through the year.

    8. Zoe

      That’s serendipity for you Rachel – on the original post about this book several people suggested In the Town All Year Round as one I should look for – clearly the collective brain is on to something here!

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