Friday, July 26, 2013


I think it’s pretty safe to say Scandinavians are not renowned for their cuisine. One word: Lutefisk. Oh, wait. You like fish jello? Well good for you. Here, take my share. Please. (Sorry, Lutefisk.)

But my people have got pastries down to a science. I’ll tip my hat every day of the week and twice on søndag for Scandinavian desserts. Lefse? Norwegian Waffles? And Olaug’s Pancakes? Great Odin, hand me a fork and call me to the table. I’m there. 

My long-suffering Norwegian teacher and sort-of grandma is queen of the Norwegian Pancakes. Actually, she’s queen of pretty much everything in my eyes. I adore her. She’s the inspiration behind Elsker’s Olaug, and she’s one of the most remarkable women I’ll ever know. There just aren’t enough words to express how much I love her. 

But there are enough words to share her pancake recipe. It only has four ingredients. Pretty epic, right? Not quite as epic as the measures I had to take to get the darned recipe. Let me explain. 

One afternoon I was visiting Olaug, enjoying a fresh batch of her Norwegian Waffles with strawberry jam, and sipping a glass of lemonade she’d squeezed from her lemon tree. (Because every Norwegian grandma hand squeezes lemons into juice for her guests, right? No? Just mine?) I’d had Olaug’s waffle recipe for years, but I’d never asked for her pancake recipe. And so I did. If you’ve read Elsker, this exchange might be a little familiar. You just can’t make stuff like this up. 

Me: Olaug, would you be willing to share your Norwegian pancake recipe? 

Olaug: Oh, dear. I don’t know it. 

Me: You don’t know your pancake recipe? 

Olaug: Well, I’ve been making it for so long, I just make it. I don’t know how much of anything I use.

Me: Huh. Well, what if we made pancakes together and I held measuring cups underneath the ingredients as you pour them in? Would that be okay? 

Olaug: I suppose. 

At this point Olaug started laughing at me. I guess it did sound a little silly. But I really, really wanted that recipe. And so we stood in her kitchen, me with my little measuring cups underneath the sugar and flour, and her chuckling all the while. 

But I got the recipe. And I use it all the time. It’s that good. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Mormor’s Norwegian Pancakes: 

Whip 4 eggs and ½ cup sugar together until the mixture is slightly stiff. 

Add 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of milk. Mix. 

Set skillet to low heat, add butter until melted. Pour a thin layer of pancake batter into a skillet and flip when cooked.

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy! 

Now, Olaug serves her Norwegian pancakes with butter and lemon and sugar, on account of that fabulous lemon tree in her backyard. But they’re equally delicious served with nutella and whipped cream. Because who among us does not appreciate the hazelnutty awesomeness that is nutella? Be sure to let me know when you whip up a batch of Mormor’s treats -- I’ll be right over with a nice brew from Peet’s Coffee, and we can have a lovely chat over dessert. And I’ll tell you all about Olaug’s other amazing dessert recipe. You’re gonna love that one too. 


Before finding domestic bliss in suburbia, ST BENDE lived in Manhattan Beach (became overly fond of Peet’s Coffee) and Europe… where she became overly fond of the musical Cats. Her love of Scandinavian culture and a very patient Norwegian teacher inspired the Elsker Saga. She hopes her characters make you smile and that one day pastries will be considered a health food.

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  1. Did someone say pancakes??? I'm there. :) Sounds delicious.

  2. these pancakes sound really good and the recipe easy. Even someone like me might actually be able to make these.

  3. I love the pairing of sweet pancakes with good, strong coffee. And what a delightful story!

    1. *grins* Thanks Martha! I'm a strong coffee girl too. I'm drinking Peet's Major Dickasons this morning. And you?

  4. Thanks so much for letting me share Olaug's recipe, Tracie. Come on over, y'all -- I've got a fresh batch of batter and a ginormous jar of Nutella. We can eat and talk about how excited we are for Tracie's next release! How much longer, Ms. Banister?

  5. Oh, my dad used to make something like that - we just called them "Grandpa's pancakes". Yum! Now I have a craving!

  6. These look so delicious! I would pile on the Nutella and bananas. Yum! Thanks for the recipe! :)

  7. Ooh, Nutella AND bananas. Good call Cat! *rushes off to make another batch*

  8. I feel the love for your mentor and almost grandma. Thanks for sharing her delicious looking pancake recipe. I'm going to make it this weekend when I visit my daughter's family.

    I'm going to fill them with sweetened cottage cheese and cinnamom! Yummy!

    1. My grandmother's favorite dish was cheese strudel. She came over from Hungary in the early 1950's. She was of German descent. It would melt in your mouth! That's how I came up with the idea for sweetened cottage cheese. Her strudel also had sour cream in it. She would fill the kitchen table with this paper thin dough. Unfortunately, I could never duplicate it.

    2. Ooh, that sounds delicious Laurie. I hope your daughter enjoys your cinnamon pancakes -- yum!