Sunday, April 30, 2006

Åland: Åland Pancake

Åland is the Land of Bass. Literally – that's what it means in Finnish. The country is a group of 6,000 tiny islands in the Baltic Sea, about 20 miles off the coast of Sweden and home to about 25,000 people. The single recipe I found from the country involved no bass (thank heavens), and though it is called the Åland Pancake, it is really more of a custard.

I am not a custard kind of girl – actually, I hate custard - but oh do I love the Åland Pancake. The rice takes the edge off the eggs and makes it soft and sweet, as opposed to the usual gelatinous goo. You're supposed to eat it with plum jam, but I only had grape, which, as it turns out, goes very well indeed with Åland rice custard.

This recipe was published by the Åland Tourist Bureau, from Göran Ekstrand's Café Julius, which is apparently famous for it (though it's a traditional food on the island). I can see why – it's delicious. The original recipe made such a huge amount of food I'm sure it was meant for Ålandian banquets. I made a 1/6th batch, and that still turned out to be a very large custard.

1 egg
2.5 Tbsp sugar
2.5 Tbsp flour
1 cup rice, cooked and cooled
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/3 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix the eggs and the sugar. Add rice, flour, cardamom, salt, then the milk and mix thoroughly. Pour into a small casserole dish and bake 25 – 30 minutes, until the edges turn a light brown and the center is no longer gelatinous.

The article said that this is traditionally served with plum jam, but that the Café Julius serves it with raspberry jam and whipped cream. I ate it with grape preserves and was delighted.

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