Sunday, July 23, 2006

Breakfast with Grandma: Pannu Kakku

After 5 days in depressing Detroit, I could hardly contain my excitement as my plane winged its way north, to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, so I could spend time with my Grandma 'Nita on the shores of Lake Superior.

Pannu Kakku, fresh from the oven. It rises mightily as it bakes, but deflates quickly.

Going to my dad's parents' house has always meant bounty--fresh-caught trout from the lake, often smoked in grandpa's backyard smokehouse; strawberries, blueberries, raspberries from the yard; venison sausage from the deer hunted the fall before. Every time we visited, my grandparents never let my folks leave without a cooler full of food to take back to Wisconsin.

My grandma still maintains this generous tradition, and stuffed me to the gills. Like many of her fellow Yoopers, she is Finnish. However, other than the pasty (pronounced pass-tee-- meat, potatos and carrots enclosed in a flaky crust), I don't remember eating a lot of Finnish food as a kid. Certainly, I can't imagine I'd have forgotten Pannu Kakku (sounds like: bunn-ew guck-ew), an eggy, buttery oven pancake. She and I shared this treat one morning with a sprinkling of blueberries and raspberries fresh from the yard. It's guilt-inducing, dessert for breakfast--but if grandma says it's okay--it's okay!


Pannu Kakku
(based on my dad's recipe, adapted to match my grandma's technique --Sorry Dad, hers is just a bit better!)

Preheat oven to 350.

1 stick of butter
1C flour
1C sugar
4 eggs
2C milk

Melt butter in oven in a 9x13 pan; should be sizzling when you take it out.

Meanwhile, mix other ingredients like hell - till very frothy. Pour batter into pan with melted butter.

Bake 40 minutes. Eat immediately.

29 comments:

Dad said...

So she trades 1/2 a stick of oleo for a whole stick of butter, what's the big deal?!?

Ivonne said...

There's no place like Grandma's house! Lovely ...

Jeni said...

Your time with your grandma is making me miss mine! Enjoy your trip girl! When are you heading back?

meles said...

reminds me of a sweet version of yorkshire pudding - a family tradition for us at xmastime. hooray for butter and eggs!

Foodie Universe said...

I love this dish, and with your simplified recipe, I might actually try to make it now!

Alanna said...

Okay Erin, your heritage may be Finn but your Finnish could use a few tips!

A pasty ... is Cornish meal-in-a-bun that miners took down into the mines.

There IS something similar in Finnish food called piirakka (PEE-rak-ka) that comes in many, many forms, the most noted being the Karelian piirakka which is a hand-sized oval of pastry folded/fluted over a buttery egg mixture and baked. A good one is a real delicacy, I've never developed the knack.

As for pannu kakku, it IS just as delicious as you describe, one of my favorites from the time I lived in Finland ... but since Finnish is phonetic, it's pronounced PAN-nu KOK-ku.

Check w Grandma 'Nita, I think she'll agree! If she doesn't, SHE is right!

Nakemiin! "Alu" ;-D

Erin S. said...

Hey Alanna,

Thanks for the details. You're right in that my finnish knowledge is a bit hazy. My pronunciation guide came from how I hear my grandma/dad say it--until I saw it written out I really thought it was a B and G I was hearing.

As for the pasties, they are definitely something that Finns in the UP of Michigan consider "their" cuisine--wonder how that came about?

Anonymous said...

I thinking the "p" in Pannu is a soft b sound. I always heard and pronounced it this way. as for the "k" in Kakku I think you are also correct with that. But who am I to say?

shelrie said...

The Finns in the up consider pasty their cuisine because none other can make it like they do. Majority of people in u.p. are of Finnish decent and were copper miners. pannukku is pronounced Bunnu Gukku My great grandma Emmie taght me this as a small child - the p in Finnish is a soft b. Too bad for me I didn't keep the language up. Thanks for the recipe - this one is the right mix of butter and eggs and my kids will appreciate me making it again on christmas morning. Thanks, Shelrie

Andrea said...

Cannot wait to taste this recipe, looks very close to the one I always used as a child. I agree with Shelrie about the proportions looking right. I'll let you know!
ps. I always have made Pannu Kakku on easter, but my son said once a year "Was just not enough! I mean, that is just NOT right!" So, I gave in and said I would for Christmas, also.

lindy2468 said...

Hi, I was just looking for a recipe for Pannukakku and was reading all the interesting posts. I live in the UP (keweenaw penninsula) and just had to leave a comment. My gramma came here from Finland and she told me that the difference between the cornish pasties and the Finnish pasties is the cousin jacks (old-timers name for the cornish) use turnips or rutabaga and the Finns use carrots in their pasty. Either way, they are DELISH!!

Karen said...

I grew up in the UP and am 100% Finn. I often make this, tho we call it Kropsua, for dinner or breakfast. We serve it with syrup. I also make pasties often, and the key to their authentic taste is to use rudabega, red onion, and chop everything up rather fine (diced to about 1cm). I wish I could get 'pastie meat' here in MN, but I have to resort to ground pork instead. Maybe I'll google pastie meat and see if anyone in the UP will ship me some!

Anonymous said...

Hei! Your pannukakku looks lovely!
In the Finnish language there aren't really soft sounds like b and g, but our p and k are softer than in other languages... So it's no surprise to me that the Finnish p and k sounds like b and g to others... ;)
The softer sounds are nowadays in use, but a few generations back people couldn't pronounce for example the word banaani (banana). And in the dialects you can't still hear them.

Anyway, it's quite interesting to read how the Finnish recipes are passing from generation to generation there in the U.S.

Terveisiä vaan Suomesta! :)

Heids xx said...

Hi there! I am also 100% Finnish . When I try to explain the pronunciation of the B I say it's like in between our b and p ... Its really difficult sometimes and the aussies just can't get their tounge around the R haha. Anyways pannu kakku is the greatest my mum still makes it sometimes. Oh and she makes the best Karelian piirakka too but then I really don't have anyone else's to compare them to that I can remember lol. Excellent post thank you for sharing :-)

Terveisiä vaan Austraaliasta!!

Barbara said...

Ok...I just have to leave a comment about the Yooper's ((people who live in the UP) beloved Pasty! The Pasty my dear friends is a from the English not the Finns. If you travel to England in Cornwall or Devonshire you will find the origin of the Pasty. Lots of Pasty served there. The Cousin Jack & Cousin Jenny deserve credit for bringing the Pasty to the U. P. The Finns have enough food that they can take credit for like Pannukakku! I love Pannukakku & my Finnish friends & relatives but please don't insult a great group of miners, my ancestors who brought the Pasty to America & the U.P. If it has carrots in it or if it has rutabaga in it is still a Pasty....in Cornwall, they are filled with many combinations. Sorry, but I hate when I hear the Finns claim the Pasty because I was raised in the U.P., the Keweenaw Penninsula and my Grandparents came from Cornwall. Oh, and I'm making Pannukakku in the morning! Yum!
Cornwall.....

Anonymous said...

Born and raised in the UP- most people here know that the pasty is of Cornish origin but it is a staple of the yooper diet along with krupsoa/ pannakukka, kalamojakka, juusto, cudighi, sauna makkara, etc.....

Anonymous said...

Joe's Pasty Shop in Ironwood Michigan have the best Pasties if you dont feel like making them. Reasonable in price and they sale various versions of it. You can look them up online, they ship out only during the winter months. My grandparents are from Warsaw/ Vassa Finland. This is a closest as I can get. Love them.

Kimberly said...

Hyvaa Paivaa, I wish people would get a life; there are so many countries that have the same basic recipe of a lot of foods. We get our recipes from our ancestors, so they are Finn Foods/Recipes. If you're German, than it is a German recipe, etc.
My great-grandmother baked her Pannukakkua in a cookie sheet pan. I am going to try to do that but keep an eye on it. Blessings, Kim

Kimberly said...

And yes, Finnish language is not phoenetic; it is pronounced with more of a B and G, not P and K. I took Finnish language some time ago and am a member of Finnish-American Heritage Society, Canterbury, CT. That is how they pronounce it too.

Blessings, Kim

sports handicapping services said...

looks tempting to me like the site is very entertaining

mobile phone said...

So nice, thanks for you share this with us.

Anonymous said...

I've used this recipe many times but never read the comments. I'm from the UP, and the reason the pasty is so popular there is because of the mining history of the region. Many of the local miners were Cornish, and the pasty was ideal to take down into the mines--it's handheld, compact and a full meal.

The popularity of the pasty spread among the miners of all nationalities. Since the area has such a strong Finnish heritage, many people assume the pasty is also Finnish.

Sarah Lynn Artypants said...

this recipe is PERFECT. it's exactly like the one I can't find in my mess drawer! my great grandparents came to Ishpeming, then settled in Trout Creek. I'm lucky that my aunts and cousins got together and made a whole cookbook comprised of old family recipes... however, pannu wasn't in there! I keep seeing all these recipes online with baking powder and other stuff in it, and I know it's not "right"... THIS recipe is exactly how it should be :D thanks for posting!

Unknown said...

my mom is from michigan, we make this every year for christmas morning. somehow the sugar has been left out in our family, haha. thanks for the recipe, i'm going to make it tonight!

Jane said...

Hi Erin,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Ironwood to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!
Jane

Anonymous said...

Heres another yooper to agree the way the old Finns up here pronounce pannukakku the first consonant sounds more like b than p in English. And I also hear an "ah" on the end kind of like bunnoo kukkuah.

Any way you say it still Tate's delicious. Thanks for the post

Anonymous said...

i always find i pronounce finnish more correctly with cold, frozen lips :) no joke.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Barbara about the origin of the pasty. My grandma and grandpa immigrated to the UP from Cornwall England - that's where the pasties originated. My grandparents died when I was a child, and my parents are gone also. But me and a few of our cousins still make the pasties....they're an OLD family favorite! Oh...by the way, when my grandma and grandpa landed in the UP, my grandpa went in to the copper mines and soon became a "boss". Grandma often packed him a pasty in his lunch pail. :O)

Unknown said...

People in the UP might pronounce pannukakku as Bannu Gawgu or something, but p and k are not pronounced as b and g.