In Norway, there are five seasons, each with their own mood, seasonal ingredients, and festivals. Nevada Berg married a Norwegian partner and now lives in the country, in a 17th century farmhouse. She explores the country's cuisine in her second book, "Norwegian Baking Through the Seasons."
Berg remembers visiting her husband's family in Bergen and encountering skillingsboller, Nordic cinnamon buns. "It was so simple. And I think that's what's really nice about Norwegian baked goods," she says. But flatbreads are the foundation of baking in Norway. "In the old days, you didn't have the ability to store grain," Berg explains, so people made crackers that could be stored over the long, harsh winters. Lefse, a regional flatbread resembling a tortilla, has many variations and is most commonly made with potato.
Berg describes brown cheese, whey cooked down for so long that it caramelizes, that can be used in both savory and sweet recipes.
Thin Pancakes with Strawberries and
Brown Cheese Caramel
Pannekaker med Jordbær og Brunostkaramell
Serves 4 to 6
Summer is all about succulent strawberries and we have some of the best in Norway. The cooler climate gives the berries the time to ripen slowly, becoming juicier and sweeter with each day. These pancakes couple that fresh sweetness with a caramel sauce made with traditional brown cheese. It’s a nod to the Norwegian summer farms where brown cheese, fresh fruit jams, and flat cakes—similar to griddle cakes—are staples. To get nicely browned and bubbly pancakes, cook over a higher heat and add butter every time.
FOR THE PANCAKES
- 3⁄4 cup (90 g) whole wheat flour
- 3⁄4 cup (90 g) all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (500 ml) milk
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- Butter, for frying
FOR THE STRAWBERRIES
- 51⁄2 cups (735 g) hulled strawberries, cut into smaller pieces
- 1 tablespoon honey
FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE
- 3 1⁄2 ounces (100 g) Norwegian brown cheese, sliced or grated
- 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 1⁄2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- For the pancakes, in a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt. Slowly pour in the milk, a little at a time, until you have a smooth batter without any lumps. Add the eggs and mix well to combine. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
- For the strawberries, in a small saucepan, bring 3 cups (400 g) of the strawberries and the honey to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes, or until the strawberries are soft and the sauce is slightly thick. Set aside to cool.
- For the caramel sauce, in another small saucepan, bring the brown cheese, heavy cream, and sugar to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue simmering, whisking frequently, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until fully combined and thickened to a caramel sauce consistency— somewhat thick but still a little runny. Set aside.
- In a large frying pan, melt some butter over medium-high heat. Ladle in about 1⁄2 cup (120 ml) of the pancake batter, moving the pan around to coat the bottom evenly with the batter. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until the bottom of the pancake has set and turned golden brown. Flip the pancake and cook for about 30 seconds more, or until the other side is golden brown. Transfer the pancake to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add more butter to the pan and continue this process until all the batter has been used up. You should get 8 to 10 pancakes.
- To serve, drizzle some of the brown cheese caramel sauce on top of each pancake, followed by the strawberry sauce and the remaining fresh strawberry pieces. Store leftover pancakes covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.