Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 73! Iceland...A New Twist on Tradition: Pönnukökur - Icelandic Pancakes - Up Next, India

Check out the awesome back-story on Skyr, the ingredient that rocked today's recipe...

After spending several days combing the web for Icelandic recipes with no inspiration, I randomly picked up the November issue of  Food and Wine magazine while sitting in the dentist's office. Shaz'am, as if by divine intervention, the first article I turned to featured  Siggi Hilmarsson, an Icelandic entrepreneur who single handedly brought Siggi's Skyr, the traditional yogurt of Iceland, to the United States. Transplanted to New York City and feeling homesick for his native land, he began experimenting in his kitchen, gradually perfecting the ancient recipe, testing it first on friends, then with the public. Talk about a sign!

Check out the flavor varieties!
So I got to thinking...I'd seen a recipe for Pönnukökur, Icelandic Pancakes, that called for sour cream. Why couldn't Skyr be substituted for the sour cream? Why not??!!  Now, when inspiration strikes, I'm all over it - so I hit up Whole Foods, my go-to store for all ingredients hard to find. And...wait for it... there it was - elegant in non-fussy packaging AND on sale. How cool is that?! The Nordic gods were watching over me.

The beautiful island country of Iceland was settled in 874 AD, reportedly by a Norweigian Cheiftan, Ingolfur Arnarson. Located in the North Atlantic Ocean, Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. Despite being just outside of the Arctic Circle, Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and so enjoys a temperate climate.

Some of the foods commonly eaten in Iceland include lamb, dairy, fish and bread. Pickling, fermenting, brining, drying and smoking are frequently used techniques to cure meat and fish.
 This was my first time trying Siggi's yogurt, and I am FOREVER a fan. I like it better than Greek yogurt (which I also like), because it's lighter and not as chalky. Also, it's got the perfect balance of tart and sweet.
 Cinnamon adds a lovely taste and smell to the batter

 Beautiful strawberries bring forth the last taste of summer as fall sets in (I'm so in denial)
Once again, I prefer to use one of my old, simple machine tools. This was my grandmother's hand beater and I love it - don't get me wrong - I use my KitchenAid for most big jobs, but when I want to whip up a batch of heavy cream, this is the tool I prefer.
 I used turbano sugar and confectioners sugar for dusting
 Is there anything lovelier than fresh whipped cream? No - I thought not.
The batter sits up for 20 minutes to rest before cooking
For an interesting twist on a traditional recipe, I used blueberry skyr in place of sour cream - Unbelievably good!

 Pönnukökur - Icelandic Pancakes (Adapted from a recipe by Connie Magnusson)

  • 1/2 cup Skyr
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in hot water
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Brown and confectioners sugar for dusting


  1. Combine yogurt, eggs, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, milk and vanilla. Add to flour, baking powder, mixing to a smooth batter. 
  2. Let rest 20-30 minutes.
  3. Heat and rub bottom of a fairly heavy griddle or crepe pan with butter.
  4. Lift off heat and pour on a small amount of batter, tipping pan until entire bottom is covered.
  5. Replace on heat.
  6. When bottom is cooked (bubbles appear on top), turn and brown the other side.
  7. Place on a plate and sugar each with equal parts of brown and white sugar.
  8. Roll each pancake up and serve warm, topped with whipped cream and strawberries or jam.


Final Assessment: This was a wonderful twist on a traditional recipe. The fresh whipped cream and strawberries were the perfect accompaniment to the meal. And, the skyr...I could go on and on!

8 comments:

Erika Beth, the Messy Chef said...

I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog! This is sucha great idea. And I'll now keep my eye out for that yogurt when I'm at Whole Foods. :)

sadie said...

Thank you! I really appreciate the kind words and yeah - the yogurt is awesome :)

eatwellwithwine.com said...

Mmmm I love crepes! What a cool idea to travel the world with food

sadie said...

Thank you! Glad you stopped in!!

myhungrytum.com said...

I took my wife to Iceland for Valentines Day weekend one year. We had such a great time exploring Reykjavik and then we rented a car a traveled into the interior of the country to check out the amazing Gulfoss Waterfalls. Absolutely breathtaking. While driving, we stopped and bought a quick snack of fruit, fresh bread and Icelandic yogurt. It was the best yogurt I have ever had and it came complete with a nifty little fold-up spoon in the lid. The day and the sights and the mystique of Iceland have left me forever a fan.

Great posting and pics and Siggi's is a close second to the stuff we ate there. I have eaten it here in NC and it is delicious!

sadie said...

Thanks Eric! Coming from a guy with Nordic roots as well as all your cooking and blogging experience is most awesome!

You really know how to tell a good story too - felt like I was on the road trip with you guys :)

Keep cooking !!

johnswift67 said...

Thank you, I have been hunting for details about this for ages and yours is the best I’ve located so far.

sadie said...

Thank you so much for the kind words, John! Enjoy!!