Saturday, July 27, 2013


One of the things I must do in the in-progress fifth novel in my Porcupine County mystery series is get back to the culinary matters that sometimes provide an important part of the regional scenery in the narratives. Earlier novels have mentioned pasties, the Cornish miners' meat pies that Upper Michigan miners carried deep into the copper drifts, and nisu, the sweet cardamom-flavored Finnish bread still popular in these parts.

Last weekend at Syl's, the Ontonagon cafe celebrated in my novels as Merle's, I had a dish of pannukakku, the splendid Finnish pancake that makes Sunday mornings so special among Yoopers. It was so very good that I decided I had to put it before Sheriff Steve Martinez in the next novel, perhaps at Sunday breakfast after a night of romance with his lady love Ginny Fitzgerald.

Naturally I had to find out what goes into pannukakku, and found a number of recipes online. This one sounded simple and easy to make, so this morning I announced to my household that we were having it for breakfast.

Five minutes' preparation and 40 minutes in the oven, and we were in heaven.

It's not really a pancake in short-stacks fashion, but a kind of savory oven-baked custard.

I'm told by Doug Karttunen, my trusted Upper Michigan source on all things Finnish, that pannukakku is best when slathered with thimbleberry jam. We didn't have any, so I used blueberries instead, and the Lady Friend and our house guest chose raspberry preserves.

I've got to ask Doug how to say "Wonderful!" in Finnish.