Emily Carlson

Breakfast is said the be the most important meal of the day. It is also my favorite meal of the day. My favorite breakfast by far would be my family’s recipe for Swedish pancakes. These thin pancakes with some warm pure maple syrup are such a treat. Over the years, I have had to explain to others that they are not French crepes, although they look very similar. While the differences may be subtle, countries around the world each have their own version of a pancake that is uniquely theirs. 

Swedish pancakes and French crepes differ in a few ways. 

According to Mark Bittman with the New York Times, “A rich pancake, like those often served in Sweden, takes the proportions of a standard pancake and skews them, boosting the proportion of eggs, butter and sugar at the expense of flour.” 

French crepes are less sweet, thinner and denser, according to Nivedita Gunturi in her article, “Differences Between a Crepe and a Swedish Pancake.” French crepe recipes use more flour, but fewer eggs and sugar compared to Swedish pancakes. 

These two breakfast delights are also served differently. With the sweetness of Swedish pancakes, many eat these with lingonberry, yogurt or just a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Although, with my sweet tooth, I still go with the classic maple syrup route. French crepes can be served with sweet or savory fillings. From ham and cheese to bananas and chocolate, there are many options.

In my research, I came across a multitude of other pancake varieties. I had no idea there were so many different takes on this relatively simple dish. Just a handful of the ones I found include:

  • Blini or Blintz- Commonly found in Eastern European countries, these are made with wheat or buckwheat flour and yeast. A blini is thicker than a French crepe and can be stuffed with savory or sweet fillings. 
  • Dutch Baby (Pannenkoeken)- The Netherlands version is a sweet souffléd pancake typically baked in a 12-inch pan or larger. A Dutch Baby is then topped with fruit and sugar.
  • Beavertails- From Canada, these are a mix between a pancake and a cinnamon sugar donut. While they use a typical pancake batter, they are fried like a donut and can be topped with anything from chocolate to fruit. 
  • Aebleskiver- These Danish pancake puffs are shaped into light and fluffy spheres. While the name translates to “apple slices,” they do not need to feature apples.

There are many more besides the ones I have listed above. It seems to me, that although there are differences between cultures, we all seem to have a soft spot for a tasty breakfast. So excuse me while I go book a trip to travel the world to taste all the varieties of pancakes that exist. But truthfully, I don’t think anything will ever beat my mom’s Swedish pancakes covered in syrup on a peaceful Sunday morning. 

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