Swedish Plattar Pancakes

One of my favorite breakfast recipes is a special Swedish crepe called Plattar.  I asked Sr.Madeleine,  who is currently studying lace making in Brugge, Belgium, how this came to be one of their family recipes, a recipe she makes for her two daughter’s birthdays every year.  This is what she wrote me.

“Swedish Plattar is a recipe from a collection of Swedish recipes celebrating the seasons of the year. The author of the recipe remembers her mother preparing these recipes to remind her family of the goodness of God. Personally, when I was young I had not learned to cook or bake; I too, like the writer, wanted to both cook for my young family and to emphasize the love of God and His goodness. Swedish plattar was by far the biggest hit! I made it regularly every Saturday morning for my family, standing patiently beside the electric frying pan (popular in those days) until many Swedish Plattar were made and the the hungry mouths of all were filled. Swedish Plattar takes time to fry, so the making is a labor of love (due to the sheer volume of the batter, and the number you need to fill someone up!). The smudges and dribbles on the page make the recipe easy to find in the cookbook, and also attest to its perennial popularity. My daughters and I are all three nuns now and they as well as I continue the practice of making Swedish plattar for celebrations of God and His goodness.”

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Swedish Plattar Pancakes
SERVINGS
4-6people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
1hour
PREP TIME
5minutes (plus 2 hours standing time)
READY IN
1hour

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Beat the eggs add the milk, then the flour and whisk well. Add the melted butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and whisk.
  2. Let the batter stand for two hours or overnight
  3. Preheat a griddle to 325 degrees and brush with butter
  4. When the skillet is hot, drop in two - three tablespoons of batter for each pancake – about 4” in diameter
  5. Cook until golden on one side, and then flip to the other side (about 2 min. on each side)
  6. When golden, fold into thirds and remove to a plate and continue with the rest of the batter.
  7. The pancakes can be kept warm in a low oven. One recipe makes 30 - 4” pancakes. Serve with the jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Fresh fruit on the side makes a lovely presentation.

Good Friday Hot Cross Buns

Good Friday marks the second day of the Triduum (from the Latin for ‘three days’), the day on which we commemorate the Lord’s crucifixion and death. The Good Friday liturgies at our monastery (and many others around the world) mark our observance of Christ’s final hours, picking up from Maundy Thursday Eucharist, and continuing through the Holy Saturday Vigil, the Great Vigil of Easter, and carrying us all the way to Easter morning.

In keeping with the solemnity of the day, we remember Christ’s death by bringing to the liturgy of the hours the full range of spiritual depth and beauty found in the ancient texts; we participate in the veneration of the cross, and chant Gospel Passion Narrative. It is a special and holy time, filled with moments of silence, listening, reflection and conviction, as well as a time of joy-filled anticipation.

This day of the Cross marks us with God’s presence, and He marks us for his own.

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Good Friday Hot Cross Buns
SERVINGS
1dozen buns
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
dozen buns
COOK TIME
25mins
PREP TIME
30mins
READY IN
3hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Dissolve the yeast by sprinkling it over the very warm water and add a pinch of sugar to activate.
  2. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over low heat until about 100 degrees F. (but no more than 110 degrees)
  3. In a mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the warmed milk to the yeast mixture.
  4. Plump the raisins (or currants) and citron in the microwave with a little orange juice; cool and set aside
  5. To the yeast & milk mixture add the remaining sugar, melted butter, egg yolk and extract.
  6. Add the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger to the mixture and continue kneading.
  7. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
  8. Remove the orange juice from the raisins and citron and discard.
  9. Add the raisins and citron to the dough and mix well. The dough should be slightly sticky and not dry.
  10. Knead until soft and elastic, about 8 min. Shape into a ball.
  11. Brush the inside of a large bowl with butter. Put dough in the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hr. 30 min. **
  12. To form the rolls: Pam a 9x13” pyrex pan. Turn the dought out of the bowl and roll into a log. With a dough cutter or sharp knife, divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each of these pieces into a round bun shape, tucking the edges under.
  13. Place them seam side down in the prepared pan, leaving a little space between each roll. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the rolls are doubled in size, about 45 min. or longer.
  14. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare your egg wash.
  15. Prepare glaze: In a mixer, combine powdered sugar, milk and vanilla or almond extract and oil until smooth (the oil will give it a high gloss). The icing should be quite thick. If too runny, add more powdered sugar. Transfer icing to a pastry bag or a ziplock bag with a corner snipped off.
  16. Remove the plastic wrap from the top of the rolls and brush the buns with egg wash. Bake rolls until golden brown and puffy, about 25 min. (an instant read thermometer inserted into the roll should read 190 degrees F.)
  17. Ice buns with a thick cross shape on the top of the warm buns and serve.

** Please note:  This dough might take a long time to rise, but be patient...it is worth the wait because they will come out nice and light!

Convent English Muffin Bread

I have always found bread baking to be an intensely spiritual and creative act. You mix, you knead, you wait. It is prayer.

In our Convent during Lent, we always make an effort to serve a traditional Lenten meal, most often with candlelight and readings. A simple sampling of hard boiled eggs, cheese, some dried fruits, and nuts, is always accompanied by a smorgasbord of beautiful homemade breads. Tonight is no exception. With 65 Sisters in our Convent, we start early with our bread baking and continue through the day.

I am partial to this recipe, one that my grandmother passed on to me, and I am blessed to pass it on to you. It is wonderful sliced and toasted with a big smear of butter and jam. Don’t be daunted by making bread—there is really no fear to be had here! Bake and break bread with your family this Lent and see what God can do.

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Convent English Muffin Bread
SERVINGS
2loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
25minutes
PREP TIME
15​minutes
READY IN
2hours or less

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease two 8” loaf pans with Crisco and sprinkle the cornmeal over the bottom of the pans. Set aside
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  3. Sprinkle your yeast over the very warm water, mix with a fork and leave for about 5 min. until bubbles form and your yeast is “active”. (If your yeast doesn’t do anything at this stage, throw it out and begin again!)
  4. Microwave your milk until it is very warm to the touch, but not so much that you can’t stick your finger in it, about 125 degrees
  5. Add your warm milk to your active yeast mixture in a large bowl and sprinkle the sugar over. Mix with a wooden spoon.
  6. Add ​the​ flour, one cup at a time, stirring the dough as you go. After adding about 2 cups of flour, add your salt and baking soda, then add the remainder of your flour.
  7. The dough will look quite dry and stiff at this point, so remove the dough onto a counter and knead the rest of the flour into the dough until it is a smooth dough.
  8. Divide the dough in half, form two oblong loaves and press these into the prepared pans.
  9. Put the dough in a warm place to rise, covered with a tea towel, for about 45 min. The dough should be doubled in size.
  10. Bake in a 400 degree oven until golden brown and cooked through, about 25 min.
  11. Remove from the pans immediately onto a cooling rack and let cool.

Phenomenal Savory Bread Pudding

Recently four of our young sisters were invited to a neighbor’s house in our community for a special dinner. The next day when I asked, “So how was the dinner?”
the response was, “Phenomenal!” That didn’t surprise me knowing that the menu had featured a choice tenderloin of beef, which they all liked and
we rarely have at the Convent. What did surprise and amuse me was that each of them individually wanted to tell me about one special dish
that had put the meal “over the top” and sent it “out of the park.”

This was a savory bread pudding that included leeks, fresh mushrooms, Gruyere cheese, pancetta, and sherry. Well then, why wouldn’t that
impress anyone as a phenomenal dish? And because our brave leeks are still holding their own out in the garden, why shouldn’t we give
it a try here at home?  Well, we did, and sure enough it scored a home run with the whole sisterhood. Why not try it yourself and see
what kind of a rating it gets at your house?

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Phenomenal Savory Bread Pudding
SERVINGS
8-10people
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
people
COOK TIME
2hours
PREP TIME
READY IN
2.25hours

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the bread cubes on a sheet pan and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the oil and butter in a large (12-inch) sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add the pancetta and cook for 5 minutes, until starting to brown. Stir in the leeks and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are tender.
  5. Stir in the mushrooms, sherry, 1 tablespoon onion salt and 11/2 teaspoons pepper and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, until most of the liquid evaporates, stirring occasionally. Off the heat, stir in the parsley.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, chicken stock and 1 cup of the Gruyere.
  7. Add the bread cubes and mushroom mixture, stirring well to combine. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the bread to absorb the liquid.
  8. Stir well and pour into a 2 1/2-to-3-quart gratin dish (13 x 9 x 2 inches). Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Gruyere and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the top is browned and the custard is set. Serve hot.

Fluffy Banana Tea Bread

Twenty five years ago, our community collaborated on a cookbook called Recipes that Bear Repeating, which is still one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipes are tried and true, many of which have served our guests and retreatants over the years. One of our founders, Mother Cay, liked to remind us that Jesus loves to meet us in the little jobs that make up everyday life. “Life with Jesus,” she would say, “is in the mundane!” And we have found over and over again that He cares very much about the small things that concern us — what to have for dinner, how to celebrate our holidays, and so on through our daily life.

As we walk through Lent, we are reminded of these words, and pray that you also will meet Jesus in the kitchen, doing the laundry, cleaning the house or whatever your “mundane” might be.

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Fluffy Banana Tea Bread
from Recipes that Bear Repeating
SERVINGS
1loaf
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaf
COOK TIME
45mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
1hr

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside
  2. Cream together in a standing mixer the softened butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla and beat for 2 min. or until light and fluffy
  3. Add banana, sour cream, nuts (optional) and cream together
  4. Slowly add flour mixture slowly, one cup at a time, until just incorporated (do not overbeat or your batter will be tough)
  5. Pour into a well-greased 9x5x3" loaf pan (glass is best) or greased muffin tins.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 min. or until a tooth pick comes out partially clean. Bake 10-15 min. for muffins.
  7. Let cool slightly, turn out of pan and enjoy!

Bethany Whole Wheat Bread

Cape Cod faced an historic winter storm this week. As I was leaving work at Paraclete Press on Monday night, one of my customers emailed me and said, “Sister, don’t forget to stop and get your bread and water on the way home!  Be safe in the storm!”  I chuckled to myself because, little did she know, we were planning to bake fresh bread that night!

The recipe here has become one of our staples for the Convent.  It’s a lovely light whole wheat bread that we have been making for years. Shortly after it comes out of the oven, I always expect to see one of the Sisters sheepishly cutting a heel off one of the loaves and slathering it with butter and honey.  I imagine you might too!

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Bethany Whole Wheat Bread
SERVINGS
4loaves
CHANGE SERVING SIZE
loaves
COOK TIME
30-40mins
PREP TIME
15mins
READY IN
1.5hrs

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pour water into​ a​ large mixing bowl equipped with​ a​ dough hook, sprinkle yeast over and add sugar. Wait at least 5 min until bubbles form on the surface and the yeast is active.
  2. Add the honey and the oil and mix well​ on low speed.​
  3. Add the white flour​ and salt and continue mixing
  4. Add the whole wheat flour, a cup at a time​,​ just until it starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. You may not need all the flour listed here, or you may need more depending on the humidity of the day​. ​
  5. Dough will be barely sticky when it is ready ​- press your ​finger ​into it and see if it springs back​
  6. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Knead the dough, shape into a​n​ oblong loaf and place in well-greased bread pans.
  7. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 15 min. or until the dough is about 1 ½ to 2 inches above the pans.
  8. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 30-40 min. The bread should pull away from the sides of the pan and sound hollow when you tap on it.
  9. Transfer to a wire rack to cool … or slice and slather with fresh butter and jam!