Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hoito Restaurant’s Finnish Pancake Recipe, a Thunder Bay Favourite

Last month Paul and I were in Thunder Bay, Ontario, attending the 2015 TLR Convention.
TLR stands for Thousand Lakes Region, which is a division of the National Model Railroad Association, an organization with members in both the United Staes and Canada.

The convention had been organized by Frank Gerry and his son, Paul.
They did an excellent job and a great time was had by all.

The convention was a chance for us to get together with other model railroaders.
Four members of the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club - Ian Plett, Neil Carleton, Paul and I - received awards at the banquet.
We also attended clinics where we learned more about the hobby.
Local model railroaders allowed us to see their train layouts.

Thunder Bay is quite an interesting place.
We toured Resolute Forrest Products (a paper mill) and the Bombardier Transportation Plant, where they make standard railroad cars.
One evening we toured the Thunder Bay Historical Museum.
Paul Shaffer, the bandleader on The Late Show with David Letterman, is originally from there, but we didn’t visit his house.

Along with seeing Thunder Bay’s tourist sites we also sampled some of their delicacies.
When we signed in there was a platter of Persians on the desk.
Persians, a cinnamon bun pastry with pink icing, originated in Thunder Bay.

Many made a point of trying the Finnish pancakes at the Hoito at 314 Bay Street.
The Hoito Restaurant is in a historic building which was completed in 1910.
The building was initially used by the Työkansa Finnish Publishing Co., and by the Finnish Society Restaurant, and the Finnish Labour Temple.
It is popularly known as the Finnish Heritage building. 

In 1918 the Hoito Restaurant was established in the lower part of the building to offer hearty meals at low prices to the Finnish bushworkers. 
In the 1930s dinner there was 25 cents.
In the 1960s it was $1.00. 
Today it is a café style restaurant with home style food, featuring many Finnish dishes, including Finnish Pancakes.
Thank you, Darlene Granholm, head cook at Hoito, for the pancake recipe.

Having a hectic morning?
Don't have a griddle or cast iron skillet?
Just want something a little different?
Want something to jazz up a bit of leftover stew?
Try Baked Finnish pancakes!


If your batter is too runny, mix in a bit more flour.
If your batter is too heavy, simply add more milk.
I heard that some folks add a teaspoon of grated orange peel to the batter.
Well, not at the Hoito.

If you don’t have a griddle, a cast iron pan is recommended.
Pour in about 1 Cup batter, enough to cover 3/4 of the bottom.
Tilt the pan to cover bottom evenly, making one pancake at a time.

The Finnish way of serving is rolled up with fruit jams or jellies and a dab of butter.
Some people serve them dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
Or topped with syrup and berries.

Want fruit but don’t have berries?
Sliced bananas also go well with the pancakes.

These pancakes can also be used as crepes. 
You can serve them stuffed with cooked shrimp, scallops or chicken and rolled up.
They can be topped with any white cream sauce. 
Steamed asparagus in the crepes served with Hollandaise sauce is nice. 

                        Hoito Restaurant’s Finnish Pancakes

Serves 4-6

Place in a large bowl
5 eggs
6 Cups milk
Lightly whisk together.
2 teaspoons salt
4 Tablespoons sugar
Slowly mix in
3 Cups flour
You want it not too runny or too heavy.

Heat griddle to 350º - 400º F
Melt in griddle
1/2 teaspoon butter or margarine.
Add batter a half ladle at a time, making circles. 
Let brown on one side.
When bubbles appear on top, flip the pancake over. 
The colour should be golden brown on top and medium brown on bottom.  
Remove to warm plates and keep warm.
Repeat, re-buttering pan now and then, until all of the batter is gone.

Serve hot plain, or with strawberries and whipped cream.
Or with fried eggs and bacon. 

The Hoito Restaurant way is to serve them stacked and doused with pancake syrup.
A dab of butter is always good.


  1. In the picture they look a bit thicker than crepes.
    Are they the same texture that we have for pancakes in Canada?

  2. Hi, Charles,
    The thickness depends on how much batter you pour into the pan for each pancake. You can also make the batter thicker by adding more flour, and thinner by adding more milk.
    I find it's slightly different in texture from that of a regular pancake.

  3. Yum! Nice to see you Margaret.

  4. Thanks for sharing again. Happy New Year

    1. Happy New Year, Carole!

      Thanks for allowing bloggers to share on your blog


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