THURSDAY PEA SOUP

THURSDAY PEA SOUP `Pea Soup is a favorite throughout Scandinavia, where the combination of soup and pancakes is not an unusual one,' writes Beatrice Ojakangas. `In Sweden and western Finland, Thursday is the traditional day to eat this meal, and it is served all over: in small cafes, in the cafeterias of schools and places of work - and even in the Army - as well as in most homes.' SOUP: 2 cups dried Swedish yellow peas or yellow split peas Smoked pork shank or hock, about 1 1/2 lbs. 1 medium onion, sliced 1/2 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon marjoram Salt and pepper

If using Swedish yellow peas, rinse and pick over the peas. Place them in a large pot, add 2 quarts cold water, and let soak overnight. If you cannot find whole Swedish yellow peas, substitute yellow split peas which do not need to be soaked, but can be cooked immediately.

Add the pork, onion, thyme, and marjoram. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until both the pork and the peas are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add more water if necessary.

Remove and discard pork bones. Cut the meat into cubes and return them to the soup. Season with salt and pepper.

Serves 6 to 8.

SWEDISH PANCAKES `These pancakes are traditionally served with lingonberries or lingonberry preserves, as a dessert following Thursday Pea Soup,' Ms. Ojakangas writes. `Swedish cooks use a special cast-iron pan called a `plattpanna'... Otherwise, use an ordinary griddle and simply make small pancakes.' 1/2 cup flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream 3 eggs 2 tablespoons butter, melted Sour cream and lingonberry, strawberry, or raspberry preserves

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the milk, cream, eggs, and melted butter and blend until smooth. Brush the griddle with butter and place it over medium-high heat. To form each pancake, drop 1 tablespoon of batter onto the griddle.

After 1 to 2 minutes, when the edges begin to brown, turn each pancake over with a narrow spatula, and cook the other side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately with sour cream and preserves. Serves 4 to 6.

CARDAMOM CREAM CAKE `Pound cakes flavored with cardamom are popular in all of Scandinavia,' says Ojakangas. `Use only freshly ground cardamom, as the kind that is sold pre-grouind has little flavor.' 2 cups flour 1 cup sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom 1/8 teaspoon salt 3 eggs, at room temperature 1 1/2 cups heavy (whipping cream) Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch fancy or plain tube pan and dust with flour. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Blend in the eggs at low speed. Add the cream and beat at high speed, scraping the bowl, until the batter is the texture of softly whipped cream. Turn the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the cake tests done (a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake will come out clean.) Cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Invert onto a rack and cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

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