Pat Sinclair has a long history as a recipe developer and food consultant. She has
worked for many high-profile corporations whose products are used by home cooks and bakers. She was the recipe editor for two Pillsbury Classic Cookbooks and a Land O’Lakes cookbook. She has written culinary books of her own, including Baking Basics and Beyond, which received the Cordon d’Or Gold Ribbon from the Academy of Culinary Arts.
Fortunately for those of us who love to bake and are constantly looking for special, less-common recipes, Pat has recently published another book, Scandinavian Classic Baking (Pelican Publishing Company, 2011).
I was especially interested in reading Pat’s book as my best friend in high school was Danish and I also wrote Pea Soup Andersen’s Scandinavian-American Cookbook (10 Speed Press, 1985). I was not disappointed and, in fact, discovered many new recipes from her collection.
This charming book focuses on the butter- and cream- rich recipes from Northern
Europe. While Pat is not Scandinavian, she and her family moved to Minnesota
over 30 years ago. Shortly after arriving, their church had a fundraiser. One of
the members offered to make some traditional Scandinavian desserts as long as
someone assisted her. Pat readily volunteered.
In the 19th century, thousands of Scandinavians came to the United States in
search of a better life and settled in Minnesota because the cool climate and
crystal clear lakes are so similar to their home in Scandinavia.
Pat worked on several local community cookbooks and, in the process, became
somewhat of an expert on Scandinavian baking. She has now shared this
expertise with us.
The contents of Pat’s books are designed to fit Scandinavian daily rituals. For
instance, “coffee tables” are gatherings recognizing baptisms, confirmations,
engagements, anniversaries and birthdays. They can be held at any time of day
but usually occur late in the afternoon or early evening and feature at least three
courses. There may be seven or more baked goods including open-faced
sandwiches, cakes, cookies and tarts. No matter what delights appear on the
table, the main beverage is always coffee, often “improved” with vodka or
She offers us coffee breads, cakes, cookies, tarts, fruit desserts and pastries and
traditional favorites. Interspersed with recipes are interesting anecdotes about
Scandinavian life and photographs by Joel Butrowski include both classic photos
of Scandinavian life as well as breads and desserts that fairly leap from the pages.
I have to say that I cannot read a cookbook like this without getting up and baking
something or at least having a good stash of chocolate next to me. If you are a
baker, you will love this book!
Here are two samples of Pat’s luscious choices in Scandinavian Classic Baking: