, your supreme Sovereign of sweetness – the mighty TFD! – has a great, unplumbed depth of delight when it comes to pancakes! Make them spherical and Scandinavian and you will discover the toothsome joy of Danish æbleskiver!
Æbleskiver are Danish snacks that are – as just noted – spherical in shape.They were traditionally cooked with apple (æble) slices (skiver) but apples are now sadly very rarely included in modern Danish forms of the dish.
Somewhat similar in texture to European pancakes crossed with a popover or Yorkshire pudding, æbleskiver are solid like a pancake but light and fluffy like a popover. The English language spelling is usually aebleskiver or ebleskiver.
One story about the origins of æbelskiver is that during the time of the Vikings, when they roamed the coastal waters of England and the Atlantic, one band of these rough Vikings was hard-hit in battle. As they returned to their ship with dented horn helmets and shields, they made pancakes to regain their strength. They didn’t have proper cookware so they greased their dented shields and poured the batter on them over a fire. The first aebleskivers were born.
Æbleskiver are today cooked on the stove top by baking in a special pan with several hemispherical indentations. The pan exists in versions for gas and electrical stoves (the latter with a plain bottom). Pans are usually made of cast iron, allowing good heat retention. Traditional models in hammered copper plate exist but are today used primarily for decoration.
The batter for æbleskiver usually includes wheat flour, which is mixed with buttermilk, milk or cream, eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt (some recipes also include fat (usually butter), cardamom and lemon zest) and a leavening agent, most often baking powder, but sometimes yeast, to aerate the batter.
Batter is poured into the oiled indentations and as the æbleskiver begin to cook, they are turned with a knitting needle, wooden skewer or fork to give the cakes their characteristic spherical shape. Æbleskiver are not sweet themselves but are traditionally served dipped in raspberry, strawberry, black currant or blackberry jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
In Denmark, æbleskivers are traditionally eaten during the Christmas season and are often served with gløgg, Scandinavian mulled wine. They are often sold at Christmas markets, charity markets, Scouting functions, local sports gatherings and similar.
They are also served at children’s birthday parties, due to their popularity and easy preparation. Voluntary associations gain profit from preparing them from the pre-fried, frozen stage and selling them, usually three at a time, with the usual condiments.
In North America there are several annual events that celebrate æbleskiver and Danish culture, with churches and museums holding “Æbleskiver Suppers” and similar events.
TFD endorses only cast iron, proper æbelskiver pans – this one fits the bill nicely: Cast Iron Danish Aebleskiver Pan, Preseasoned Cast Iron Cookware for Pancake Puffs, Makes 7 Pancake Balls by Commercial Chef
A pair of wooden chopsticks are the best tool for turning in cast iron, as anything metal or too hard will scrape up the patina in your cast iron pan – this is to be avoided at all costs! Also to be avoided are non-stick coated pans or God help us, aluminum – they never hear evenly and will result in burned golf balls, trust me.
My version of these descendants of Vikings past takes a distinctly southern detour to the spice islands while still remaining totally true to the origins of the recipe. Unlike modern recipes, I have put back in the original apple filling, albeit seasoned to my taste with cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom instead of the classic cinnamon alone. I also have them in bit form as opposed to slices, as I think it improves the flavor and texture of the final product.
I also use the original yeasted batter, as opposed to baking powder, as it gives a better lift and taste to the spheres. Lastly, another trip to the heady islands of spice is made by calling for powdered vanilla sugar instead of just regular powdered sugar and using coconut oil to grease the pan indentations instead of butter. By all means, use butter if you prefer not to have a slight taste of coconut – I happen to love it.
Don’t worry if the first batch or two didn’t turn out and flip all the way or if it doesn’t look quite “right” because they’ll still taste wonderful! You’ll quickly get the hang of it, never fear!
I know you will love these delights, ! 😀
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg white
- 100 ml whole milk
- 100 g flour
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 7 ½ g fresh yeast or 2 ½ g dry yeast
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- 1 Cameo, Gala or Honeycrisp apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- splash of fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon freshly-ground cardamom (TFD change, switch to cinnamon for original recipe)
- ½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg (TFD change, switch to cinnamon for original recipe)
- Coconut oil for greasing ebelskiver pan (TFD change, original recipe calls for butter)
- Powdered vanilla sugar (for dusting the final product)
- Strawberry jam (TFD strongly prefers Bon Mamon brand) thinned with fresh orange juice to make a dipping sauce consistency
- Cut apples into small chunks or use food chopper/processor to save time. Add a splash of lemon to apples and stir (to prevent browning).
- Add cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg to apple mixture and set aside.
- Dissolve the yeast in the milk, whisk in the egg yolks, then the salt and sugar and lastly the flour. Whip the egg whites stiff and fold into the batter.
- Let the batter rest for 30 minutes, before beginning the frying process.
- Pour batter into a small pitcher for ease of pouring into ebelskiver pan (optional but recommended).
- Heat stove top to medium. Using basting brush, saturate the indents of the ebelskiver pan with coconut oil and pour batter halfway into each crater of the ebelskiver pan.
- Add a dollop of the apple filling on top of the batter of each crater on the pan and pour batter to cover apple filling onto each crater.
- When the edges seem cooked, use a wooden skewer or chopstick skewers (or anything similar that won’t scratch or melt) to turn the ebelskivers 90 degrees, so that you see ½ a sphere and ½ flat.
- One tip is to remember which ebelskiver indent you filled with batter first and go clockwise from there. This way, you will recall which ebelskiver will likely need to be flipped first.
- Again, wait until the edges have set and turn again, this time more than 90 degrees, so that you see a full curvature of the sphere on top.
- Now, wait a bit before you start turning the ebelskiver occasionally, until you are satisfied with the color of the ebelskiver – they should be lightly browned. The cooking time in total is a minute or two, depending on your heat level.
- Lift the ebelskiver out with a skewer, and begin the next portion. If the pan looks dry, brush the pan with coconut oil again. Keep completed æbelskiver in a low oven to stay warm if you’re making more than one batch.
- Dust with powdered vanilla sugar (blitz the sugar in a food processor if it’s not a sufficient powdery consistency from the bag).
- Allow to cool for a couple minutes before serving.
- Store in refrigerator if not eating right away. Serve with dipping sauce.
- Calories: 208.4 kcal
- Sugar: 13.32 g
- Sodium: 369.71 mg
- Fat: 4.45 g
- Saturated Fat: 2.72 g
- Trans Fat: 0.0 g
- Carbohydrates: 37.19 g
- Fiber: 3.91 g
- Protein: 5.77 g
- Cholesterol: 39.11 mg
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