There are few things that scream Scandinavian Christmas as much as æbleskiver. These delicious puffy balls are served all of December in Denmark, usually with jam and powdered sugar, and accompanied by a warm cup of gloeg.
No-one really knows why they are called Danish pancakes, as they don’t really resemble a pancake at all. Some may say they look more like beignets. But, they are not as sugary and sweet. I believe I’ve had American friends who’s also referred to them as a kind of donut hole. For now, though, let’s stick with Danish Pancakes. They are after all still made in a pan.
You may not have this pan available in your household, as it’s a pan specifically designed for Danish pancakes. In fact, even in the US, it is referred to as an “Ebleskiver” pan. Luckily, it’s easy to get your hands on one. They sell for anything from $14 to $35+ at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Walmart, William-Sonoma, Amazon, and a host of online Scandinavian stores.
I use a cast-iron pan – the most traditional pan – but, there are also electrical pans available. If you don’t feel like spending the money, no need to worry. These pancakes can be made like regular pancakes as well. At Scandinavian Living, we do however feel like they lose some of their fluffiness this way, but they still taste just as delicious.
On this particular day, I went through my cabinet, and quickly noted I had most, but not all of the ingredients that goes into making the dough. These pancakes usually call for buttermilk, which I don’t generally stock in my fridge. I spotted some cream in the back, and figured that may do the trick. Before I knew it, I was whipping and stirring, and hoping to introduce my 20-month old daughter to her first “Ebleskiver.” One of my own favorite treats during the holiday season.
The final product turned out great, and my daughter loved them. This recipe is a bit heavy on the cardamom. But, we love cardamom, so we don’t mind. If you are not a fan of cardamom, play around with other spices, like nutmeg, cloves, or cinnamon. Some people also boil some apples and add a small piece to the middle of the pancake. This is the traditional way of making Danish pancakes, and where the name comes from. “Æble” is the Danish word for apple, and “skiver” is slices.
So, please enjoy these ‘Apple Slices,’ and let us know in the comments what you think, and what you did to play up the recipe.
Ingredients (makes about 40)
2 cups of flour
1 cup of cream
1/2 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp butter
Combine the flour, cardamom, salt, and sugar in a bowl and sift together. Set aside. Then separate the yolk and egg whites into two bowls. Set the egg whites aside for a bit. Stir the egg yolks in with the cream and milk, and combine the mixture with the flour mix. Now, let this rest in the fridge for about 1/2 an hour or so.
In the meantime, melt the butter at low heat on a pan, and whip the egg whites until they have stiffened. The fluffier, the better. This will make the pancakes fluffier.
Now it’s time to combine everything. First, mix the melted butter in with the dough from the fridge. Make sure it’s mixed evenly to produce a nice smooth dough. Now, the more tricky par: mixing in the egg whites. Take your time with this part as you want everything to stay nice and fluffy. So, pour in the egg whites. Then use a spoon to slowly wrap the dough around the egg whites. No need to stir vigorously. Just slowly and softly mix the whites with the dough until it’s nice and smooth again.
You are now ready to bake.
Add the mixture to a pitcher. This will make it easy to pour the dough into the pan. Warm the pan at medium to low heat. Put a tiny piece of butter in each hole in the pan and let it melt. Then pour in dough almost to the top of the hole. Don’t fill it up completely, the pancakes will rise. Once you feel like they have been properly baked on one side. It’s time to turn them over.
I like to use a lobster pick which works great, but you can also use a skewer. My mom used to use a metal knitting pick, and some people simply use a fork.
Stick the pick at the side of the pancake, and with a quick movement, turn it over. See if you can turn it as far as possible to get that perfect round shape. But, don’t worry if you can’t. I think the only one who’s mastered this perfectly is my late grandmother who had this down to an art form.
Let it finish baking on the other side and transfer on to an oven-safe dish. You can keep the Danish pancakes warm in the oven while you finish your batch.
Note: Danish Pancakes are suitable for freezing and re-heating