Sunday, April 23, 2017

Aebelskivers - a Danish breakfast treat.

I love Saturday morning breakfast. During the weekdays, I'm usually up and on my way so early that breakfast is more of a grab-and-go affair. For our family, we've also found that big Saturday morning breakfasts also help make the weekend cooking a little more efficient. A big, mid-morning Saturday breakfast means that we can get by with just one other meal for the day. For days when we have plenty of Saturday yard work and chores, getting by with fixing just two meals is a good thing.
One of our breakfast favorites is aebelskivers. For those of you who haven't heard of aebelskivers, they are a round Danish pancake. The word, "aebelskiver," actually translates as "apple slices." I've seen some recipes that include apple bits in them, but, more often than not, they don't include apples.
I was first introduced to aebelskivers during my elementary school years. Because they do involve a bit of work to prepare, we didn't have them very often, but they were a fun breakfast treat. During recent years, I've acquired an aebelskiver pan and have enjoyed making them for my family as a way to share a bit of my own Danish heritage. 
Because I am half Danish, I've been known to describe myself as a "slightly domesticated Viking." You are free to interpret that however you wish. My Danish ancestors immigrated to the United States near the turn of the last century and settled in northern Utah and southern Idaho. I honestly do not know to what extent any of my more remote ancestors engaged in any types of Viking raids or other activities that we tend to associated with Vikings.
Some fun facts about Denmark: 
  • Denmark is the smallest of the Scandinavian countries.
  • The Kingdom of Denmark actually includes Greenland and the Faroe islands which lie between Denmark and Iceland.
  • The current Danish monarchy traces its origins back to the 10th century.
  • Hans Christian Andersen, author of The Little Mermaid and The Emperor's New Clothes, was Danish. 
  • Legos were first produced in Billund, Denmark
  • Danish embroidery, features intricate cutwork as illustrated below. Perhaps that will be a topic for a future blog.

Let's get back to aebelskivers. To make aebelskivers, you will first need an aebelskiver skillet. Mine is a cast iron one, however, Nordicware makes a cast aluminum one that is available at Amazon.com. A typical aebelskiver pan will allow you to make seven at once.
So, now for the recipe. From what I've been told this is my Danish grandmother's recipe. Even if it isn't her exact one, it is similar to other recipes that I have found online.
Aebelskivers
Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp soda
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs separated
2 quarts buttermilk

Directions
Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the egg yolks and buttermilk. Beat until smooth. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Fold into the batter. Fry the aebelskivers in the aebelskiver skillet.

Now for the art of frying the aebelskivers:
I use non-stick spray on the inside of my skillet. You could also use vegetable oil if you wish. Heat the skillet over medium heat. Test it the way you would for making pancakes by sprinkling a few drops of water and see if they sizzle and skitter around. As with pancakes, it may take the first batch to get the heat just right.
Fill the cups of the skillet about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way full. Also as with pancakes, you will see the bubbles forming on the top of the batter.

When the aebelskivers have browned, you will need to flip them over. I've seen some sources say that aebelskivers are traditional turned with knitting needles. I just use a fork.
After you have flipped them over, allow the underside to brown and remove them from the skillet. I typically put them in a large serving bowl and place the bowl inside a warm oven while I am frying all of them. Aebelskivers are often eaten with jam. You can also top them with any of your favorite pancake and waffle toppings.