Sunday, February 1, 2015

Aebelskivers -- Swedish Pancakes and a Kitchen Gadget!

A long time ago I had a friend named Joe K.  One neat thing about Joe was how much he admired his mother and her talents.  When he found out I liked to cook, he got me some of her favorite recipes, among which was aebelskivers, AKA Swedish pancakes.

The recipe is written in her hand and I cherish it and the others with it.  I have made them and loved them; the recipe cards are yellowed with age and stained with food splatters.

Page 1.  I think her name was Betty.
My house was filled with family and I wanted to make a fun breakfast for them all.  Then I realized my blog goal to use some interesting kitchen gadgets would be perfect for this:  to make aebelskivers, you need an aebelskiver pan.

Mine is cast iron.  I don't know how old it is; I probably got it from one of my grandparents and I recall that aebelskivers were a bit of a fad in the 1960s and 1970s, so that could be when they purchased it.

Aebelskivers are tasty like American pancakes but they are lighter and ball-shaped.  The pan allows that shape to happen.  They are good served with a dusting of powdered sugar, or syrup, or jam, and a little bit of soft butter.  A great start to a fun breakfast.

(makes 56 cakes)

6 eggs, separated
1 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder

Separate eggs.  Add cream of tartar to whites and best until stiff but not dry-looking.  

Sift flour (pre-measured), sugar, salt, and baking powder together.  

Beat egg yolks, buttermilk, and vanilla together.

Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture and beat until smooth.  Fold in egg whites carefully.

Heat aebelskiver pan over burner until drop of water dances on bottom of cup.  Brush cups with salad oil.  Spoon 1/2 full with batter.

Turn once, using fork and paring knife (some people use knitting needles).

When brown on both sides, remove to hold in oven at approximately 250 degrees F.  

Frequently refold batter, as whites tend to rise to top.

Batter's up!
My Notes

The directions are straight-forward and easy to follow.  That being said, it has been a long time since I made aebelskivers so I made some mistakes when cooking them:

  • I put too much oil in the cups.  Just brush them lightly.  You don't want oil puddles.
Do not do this at home.
  • I beat the egg whites too much -- they got dry-looking and that made keeping the aebelskivers in their ball shape difficult when turning them.  They kept deflating!  
Stop before this stage
or they will be too flat!
  • I had some issues getting the pan to heat evenly, which I don't recall ever happening before.  I'm not sure why.  What I did was put the aebelskiver pan over an inverted cast iron skillet so that the skillet evened out the heat.
This burned off all the seasoning on the skillet
The Verdict

Success!  Oh yes, they were tasty!  We all enjoyed them despite my blunders and I would do them again any time I had the opportunity to feed a crowd.

Just some of the batch
We did discuss what could be done if you wanted the aebelskivers but didn't have the special pan. We tried baking them in mini-muffin pans at 350 degrees F but the texture was not the same.  They were certainly edible and tasty but they weren't pancake-like.  I think they would make good quick breads, especially with a spoonful of jam in the middle.

We also tried cooking them like regular pancakes, and had good results.  The flavor and the texture were right; the only thing missing was the cute and interesting ball shape.  So this is how I would recommend cooking them if you want to give them a try but you don't have or want to buy the pan.

By the way, the other recipes in the set are Apple Pfankuchen, Pfeffernüsse, and Lebkuchen.  All quite yummy!

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