Danish Aebleskiver: Take a Bite of Danish Heritage
A traditional delicacy, sweet aebleskiver connect today’s kitchens to immigrant fires.
Sweet æbleskiver may need only a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar before serving.
As a child, I looked forward to winter mornings when Mom took the special æbleskiver pan from the cupboard. The kitchen soon filled with the delicious aroma of the sweet, round treats that connected me to my ancestors.
The æbleskiver are a tasty tradition in my family, offering a glimpse into our Danish heritage and a delicious way to discover our immigrant roots. As fun to prepare as they are to eat, æbleskiver give cooks a chance to show off their choicest ingredients and let true personalities shine. While there are no rules dictating how they are prepared or served, the best recipes, a little patience and proper equipment can guarantee fabulous end results.
Æbleskiver, small Danish pancake balls, have been prepared for decades by chefs, bed and breakfast cooks, and many household cooks in the United States. They taste much like a sweetened pancake and are fairly easy to whip up with the proper equipment and a suitable recipe. The allure of the æbleskiver (pronounced AB-el-ski-wyr) <<E-ble-skee-ver>>is that they are easy to eat, and their somewhat cloudy Scandinavian history gives them a whimsical charm that trumps other breakfast fares. Danes traditionally don’t eat æbleskiver for breakfast; they are usually served for special occasions. The beauty of æbleskiver, however, is that it is completely up to you how – and when – you want to serve them.
While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact conception of æbleskiver, we accept that they were born in Denmark sometime before the 1600s and remain a traditional delicacy of Danes today. Served in Denmark for many occasions, but most often for the Christmas season, they have become popular in the United States as a delicious treat for most any meal, and an even better dessert. Æbleskiver are a perfect offering to visitors, as they look fancier than they really are and allow guests to customize their experience with any topping they choose. Served with a spread of fresh fruits, cheeses and the traditional glogg (a mulled wine drink similar to hot cider), you can embrace Danish tradition in the warmth of your own home.
Most cooks agree that the æbleskiver pan is the secret to a successful æbleskiver spread. Often called a “monk pan,” the cast-iron contraption contains several round indentations (or wells) for the batter to fry, and in newer pans, the seven or nine wells are also coated with a special nonstick surface for easier preparation. The pans can be ordered from many Scandinavian specialty shops, but it is also possible to find them at thrift stores and antique outlets, where they are often mislabeled as “egg pans.” Special care should be taken when using a monk pan on glass-top cooking surfaces, as it is extremely heavy.
Once the batter of your choice has been mixed, it is spooned into the wells of the æbleskiver pan. Some chefs prefer to prepare each divot with a bit of cooking oil prior to adding the dough. This can prevent sticking on an older pan, and it gives the æbleskiver a bit of extra crispiness that some diners favor.
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