Danish Aebleskiver: Take a Bite of Danish Heritage

A traditional delicacy, sweet aebleskiver connect today’s kitchens to immigrant fires.
Linsey Knerl
September/October 2009
Add to My MSN

Sweet æbleskiver may need only a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar before serving.
Lori Dunn
Slideshow


Content Tools

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.

ÆBLESKIVER RECIPES:
Chocolate Æbleskiver Recipe
Cherry Æbleskiver Recipe

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) <>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. 

Preparing æbleskiver

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.

Keep the heat at medium-high or, for a new pan, check the manufacturer’s directions for recommended temperatures.

After a brief time cooking on one side, usually less than a minute, each æbleskive will need to be adjusted one quarter turn. Many recipes call for them to be pricked with a fork or bamboo skewer and flipped over, but traditionally, this practice was done with a clean knitting needle or hatpin. Continue cooking on all four “sides” of the rounded creation, until it is golden brown all over. You may also prefer to insert the hatpin or knitting needle gently into the center of the æbleskive to check for doneness. Once the æbleskiver have been evenly cooked, they can be removed from the pan and allowed to cool slightly before serving. Æbleskiver are best served warm, but not so hot that they burn mouths. 

Dressing æbleskiver

The beauty of these little “pancake balls” is that they are as versatile as the cook who creates them, offering an opportunity to pair them with most any fruit, cream, sugar or spice. Traditional recipes from Danish immigrants suggest that apples were the favorite ingredient for households with a limited supply of fresher or more exotic elements (such as lemon zest or the popular cardamom). In fact, the name æbleskiver literally means “apple slices” in the Danish language, and, in addition to the accepted technique of spooning fresh apples and applesauce onto the dough before they are cooked, they also are often served with fresh fruit strewn over the final product.

These little blank canvases take on nicely the flavor of most any preserve or jelly, as well. Common variations include topping with applesauce, dusting with powdered sugar, dipping in marmalade, or baking the fruit directly into the batter itself. Honey, maple and white corn syrups can also provide a more “American” experience, giving them a taste similar to today’s waffles or pancakes.

Linsey Knerl writes about simple living from her rural Nebraska home as she homeschools her brood of four children. 

Gær Æbleskiver (Pancake Balls with Yeast)

1 yeast cake or 1 envelope dry active yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups rich milk
2 cups flour
4 eggs 

Combine yeast, sugar and salt. Heat milk to lukewarm over low heat, then add to flour.

Add yeast mixture, then eggs one at a time. Mix well and allow dough to rise for about 2 hours before baking in æbleskiver pan, using the following method: 

Fill holes about 3/4 full of batter and bake. When half baked, turn with sharp fork or clean knitting needle. Serve with jam or jelly.

Flødeæbleskiver (Pancake Balls with Cream)

4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweet cream
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cardamom 

Beat egg whites separately. Beat eggs yolks with sugar and salt. Add cream, flour, cardamom and beaten egg whites. Bake in æbleskiver pan.

Note: Sour cream may be used in place of sweet cream, but 1/2 teaspoon baking soda will need to be added.

Kærnemælks Æbleskiver (Buttermilk Pancake Balls)

3 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
Applesauce 

Beat egg yolks, and add sugar, salt, buttermilk, and flour mixed with soda and baking powder. Beat egg whites until stiff and add last. Bake in butter or shortening in æbleskiver pan, putting 1 teaspoonful applesauce on top of dough before turning halfway through. Serve with jam. 

Sweetest Æbleskiver

2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup cinnamon
1/2 cup white granulated sugar 

Combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar and butter. Prepare æbleskiver pan with additional melted butter in each well; bake. When finished cooking, remove æbleskiver, and roll each in mixture of cinnamon and sugar before serving.

Healthier Æbleskiver 

2 cups lowfat buttermilk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs equivalent of egg substitute
2 tablespoons Splenda or non-sugar baking sweetener 

Combine all ingredients to form batter. Prepare æbleskiver pan by lightly spraying nonfat cooking spray in each well before heating. Bake æbleskiver as recommended, and remove when evenly cooked. Serve with choice of lowfat or sugar-free toppings, such as natural applesauce, fresh blueberries or sugar-free jam.

Additional Cooking Tips

● Many of the recipes for æbleskiver suggest that eggs be separated before being beaten and added to the mix. While this is certainly preferred to create a lighter and fluffier æbleskiver, those who are pressed for time may skip this step and add both yolk and white to the batter.

● If you are using a cast-iron monk pan without nonstick coating for the first time, it is recommended that you follow the directions included with your pan to “season” it. A basic method of “seasoning” requires that you coat the inside of the clean, dry pan with cooking oil or lard before baking it upside down in a 350°F oven. The entire process should take no more than 1 hour, and it will leave your cast-iron pan with a natural nonstick surface perfect for cooking æbleskiver.

● If you choose to add a filling or a bit of fresh fruit to your æbleskiver, it is appropriate to do so immediately after filling each well with the batter. Your special ingredient may be placed directly on top of the batter – just be sure the batter doesn’t overflow the batter well.

● Leftover æbleskiver may be kept frozen for up to 3 months. Allow them to cool completely and seal them tightly in a marked freezer bag. Some cooks prefer to separate layers of æbleskiver with parchment paper for easy removal in batches. Frozen æbleskiver can be reheated in an oven or microwave for easy serving.

HELP WANTED

● Phyllis Lewis, Satanta, Kansas, needs a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies that uses cooking oil, and the raisins are soaked in pineapple juice.

● Kedo Erpelding, Woodstock, Minnesota, is searching for an ethnic Polish recipe that sounds like “maybeddle” or “maybittle.” Her great aunt used to make the large, single dumpling in a stockpot. The dough was placed in a cheesecloth to boil, much like lutefisk. When the dumpling was done and drained, it was served sliced with hot prunes and prune juice poured over the dumpling.

● Karen Novotne, Gibbon, Nebraska, hopes to replace a lost recipe for salsa that calls for cornstarch. The salsa is then canned.

● Julia Butler, Charleston, Missouri, is looking for a recipe that includes cans of beef stew topped with cornbread. It’s a baked, one-dish meal.

● Marilyn Hopkins, Huff, Kentucky, requests a recipe for ribbon cake that alternates layers of crushed graham crackers, red gelatin and green gelatin. She remembers it at church potlucks about 40 years ago.

● Cheryl Leonard, Wilson, North Carolina, is looking for a Lemon Molasses Squares recipe. Her parents have been married for 58 years, and they remember making the dessert in Florida. The children have heard of the recipe more than once, and they would like to replace their parents’ lost recipe. Some of the ingredients are cornflakes, lemon and molasses.

● Rose Beck, Watertown, South Dakota, is looking for a recipe for beer bread that has cornmeal sprinkled on top before baking.

● Janice Dereske, Kalamazoo, Michigan, is craving a Lithuanian dish called kugeli. It was made with grated potatoes, eggs, flour, bacon or fatback, and possibly grated onion. The dish was baked, and the kugeli was sliced and fried.

● Cindy Tedrow, Batavia, Iowa, hopes someone has recipes for sweet pickle relish and dill pickle relish, as well as recipes using blackberries.


Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Next






Post a comment below.

 

Lucy Stot
12/16/2011 3:20:19 PM
What you are describing as maybeddle looks like kluski (dumplings), I found recipe for it ion Internet, maybe it will help: Makes about 20 Polish Steamed Dumplings or Kluski Na Parze Prep Time: 60 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Total Time: 80 minutes Ingredients: • 2 packages active dry yeast • 4 teaspoons sugar • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm milk • 1 pound all-purpose flour • 1/2 teaspoon salt • 2 large eggs • 3 tablespoons melted butter Preparation: 1. In a small bowl, make a sponge by dissolving yeast and sugar in milk and combining with 1/2 cup of the flour. The mixture should be the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and let rise until doubled. 2. In a large bowl, combine remaining flour and salt, eggs and yeast mixture. Mix by hand or machine (the dough will be sticky) until it blisters and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add cooled melted butter and mix well. 3. Let rise until doubled. Turn out onto a floured surface, kneading in more flour if too sticky. Pat out to a 1-inch thickness and cut with a 3-inch cutter or glass. Reroll scraps and cut again. Cover and let rise until doubled. 4. Meanwhile, fill two large pots 3/4 full of water. Using butcher's twine, tie a circle of flour sacking or other lint-free cloth over the top of the pots and bring the water to a boil. Place dumplings on the cloth leaving 2 inches space between because they will grow. Place the lid on top of the pot and steam the dumplings for 15 minutes. Don't lift the lid during the steaming because the dumplings will collapse. Transfer dumplings to a wire rack to cool. Store dumplings in a zip-top bag in the refrigerator or freeze. Warm dumplings in the pan juices of roasted meats or in gravy. For a sweet version, fry both sides in butter until golden, and serve sprinkled with sugar. Some also add cinnamon and yet others serve with stewed fruits or conserves.

Pat Lambert
10/2/2009 12:13:29 PM
Lithuanian Kugelis Submitted By: J Sell Sr/Jr Prep Time: 30 Minutes Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes Ready In: 2 Hours Servings: 12 "This is a Lithuanian potato and bacon dish that my family makes mainly during the holiday season. It goes great with ham or turkey. This recipe is time consuming but well worth the work put into it!" Ingredients: 1 pound bacon, diced 2 large onions, diced 1/2 cup butter 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and shredded 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk 6 eggs Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 2. Place bacon in a Dutch oven set over medium heat, cover, and cook until the bacon has softened and begun to release it's grease. Stir in the onion and cook until softened and translucent. Remove the cover, and continue cooking and stirring until the mixture caramelizes and turns a deep, golden brown. Remove from heat and stir in butter to melt. 3. Stir shredded potatoes into the onion mixture, then stir in the evaporated milk and eggs until well combined. Pour into a 9x13-inch glass baking dish. 4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until golden on top. Remove and let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into 3x3-inch squares. Serve hot. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2009 Allrecipes.com from Allrecipes.com 10/2/2009

Will
8/15/2009 4:16:11 PM
Wonderful article. I've seen these treats a few times at fancy breakfast buffets but never knew the rich history behind this delicacy. Thank you for the clear and detailed instructions. You've inspired me to give this a shot at my next family gathering.

Will
8/15/2009 4:15:57 PM
Wonderful article. I've seen these treats a few times at fancy breakfast buffets but never knew the rich history behind this delicacy. Thank you for the clear and detailed instructions. You've inspired me to give this a shot at my next family gathering.

Chef Arne of Solvang
8/14/2009 11:01:13 PM
It was nice to read the story you wrote on aebleskiver. I have also a series of stories and the history related to the rest of the world. You can see it by going to my website: www.aebleskiver.com and when you sign up for the news letter you will automatic get a series of letters with the whole story. We are also having new aebleskiver pans manufactured, incuding an electric heated table model that is coming out in about a month. Recently we launched a new light weight nine hole pan with the newest non-stick surface. They turned out to be our best seller so far. You can see it also on that site. You are welcome to leave a message to me there also. I like when people send me their experiences. Have fun with your browsing. Sincerely, Arne www.aebleskiver.com








Pay Now & Save 50% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Live The Good Life with Grit!

For more than 125 years, Grit has helped its readers live more prosperously and happily while emphasizing the importance of community and a rural lifestyle tradition. In each bimonthly issue, Grit includes helpful articles, humorous and inspiring articles, captivating photos, gardening and cooking advice, do-it-yourself projects and the practical reader advice you would expect to find in America’s premier rural lifestyle magazine.

Get your guide to living outside the city limits delivered straight to your mailbox. Subscribe to Grit today!  Simply fill in your information below to receive 1 year (6 issues) of Grit for only $19.95!

SPECIAL BONUS OFFER!

At Grit, we have a tradition of respecting the land that sustains rural America. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing to Grit through our automatic renewal savings plan. By paying now with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of Grit for only $14.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and send me one year of Grit for just $19.95!