Our family delights in these round Danish pancakes. When the special pan comes out of the pantry, everyone prepares for the anticipated treat. By cunning means, these little balls seem to disappear often before even adorning a plate. They are excellent served with honey, dressed with a simple drizzle of syrup, or filled with jam and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Add a dollop of tangy sour cream in combination with the sweet syrup and they become even more intriguing and irresistible. No one can eat just one!

3 eggs, separated
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
2 cups buttermilk

The traditional Danish æbleskiver came about in the 17th century. Since then, they have become a favorite pancake served at festivals, fairs, markets, and holidays. Originally, the recipe called for apple to be used in the batter, hence the name æbleskiver, which means “sliced apples”. Although, it is no longer made with anything but the batter, fillings such as an apple slice, jam, or chocolate may be added before the last one or two turns to seal it inside the ball. Also, the batter is often flavored with cardamom or citrus zest. Cardamom (kardemomme) is a favorite spice brought to Scandanavia from Constantinople by the vikings and used in many dishes. The traditional æbleskiver pan was once made of hammered copper. Today, pans are usually cast iron with seven concave indentations.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and cardamom (optional) over a sheet of parchment paper or in a separate bowl. Alternately, add the flour mixture and the buttermilk to the egg yolks in the large mixing bowl. Whisk after each addition until the ingredients are blended into a smooth batter.

In a separate mixing bowl with a clean whisk or with an electric hand-mixer, beat the egg whites to stiff but soft peaks. With a rubber scraper, gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Be mindful not to stir.

Heat the æbleskiver pan over low heat. Spray with cooking oil or place a small amount of butter in each of the individual indentations. Fill each cup with batter to nearly full. Cook until they begin to brown on the bottom. Using a spoon or a wooden skewer, gently lift the side of the æbleskiver up about a quarter of the way for the batter to settle in the cup again and the new section to begin to cook. When golden, rotate the ball a quarter turn to create a V-shape with the two cooked portions and allow the batter again to flow into the depression. For the last turn, completely flip the balls over with the opening of the ball inside the cup to cook the last bit of batter remaining. When done, the ball should be perfectly round with no openings. It takes some time to learn to make them perfectly. Even those with open ends will taste delicious and are ready to be filled with jam or syrup.

Yield: About 24 balls from a traditional size pan

From the Recipes of Robyn J. Mock


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