My hubby is of Dutch heritage (although a little Irish and German have sneaked in to his almost pure blood). I am a mutt—more Irish than anything, a little French, German, English, with a whole lot of Hillbilly! So our traditions are a tad all over the place. We eat pinto beans, cornbread, fried potatoes, and fried okra while drinking sweet tea out of mason jars like my Hillbilly ancestors. We put out wooden shoes in the Dutch tradition on St. Nick’s Day. We wear all green and eat bangers and mash with Irish soda bread and Dubliners cheese for St. Patrick’s Day. We have embraced a global heritage and enjoy adding new traditions when they fit our family.
This Christmas I received an Aebleskiver pan. I think it is pronounced able-skee-ver in the plural and able-skeeve in the singular (one little ball). The cast iron pan has eight little holes in it and is used to make nummy pancake-like balls that are usually topped with powdered sugar and served around the holidays. It is a Danish tradition that I thought might work its way into our hearts. So we decided to experiment.
When I looked into recipes there were several, although most could be sorted into two basic types—baking soda recipes and yeast recipes. Last month we tried a plain baking soda recipe and a Mexican chocolate recipe. The plain ones were a hit. The chocolate ones bombed.
Today Jeff and I spent a couple of hours in the kitchen trying a yeast recipe with various toppings. We liked the cinnamon and sugar the best (dip the finished aebleskiver in melted butter and roll in a mix of sugar and spice). We tried them with powdered sugar, strawberry jam, and chocolate ganache (even chocoholic Jeff did not like that). These are much denser, much prettier, but not as tasty as the baking soda type. They tasted more like a small dinner roll than a pancake. I think they would make amazing little slider sandwiches. I am keeping a few to try with roast beef or chicken salad.
The traditional way of making them would include cooked apples (thus the name AEBLE) in the middle of the ball. We haven’t tried that yet. It is on our list to try next time with caramel sauce. It is an ongoing experiment!
The recipe below is for the yeast balls. If you want to try the baking soda recipe, the recipe is here.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 envelope dry yeast
2 cups flour
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, separated
Fillings: Raspberry or strawberry preserves, powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar mixture, chocolate ganache, cooked apples, or your favorite meats.
Heat milk in microwave safe bowl until lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in milk.
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat egg whites in bowl of electric mixer until stiff. Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla into milk. Add the milk mixture into the flour and mix well. Fold egg whites into batter. Cover loosely and let rest one hour at room temperature.
Heat aebelskiver pan on medium heat. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small dish. Brush the inside of each indentation of the pan with butter. Pour batter into each indentation, about 2/3 full. Cook until golden brown underneath, 3-4 minutes. Using a wooden skewer, turn aebleskiver over and continue to cook until golden and cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
Remove æbleskiver from pan, and repeat with remaining batter. Serve æbleskiver with cinnamon and sugar (or other toppings) or use to make small sandwiches for a fun luncheon or fancy tea with the kids!