Light, airy Aebelskiver, Danish puffed pancakes, make breakfast a little special.
I've been meaning to get out in the garden, but so far this Spring, the weather hasn't been cooperating. Once again, we've had a soggy weekend. And so, instead of putting up netting for the peas and cleaning out the side garden, I decided to make Aebelskiver. These little, spherical cakes are sort of a cross between a pancake and a popover; the batter is similar to that of a Belgian waffle. Served with blueberry jam and powdered sugar, they would be just the thing.
This decision was also driven by the fact that I recently picked up a vintage cast iron Aebelskiver pan at the thrift store, and wanted to try it out. The makers of this pan kindly incribed the word "Aebelskiver" on the handle, to remove any doubt about its purpose, and I had a general idea about this, from various catalogs that sell them for making "filled pancakes". In truth, I would have bought the pan anyway, because I never met a cast iron pan I didn't like (remembering the cat muffins).
I also thought that at breakfast I could page through a recent book find, a 1950 first edition of Helen and Scott Nearing's The Maple Sugar Book. I find the Nearings, originators of the back to the land movement, completely fascinating; in this book, Helen describes how they left New York in 1932 to establish a homestead and maple sugaring operation in southern Vermont. She's practical and political: describing both how to take care of a sugarbush, and why working your tail off in the boonies of Vermont is superior to toiling away in wage serfdom in the city. In this book, you can also find out how many cords of wood are needed to make 1000 gallons of syrup, or to heat a small house for a year.
But I never got around to the book. Making the Aebelskiver required all my attention. I cleaned and re-seasoned the pan, did some recipe research, and combined features of several into a formula that I thought would work best. Tips: One thing I omitted that you might want to put in is cinnamon; it seems to be featured in some recipes. The main point about making the Aebelskiver is to regulate the pan temperature so that they brown quickly, but do not burn before they are ready to be turned. This will take a bit of trial and error.
1 and 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 and 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon sugar
1 and 3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
fresh blueberries, or jam
1. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, set aside.
2. Beat the egg whites with an additional tablespoon of sugar until stiff; set aside.
3. Beat together the egg yolks and buttermilk, then stir into the dry ingredients. Add the melted butter while beating. Mix until uniform, then fold in the beaten egg whites.
4. Heat Aebelskiver pan on stove top until hot. Put a pea-sized piece of butter in each depression. The pan should not be so hot that the butter browns instantly, but it should sizzle enthusiastically.
5. With an ice cream scoop or serving spoon, quickly fill the depressions halfway. Allow to cook until bubbling on the outside but still liquid in the center, about a minute. At this point, you may optionally place a small bit of filling in the center. I will advise you that it's much easier to just cook them and put jam on at the table!
6. Put another tablespoon of batter on top, and then turn the Aebelskiver in the pan to cook on the other side. Use two wooden chopsticks or metal skewers to do this. If the pan is well-seasoned, this will be fairly easy to do.
7. Serve with jam and powdered sugar, and enjoy! Back to the land - Later. The garden can wait.