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In the Kitchen with Aebleskivers
updated: May 01, 2010, 10:20 AM
By Leah Etling
If you've ever taken a trip over the hill to the little Danish town of Solvang, you may have tried aebleskivers.
My mother's family has been in Solvang for over 80 years, and part of our Danish heritage is making the tennis-ball sized pancakes at home.
A Solvang businessman once reminded me that "No self-respecting Dane would eat aebleskivers for breakfast," so though our American tastes for sugary sweets might not mind the dessert-like meal in the morning, in Denmark, aebleskivers would be consumed at dessert.
As all my high school friends with Danish heritage agree, the best aebleskivers are not the ones that you get in Solvang, even at Danish Days (although those made in the streets are better than those made in the local restaurants, no matter which one you go to).
If you're not familiar with the process, you may be wondering: How do they get that nifty round shape? The answer is a pan that looks a lot like an egg poacher, and a knitting needle… a kitchen accessory you probably never needed until now.
If you don't have a pan, I'd recommend getting one at Steve Nelson's Royal Copenhagen Shop (1683 Copenhagen) in Solvang. He carries the newer models - not made of cast iron so they don't weigh 30 pounds anymore - and you can pick one up for less than $30 even though they're imported from Denmark.
The pan has nine half circles in its base, and when you've prepared the dough (recipe below), each circle is filled level. As the pancakes cook, use the knitting needle to carefully move the cooked edges up and around, just a few centimeters at a time, until a perfect round ball is formed.
My mother recently found this new recipe for the dough that requires just 2 eggs (our old one had 6!) and I am pleased to share it with you.
2 cups buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp melted butter
Separate egg whites from yolks and beat the whites until stiff. Mix all the other ingredients. Then fold in the egg whites.
You'll need to season your pan the first time you use it, so use vegetable oil, Crisco or butter to get the cups ready for their first batch. The pancakes are ready to turn when bubbles rise up to the top. They're done when they start to turn a healthy shade of brown.
We eat our aebleskivers with raspberry jam traditionally (and powdered sugar) but lingonberry is a great alternative. If you're looking for an authentic Danish breakfast sausage, you can't beat the medistepolse from Nielsen's Market in Solvang, although I actually prefer El Rancho's version, which is a little more German in composition. (The other side of my family is German, so it balances out.)
Enjoy, and if you experiment, let us know how it goes! For those who would rather wait for Danish Days to get their aebleskiver fix, the 2010 event is scheduled for September 18 and 19.
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