Aebleskiver for Pancake Day

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

Before anyone says anything, yes I know these aren’t pancakes and that pancakes are flat and cooked on both sides in a frying pan. However, these are what I was asked to make today by Brian and he doesn’t ask for specific things very often; he was made to eat salad, griddled vegetables and chicken first. (Griddled by the way for my overseas friends, means cooked on a flat cast iron pan with ridges on the stove top in my British home.)

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

I had never heard of these round batter balls which resemble nothing more than a slightly sweet Yorkshire Pudding masquerading as a miniature football until I saw the pan for sale in the Lakeland catalogue. Once I had the pan I set about finding out about them and the traditions associated with them. Before all the Danes tell me I’m making them at the wrong time of year and they are for eating before Christmas with glogg, yes I know that  but they are too nice to only have in December and a quick squint down the Wiki list of Aebleskiver traditions in the States shows them being eaten at all times of the year, including this very night in Urbandale, Iowa, so I had company!

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

I think we didn’t have them as children because my Mother wouldn’t have liked their squidgy insides, she liked her pancakes more in the French style, thin and crispy crepes, like the ones I make usually. I don’t remember them either at any of my relatives’ homes, but maybe my sister remembers them?

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

Aebleskiver (literally apple slices)  are far more common in their native country, Denmark and I suspect in the USA too, which has so many people of Danish descent living there. Certainly the internet is swamped with videos and restaurants offering these robust pancake balls and it is easy enough to work out the technique from watching a few videos.

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

The recipe I used for my batter is adapted from a sourdough aebleskiver formula from Teresa of NorthWest Sourdough, which you can find in her wonderful E-book and as a pdf on her site.  My version doesn’t have much sugar in and uses a lot less butter,  but it’s basically the same sort of thing. Any thick pancake or waffle type batter will do a similar job.

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

Brian and I speculated as we drizzled golden syrup over the tops of ours as to whether in fact Yorkshire puddings were a legacy of the Viking invasion and whether or not we could make Yorkshire puddings this way at Christmas, using dripping in the batter. We thought it might be rather good. Yorkshire Puddings, though now eaten with the meat and veggies all together on the plate, were I believe eaten with sugar as a ‘pudding’ originally, cooked beneath the roasting meat and basted with the fat and juices that dripped down as the meat cooked.

Aebleskiver Shrove Tuesday Pancake Day

Anyway, these are great fun to make and if you can find a pan at a reasonable price, it is one that I have used several times and we are very fond of making them. These ones today we filled with small pieces of apple, but we have tried them with banana and eaten them with yoghurt and icing sugar on top too.

I think they could catch on here if the pans were cheaper. I know that you can currently get them from a Danish food importer based here in the UK so if you really want one have a quick google and you will find them.

All photos copyright Brian Kent 2012.

50 thoughts on “Aebleskiver for Pancake Day

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you :) I have just been peeking at your lovely blog. Bella is very cute and I see Squint sofas are in Sydney, so beautiful !

  1. heidi

    Whoa- I have never seen anything like these before- but now I have such a hankering for them that my mouth is watering and I’m going to look them up on line as soon as I get off of here!
    Aebelskiver, what wonderful pictures- I usually go the crepe direction, but these are just too beautiful to pass up!

    1. Joanna Post author

      The pan I have was made by Nordicware who make the bundt tins. Maybe my google searches always send me to the American sites first rather than to European sites. I think you would like these Heidi :)

  2. Misk Cooks

    Push your finger into one, pry it apart just slightly, slip in a tiny bit of jam. Now sprinkle with sugar. Pop it in your mouth. Mmmmmm …..

  3. Suelle

    I’d never heard of these either – it must give a great feeling of satisfaction to cook them properly. and then you have to eat them! Lovely!

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s very hard to resist a good sale item in the Lakeland catalogue Suelle and then you have to try and figure out what to do with it. I do like making them, you are quite right – very satisfying :)

  4. teawithhazel

    i love learning about foods from different cultures joanna..these look so pretty and delicious..i wonder if they could be made in gem irons..

    1. Joanna Post author

      I just looked up gem irons Jane – never heard of them and I am sure they would be perfect as long as they can go on a hob or stove top. What are they used for usually?

      1. teawithhazel

        they were used jo to make gem scones..they are quite delicious but they seem to have gone out of case you’re interested here’s one recipe i found for them..

        gem scone recipe

        2 tbs butter
        2 tbs castor sugar
        2 eggs
        7 oz self raising flour
        enough milk to make a thick cream

        have gem irons very hot..put a piece of butter the size of a pea in each iron cup..almost fill with mixture..oven must be very hot..bake for 6 minutes..

        1. Joanna Post author

          They sound like they belong to the same family don’t they? I don’t think I can put my pan in the oven as it has a hard plastic handle, otherwise I would give it a go jane :) Maybe I could do them on the top with my wok lid over ? I’ll have a think – thanks for the recipe !

  5. Ray

    looks gorgeous!… never seen anything like this before. we were planning to have pancakes tonight but busy lives led us to pasta instead (with lovely griddled aubergine!)

  6. Jennifer

    I’m from the US and I’ve never seen these before, but after seeing the pictures I am now on a mission to find and devour them!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Will be interested to see if you track them down on your Scandinavian travels Jennifer. Very good energy food for all that skiing you are doing :)

  7. hotlyspiced

    These are so gorgeous. They look like something you’d being brought to your table at a very exclusive fine dining restaurant. It looks like you need a lot of skill to turn them into these balls. Thanks for the detailed photos. And now there’s another pan I need to add to my collection!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I think they are often eaten outside on paper plates with sugar and jam at events but that might be the impression I got when I googled them. It’s good fun making them, let me tempt you to join me in pan collecting ;)

  8. ceciliag

    I have never seen anything like this in my LIFE but now i am desperate to have a pan like that, and the fiddly pulling up and over almost makes the end result more Loved! I have to write down what these are called.. this is a great post.. PS I am still making a sourdough loaf every week but have not achieved an airy result like yours, i think my house is just too cold this winter.. however we munch away merrily on our VERY sour sourdough! no problems! c

    1. Joanna Post author

      They are not as fiddly as you think, the batter sets quickly and you just go round in a circle pulling them up with a wooden stick (in some ways they are easier than regular pancakes) and you get a lot of balls in one go too, I put them in the oven to keep warm and they get a bit fluffier inside in the process as well.

      I am happy to make suggestions re the sourdough if you want. If you want a less sour sourdough, start with a smaller quantity of old material when you refresh it, and put less in the dough that you make as well. If you fill a bowl with hot water, or have a hot water bottle, then wrap it in a tea towel and put it next to the bowl with the proving starter/dough under a plastic storage box and that should raise the temperature.

  9. gill cox

    How cool is this post.. Delicious bundles, I’d love to try one, or two, or ….

    Your pan looks similar to a cast iron escargot plate.

    1. Joanna Post author

      The holes are a bit bigger than an escargot plate, but you are right it looks just like one of those Gill ! We can make them one day if you like :)

  10. Debra Kolkka

    My mother used to make popovers, which looked a bit like this, but not cooked the same way. She used to drop the batter into a saucepan with oil ad the batter would turn itself over when one side cooked, hence the name. I thought this was fascinating.

    1. Joanna Post author

      That sounds very magical too! I’ve never had/seen popovers. I love the way that there are so many different traditions and ways to make such similar foods. These ones don’t turn themselves though, I think your Mum’s sound much cleverer than these :)

  11. Melanie

    I love the photos of the process. Fascinating! I’d heard of abelskivers, but I’ve never tried them before. Can I come over and sample yours before I invest in a pan? They look difficult to make, but I will trust you when you say they aren’t hard.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Of course you can Melanie :) The technique is to put the batter in all the ‘cups’ first and then by the time you’ve done that they start to set. then you pick the edge up with a knitting needle or a skewer like here and pull the side up and then the uncooked batter fills in the gap, you go round the pan doing them all and then, lift again at a different angle, depnding on how fast they are cooking you go quicker or slower and then at the end you stab the ball and turn it so it sits on the remaining opening and hope there is enough uncooked batter in the middle to seal the gap.. I watched some You Tube videos a couple of times and then had a go. It’s a bit like making omelettes when you lift the cooked egg and allow the uncooked egg to swirl into the space you create. Much easier to learn by watching than by me trying to explain in words too xx

  12. Jan

    What’s it got in its Aebleskiverses, my precious. These look such tricksy, lovely little things and wouldn’t the process fascinate children! – I don’t suppose I’d get away with putting broccoli in for my grandson though!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hee hee! Yesssssh……

      I loved making pancakes as a kid, it was always my pleasure and delight, so you’ve hit the nail on the head Jan! For the grandson and the broccoli, have you ever tried doing tempura vegetables? I bought a packet of tempura mix the other day, you mix it very quickly with water and chuck ice cubes in the mix to keep it cold, leave it lumpy and then dip pieces of veggies in and deep fry. So delicious, could convert even the most hardened veggie avoider…. :)

      1. Jan

        Exactly, I felt as if my eyes were just counter-high and they were also big as saucers:) Now – deep fried and crunchy just might swing Zaccy so long as he was blindfolded and didn’t catch a hint of greeeeen:( (and nobody mentioned the ‘b’ word)

  13. Evidence Matters (@EvidenceMatters)

    I’ve got to be brave enough and organised enough to give these a go (easier said than done).

    As ever, the photographs add such a lot to the enjoyment of learning about your cooking. I’m rather smitten with your idea of cooking Yorkshire Pudding in this way.

    The broccoli makes me wonder if there’s a way of doing something interesting but I should restrict thinking about variations after I’ve actually done the original.

    1. Joanna Post author

      We toyed with the idea of doing video, but there are lots on YouTube, and so far I haven’t ventured that way – glad you like the photos, they look like little frog mouths to me. I googled aebleskiver Images last night, people stuff them and dress them with all sorts of things so I think a savoury version is definitely a possibility :)

  14. Alli@peasepudding

    I have the smaller Japanese pan for making Takoyaki, I suppose I could make mini versions of these they looks so good. Don’t you just love the way the batter sets and then turn it half way. Cool pics.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Ive never seen Takoyaki here, in fact never heard of them, but they sound fantastic, octopus balls. I just found a blog post about them here they look very similar to Aebleskiver don’t they? I would definitely make little ones. Do the Japanese make sweet versions too?

  15. Nicola

    Photos are beautiful! Yum. Have been searching for a Takoyaki pan for some time (unhealthy obsession with octopus balls…), and this looks like just the thing. Multi-purpose :-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      two of you? Where? ah you mean Alli? I saw a Takoyaki pan on the Japan Food Centre site in my travels… you can get an aebleskiver pan from Danish Food Direct, but I don’t know if it is the same build as the Nordicware one I have.

  16. Sincerely, Emily

    wow – I can’t imagine those would last past the pan if I made them. They look just way to easy to pop in my mouth when they were done (and cooled a bit). Love your photos that detail the process. That makes a difference. Lovely

    1. Joanna Post author

      It was very hard not to eat them as we went along and wait till after we had had our supper! We had to test a few ;)

  17. Will

    I enjoyed the fact that you brush over the bit where you bought the pan, still not knowing what it was for… ;) Though I know the joy a lakeland catalogue brings, so I’m not surprised, and clearly it worked out well for you!

    These look amazing, and great fun to make. How are the centres, do they have any loose batter, like a runny omelette? I can see myself getting a little frantic whilst trying to get round all the balls before the batter sets too much to fill out the whole outer shell. Bravo, anyhow!

    Leavened Heaven: My Search for Sarnie Shangri-La

    1. Joanna Post author

      He he ! Thanks Will! I did know what they were for, they are described in the Lakeland catalogue and Misk had mentioned the name when we talked about Swedish pancake pans around the same time I saw them in the catalogue, she knows all about Danish cuisine – I just hadn’t ever eaten them or seen them in real life, let alone made them.

      These ones don’t have runny middles as you are using flour you really want to cook it out completely. Some of them had perfectly fluffy centres, some were not so perfect. The batter uses baking powder and soda as well as sourdough. Here is a pic of one of the last ones we made (without apple in the middle) to give you an idea of what it comes out like. Think yorkshire pudding and you will be close to it.

      Aebleskiver middle

      Edit: I guess I felt a bit naughty buying yet another one purpose pan. I have a collection of bundt tins for cake baking that I use very rarely and other obscure things like a kransekake tin which I haven’t used yet, another cake I admire pictures of and haven’t quite got round to doing ;)

      1. Will

        Ah I see. I didn’t mean to imply it was a frivolous purchase, I think it was just the way I read it! ;)

        I have various bits of kit that I ought to use more. Another for my list of mid-year resolutions!

        1. Joanna Post author

          definitely fell in the frivolous category :) Made better by being in the sale though, oh who am I kidding? I have offered to lend it to Mitchdafish, you are welcome to borrow it too and have a go at making them. Communal ovens and reciprocal kit lending… you never know it could catch on :)

  18. Pingback: Zeb Bakes a little more Bread « Zeb Bakes

Comments are closed.