Making Aeblskivers with Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast:
A Sweet Treat from the Vikings!
Winter is one of my favorite seasons because it brings a sense of peace and quiet to the world. I love the way the snow gleams in both daylight and moonlight, covering the garden and pond at the B&B in a sleepy wonderland of mystery and beauty.
I dream about Christmas and all that it brings:
- Sleigh bells, ginger bread and joy
- The smell of freshly cut fir bows, carried by cold hands through crisp snow
- The laughter of children and angelic voices that lift to the heavens, lighting a world that is sometimes hidden in darkness and cold
The winter holidays are about celebrating traditions and miracles of many kinds. In our home, this means bringing a touch of Scandinavia to the season:
- A tree adorned with flags, painted glass and wooden ornaments: horses, hearts, snowflakes and Santas.
- Gathering family and friends for a smorgasbord of food and fun on Christmas Eve.
- Stockings hung near the hearth, waiting to be filled with secrets.
Ringing in the Christmas season with Swedish sleigh bells, passed down through the generations:
- Imagining a time long past when my great grandfather’s gentle hands placed these very bells on his team of horses.
- Listening in my mind to the music of hooves, bells and voices- synchronized beauty.
- The family gliding over freshly fallen snow, bundled in their holiday best, rejoicing in the miracle of Christmas.
Awaking to the lovely aroma of Scandinavian-American breakfast delights:
- Rich coffee, hot cocoa and spiced apple cider
- Sizzling bacon and cinnamon rolls
- Crepe-like pancakes from Sweden that melt in your mouth OR…
- Delicious, Danish Aebelskivers served with a decadent caramel sauce or lingonberry syrup
One of the most beautiful things about the holiday season is sharing that special joy we feel with others.
So this year, from our home to yours…
Please enjoy these delightful Danish Aebelskiver recipes!
Note: Before you can truly enjoy an Aebelskiver, you have to know a bit about its background!
*Origins of this delightful, Danish delicacy:
Aebelskivers are believed to have been around before the 1600’s. Traditionally, they were cooked with pieces of apple (aeble) in the center or applesauce, hence the name. This is not as common in modern Danish cooking, however.
These unique pancakes are often made at Christmas time and served with glogg, which is a Scandinavian mulled wine. They are not so much a breakfast food, but a treat to be enjoyed later in the day or on a special occasion.
In American, you can find these unique pancakes in Solvang, California which was founded as a Danish colony in 1911. This darling town continues to share its Danish heritage with others and several popular restaurants serve Aebelskivers. One of my favorite Aebelskiver-making videos was made in Solvang, so click and enjoy.
There is a fun legend associated with the invention of Aebelskivers that takes us back to Viking times. THE STORY: After a particularly difficult day in battle, a group of Viking warriors returned to their longboat very tired and hungry. For dinner, they mixed some flour and milk together, which they then cooked on their metal shields over a fire. Having just been through a harrowing battle, their shields had many dents in them. The batter pooled in these dented areas and formed the first Aebelskivers!
What in the heck is an Aebelskiver anyway?
Aebelskivers are about as difficult to explain as they are to pronounce, you really have to take a bite out of one to understand the concept! Many people in the U.S. are more familiar with the extremely thin, crepe-like Swedish pancakes that are rolled up and then filled. In comparison, this Danish version of pancakes must be made in a special pan, either cast iron or aluminum. You can sometimes find aebelskiver pans in specialty shops or on line. We found ours at Costco of all places! Aebelskivers have the heaviness of a pancake, but the lightness of a popover. They are a bit like a cross between a doughnut and a pancake. Round, light and airy on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside, they remind me a bit of a German puff pancake.
Materials needed: 1-3 Aebelskiver pans, hand electric mixer for egg whites, basting brush, nutmeg grinder, mixing bowls, measuring cups, spoons, spatula, turning utensil (skewer, chopstick, fork, etc.), pastry filling bag (optional)
Making the batter: These fun “pancakes” allow for a lot of creativity and you can make them to fit your personal taste. The batter fits perfectly with savory fillings such as meats or even vegetables as well as cheese, fruit or chocolate. Here are some great recipes and filling ideas. Click on the following link for some additional images of aebelskivers!
3 eggs (separated)
2 T sugar
2 C. buttermilk (or 2 T vinegar mixed with milk to make 2 C.) Using buttermilk makes the batter thicker, so we prefer using vinegar and milk.
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Some recipes include cardamon and lemon zest as well.
*Melted butter (dribbled into the Aebelskiver pan holes before adding the batter)
Filling for Batter (option #1):
-Thin slices of apple, cut into 1/2 inch squares
-Canadian bacon, cut into 1/2 inch squares
-Thin slices of Swiss cheese, cut into 1/2 inch squares
Filling for Batter (option #2):
-Cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
-A spoonful of cherry or other tart-tasting jam
Filling for Batter (option #3):
-Half pound of minced bacon
-One medium onion, minced
-Pan fry together until bacon begins to crisp. Drain and add salt and pepper to taste.
Mixing and Cooking the Batter:
Mix egg yolks, sugar and salt together in a small dish. Next, mix flour, soda and baking powder together. Whisk flour mixture, egg yolks and buttermilk together in alternating amounts until all are incorporated. Whip egg whites until they form soft peaks and fold into rest of batter. When your Aebelskiver pan is hot, brush each indentation with butter, waiting for it to sizzle before adding the batter. The stove burner should be on medium heat so they don’t scorch. Each batch will take about 3 minutes to completely cook. Traditionally, they were turned with a knitting needle, but you can use a skewer, fork or chopstick as well.
For unfilled Aebleskivers: Fill indentations in the pan with batter, actually a bit above pan level. When the batter begins to brown, run a skewer around the edge and then lift one side a quarter turn (like the picture below). Let the batter set up and begin to brown. Turn them again, so they are almost completely rolled over, domed and golden brown on top. Turn them several more times (every 15 seconds until the batter has formed them into complete spheres and all sides are nice and brown). Use skewers to remove each ball from the pan and dust with powered sugar or drizzle sauce over them (see recipes below).
For filled Aebleskivers: Fill holes in pan about 2/3 with batter, then put in your choice of fillings (recipes below). Use a spoon or pastry bag to fill them. Spoon additional batter on top until batter is just above the rim of each indentation. After the batter has sat in the pan for about a minute and is starting to brown, run your skewer around the edges. Use both skewers to help you flip them completely over. Cook until they are browned on the other side (another minute or so), then remove with skewers and repeat with a new batch. Lift Aebleskivers out of pan and dust with powdered sugar or drizzle sauce over them (see recipes below).
Cooking another batch? Make sure you butter the pan after cooking each batch so the dough doesn’t stick!
Final Touches: After a batch of Aebelskivers is finished, it is usually topped with something special. A simple sprinkling of powdered sugar or a dab of whipped cream is always good. In addition, Aebelskivers are delicious when served with jam or syrup- raspberry, blackberry and Swedish lingonberry being the most common. If you really want to go for decadence, then serve them with the bourbon-caramel sauce, below!
Caramel Sauce Recipe:
1 stick of butter
2/3 C. brown sugar
1/3 C. whipping cream
2 T. bourbon or whiskey
The recipe we use most often for guests include filling option #1, accompanied by the above caramel recipe. These are also the recipes Brady used during his 2013 cooking demonstration at the Western Montana Fair (Culinary Arts Building). We hope you will enjoy trying these recipes in your own home! Who knows, maybe you will even be inspired to try some new Aebelskiver creations. Click on the following link for additional batter and filling ideas, as well as where to purchase an Aebelskiver pan!
If you’d rather just relax and have someone else fix you breakfast, think about booking a stay with us here at Blue Mountain Bed and Breakfast. It is the perfect time of year for a mini winter wonderland vacation, so indulge a bit and enjoy! If you are looking for a perfect gift for someone, you are welcome to visit our little store. We have many Scandinavian items as well as plenty of local, Montana treasures.