Granny, my grandmother on my dad's side, was 100% Danish, but I don't think she ever made Aebleskiver (or Ebelskiver), and I'd be willing to bet that her mother never made them either. You see, my great-grandmother had ten children who lived to adulthood, and I'm sure there was no way she would have been able to make enough Aebleskiver at one shot to stave off their hunger. I've never heard anyone say that Granny ever made Aebleskiver either, and that would be because she did everything in a hurry, and you just can't hurry these.
Literally translated, "Aebleskiver" means "apple slice," and I suppose that one could make these little things with an apple slice in the middle, but that is not very common anymore so far as I know. What we southwestern Iowans call Aebleskiver is really more of a pancake or waffle that is shaped like a ball. In order to make them, an Aebleskiver pan is required. These are almost always made of cast iron with seven half-sphere wells in them.
A little anecdote about my pan: I bought this several years ago from an antiques vendor at Carstens Farm. They had it priced at just over half the amount I had recently seen on one at an antique store, and the label called it an "egg cooker." I happily plunked down the money for this heavy "egg cooker," but then had to carry it around the rest of the evening. While Nancy and I were in line for Staley's chicken, someone came up to us and asked why I was carrying around an Aebleskiver pan. I explained that I had just purchased it, that it had been labeled as an egg cooker, and disclosed the price I paid. His eyes got big, and he said, "You stole it!" 'Fraid so, folks, and I have to confess that I don't feel guilty about it either.
Special note for wood cookstove cooks: New style Aebleskiver pans are constructed slightly differently than this vintage one. In later pictures, you will be able to see that this pan has an apron around the outside which traps heat and fixes it so that the bottoms of the wells don't actually rest on the stovetop but are lifted ever so slightly above it. For cooking on a wood cookstove, this is the style of pan that I feel is preferable. The reason is that I often have removed a lid from over the firebox and placed the pan directly over the fire. The apron around the edge of the pan prevents smoke from entering the room and also prevents cold room air from being sucked into the stove around the pan, creating very unevenly heated wells.
1. The Aebleskiver pan needs to be very hot, so I start the process of making Aebleskiver by building a hot fire and putting the pan on the stove directly over the fire.
(At this point, astute readers are saying to themselves, "Wait a minute, you just said that these took a lot of time and that it was impossible to make them for a crowd. How can a church have an Aebleskiver supper?" Well, I've only been present once many years ago, but let me tell you, these women have this thing down to a science! They pull the electric stoves out of their slots in the kitchen cupboards and station a lady on each side so that each person is taking care of two Aebleskiver pans. If I remember correctly, they have three stoves, so they are cooking twelve pans at once with six ladies dedicated to just turning Aebleskiver. Others are engaged in providing the batter, etc. It is an undertaking of epic proportions.)
Now, I'm going to share two different Aebleskiver recipes. The first one comes from Bessie Ford, who was a cousin of my great-grandpa Doc. By the time I met her, she was a quaint old lady who lived in an even quainter one-story house on the edge of Missouri Valley, Iowa. She had no children of her own, but she had a nephew who lived somewhere fairly close, and she would have him and his family come down for Aebleskiver suppers. This is the recipe that she used:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 egg yolks
2 tsp. sugar
2 cups buttermilk
3 egg whites
Bessie's recipe makes very good Aebleskivers that are as light as feathers. The internet is full of Aebleskiver recipes that are very similar, if not identical, to this one.
However, the next Aebleskiver recipe is my favorite. It is the one used at the aforementioned local church supper, and--try as I might--I've never found a similar recipe anywhere.
5 cups flour
4 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
6 egg yolks
2 TBLSP. sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 cups rich milk
6 egg whites
No matter which recipe you decide you wish to try, the method is the same.
3. Mix your flour, leavening, and salt together.
|Here I am starting to bake the first Aebleskiver.|
You can also see a Poffertjes pan on the stove.
We tried making Aebleskiver in it, but it
didn't work out, so we abandoned that idea
early on and just used the Aebleskiver pan.
11. By the time you have finished filling the seventh well, it is very likely that the batter in the one you filled first will be ready to turn. Using an ice pick or similar weaponry, gently lift one edge of the half sphere by catching it with the point of the pick and pulling up a little ways. This will result in some more of the uncooked batter from the middle to pour out and form some more of the edge.
Don't think that syrup is necessary, however. When we had all of my family here for an Aebleskiver supper after Christmas, the bowl of leftover Aebleskiver was sitting on the kitchen table waiting for me to bag them up for the freezer while everyone was leaving. As they went by on their way out the door, my five-year-old twin nephews each grabbed one to-go and ate them plain. I took that as a high compliment!
Aebleskiver freeze well in a plastic zipper bag, and microwave nicely when you are ready to eat them again. Enjoy!