Danish Pancake Balls (Aebleskiver)

While rummaging through some cupboards I found my mother-in-law’s Aebleskiver pan.  When you find an Aebleskiver pan what do you do?  You make Aebleskivers!  Also, it’s an excuse to say Aebleskivers.

Æbleskiver (Danish meaning apple slices (singular: æbleskive)) are traditional Danish pancakes in a distinctive shape of a sphere. Somewhat similar in texture to American pancakes crossed with a popover, æbleskiver are solid like a pancake but light and fluffy like a popover. The English language spelling is usually aebleskiver or ebleskiver. In the United States, a version of æbleskiver is sold with a commercially repackaged pan, branded as “Pancake Puffs”.

Serve the warm pancake balls with butter and jam or dusted with powdered sugar. To make filled aebleskiver, add about ½ teaspoon jam to the batter in each cup just before you make the first turn. Serve the pancake balls as they are cooked, or keep warm in a napkin-lined basket until all are ready. The batter can also be cooked on a lightly buttered griddle over medium heat to make light, tender pancakes. For mile-high baking, reduce the baking powder to 2½ teaspoons.

Danish Pancake Balls (Aebleskiver)

Makes 12

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbs sugar
2¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp ground cardamom or ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg
1 cup milk
About 4 Tbs melted butter, divided

In a bowl, mix flour with sugar, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. In a small bowl, beat egg to blend with milk and 2 tablespoons butter. Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir until evenly moistened.

Place an aebleskiver pan over medium-low heat. When pan is hot enough to make a drop of water dance, brush pancake cups lightly with melted butter and fill each to slightly below the rim with batter.

In about 1½ minutes, thin crusts will form on bottoms of balls (centers will still be wet); pierce the crust with a slender wood skewer and gently pull shell to rotate the pancake ball until about half the cooked portion is above the cup rim and uncooked batter flows down into cup. Cook until crust on bottom of ball is again firm enough to pierce, about another minute, then rotate ball with skewer until the ridge formed as the pancake first cooked is on top. Cook, turning occasionally with skewer, until balls are evenly browned and no longer moist in the center, another 10 to 12 minutes. Check by piercing center of last pancake ball added to pan with skewer–it should come out clean–or by breaking the ball open slightly; if balls start to get too brown, turn heat to low until they are cooked in the center. Lift cooked balls from pan and serve hot with jam and powdered sugar. Repeat to cook remaining batter.

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