Spring means brunch-time so here is one of our breakfast favorites which can be dressed up for Easter with a sweet or savory twist. Æbleskiver or pancake balls were one our treasured breakfast treats while we were kids, and still are. Not only is the puffy little pancake yummy, it can be filled with fun surprises too. Required tools – the Aebleskiver Pan. Cast iron is the best, I’ve used others but with less than stellar results. A bamboo skewer makes the perfect turning tool, a fork works okay but a skewer is much better.
Translated, æbleskiver means apple cake. Cooked apples or apple sauce are typically added to the middle of the pancake ball shortly before turning. They are also made plain without any filling.The correct amount of batter depends on whether or not the pancake ball will be filled and with what. They are great unfilled, which is how I make them 90% of the time. A note about the butter, yes use real butter for the pan but as you can see very little of it and only when needed. This is the maximum amount I use for each little indentation in the pan, barely a 1/8 – 1/4 of a teaspoon. After the first set sometimes you can get away with doing two pancake balls before you need to add butter again. It depends on your pan and the heat, it needs to be hot but not burning.Mmm the perfect breakfast, warm pancake balls split open with homemade strawberry jam. Yum, yum.
Easter inspired interior surprises (filling) can come in the form of sweet or savory:
- small chocolate easter egg
- small teaspoon of jam or jelly
- mandarin orange slice (cut in half)
- diced ham
- crumbled bacon
- 1/2″ section of a small sausage link
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 T sugar
- butter for pan
Pre-heat æbleskiver pan on the stove while preparing batter. Separate eggs. Beat yolks in a medium bowl, add sugar and buttermilk. Sift dry ingredients into yolk mixture and stir. In a separate bowl whip egg whites until stiff. Gently fold whipped egg whites into other mixture.
Using a large spoon or bowl with a spout add enough batter to each half round to be slightly less than full, 3/4 full if filling with surprises. When airbubbles begin to get bigger, the ball gently puffs* and the edges get slightly dry, using a long skewer flip the ball completely over.
When the edges start to pull away, the exterior darkens and the ball can be completely flipped without sticking, its done. Place in a covered dish to keep warm.
*This is the point when any fillings can be added – before the flip over.
Serve warm with maple syrup or fresh jam if not filled. If filled sprinkle or roll in powdered sugar before serving. Enjoy!
Serves eight people. I often cut the recipe in half for two of us and there are leftovers for another day.
Do Ahead: As these can only be made seven or nine balls at a time, a warming drawer or warm oven is handy. Left-overs also re-heat well in the microwave, though they are not as fluffy as when they are fresh.
The recipe and pan for this Danish treat was one of my Mom’s souvenirs from her first adult trip. (There were likely more which I never heard about… but we won’t go there.)