Lately, I’ve become incredibly interested in foreign breakfasts. It’s fun to take a peek into a morning meal the way another culture might experience it, and my goodness there are so many amazing foods to try.
I originally discovered aebleskiver at a cultural food festival in downtown Tucson called Tucson Meet Yourself. An eclectic mix of pop-up stands featuring foods from around the world, cultural demonstrations, performances, sounds, excitement and people, this October festival is something I look forward to every year.
During my very first time attending, I came across the “Danish Foods” booth and saw people walking away with trays of these glorious little dough balls, drizzled in jam and powdered sugar. I came to find that they were called “aebleskiver,” known also as Danish pancake balls and I fell in love from the moment I tried them. A lightly fried, crispy texture on the outside and a fluffy doughy center, they taste similar to, well, pancakes but slightly more airy. They’re typically enjoyed with a bit of jam and icing sugar, but they have been known to be paired with chocolate sauce, coulis, butter and maple syrup–really anything you can think of works.
Originally in Denmark these little morsels were cooked with a slice of apple in the center. The word “aebleskiver” actually translates to “apple slices”, but that tradition isn’t as commonly upheld anymore, although it sounds positively delicious.
To make Danish pancake balls, you’ll need an aebleskiver pan, which you can easily find online or in specialty cooking stores.
So let’s get to the recipe. It’s a bit messy, but they are so fun to make.
Aebleskiver (Danish Pancake Balls)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 tbs sugar
3 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
7 tbs butter
Melt the butter in a small dish and set it aside to cool. Put the egg whites and one tbs of the sugar in a medium-sized bowl and beat with a hand-mixer until the egg whites stiffen. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, combine the yolks, flour, salt, baking soda and remaining tbs of sugar. Next, with the hand-mixer on low, gradually mix in the buttermilk until the batter is smooth. Slowly add the butter to the mixture.
Then, gently fold the egg whites into the batter. The egg whites will make the batter feel bubbly and almost spongey–this gives the aebleskiver their fluffy texture.
To cook them, set your aebleskiver pan on the stove at medium heat and prepare each hole with about a tsp of vegetable or olive oil (butter unfortunately will burn too quickly).
Now, here comes the tricky (but super fun) part. Pour a tbs of batter into each hole and wait about 1-2 min or until the sides start to brown. You’ll want something to be able to flip the balls over to check them–some people use crocheting hooks or forks. I used a kabob stick. Once it looks golden brown and crispy, similar to the way a pancake looks when it’s ready to flip, turn it 90º onto its side. Some of the batter will pour out to the side. Add about another half a tbs, and then flip it over completely to the other side. Adding that extra amount of batter allows them to form into balls instead of just puffy discs.
When both sides look thoroughly cooked and crisp, set them aside in a dish and add a bit of jam and fruit, chocolate chips, icing sugar, applesauce–whatever your heart desires ❤