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Danish Pancake Balls

Danish pancake balls (aebleskiver)

  • Servings: 28 - 30
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

This Scandinavian recipe makes the perfect Christmas treat or a cheeky all-year-round snack that children love. The best part is you can get creative with the recipe trying different toppings and add-ons to make it truly your own.

Ingredients

For the pudding:

  • 2 eggs
  • 250g (2 cups) of plain flour
  • 2 tsp of baking powder
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • ½ tsp of bicarb soda
  • 1 tbsp of white sugar
  • 4 tbsp of butter, melted
  • 500ml (2 cups) of buttermilk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • Extra butter for frying
  • Powdered sugar and jam for serving
  • Optional: apple slices to add to the batter

Directions

  1. Separate the eggs.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  3. In a separate bowl — mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, bicarb soda, sugar, egg yolks, melted butter, buttermilk and vanilla, beating until you get a smooth mixture.
  4. Fold in the egg whites to the mixture above.
  5. Pop the aebleskiver pan onto a low-medium heat and pop a bit of butter into each hole to melt. Or, if you have a pastry brush, use that to lightly grease up each hole with the butter.
  6. Fill each hole with the batter until it’s almost full. If you’re going for a traditional recipe, you can also add an apple slice into each hole too.
  7. When you see bubbles appearing around the edge of the cooking batter, turn it. Danes traditionally use a knitting needle for this, but you can make do with what you have, like a skewer or a chopstick. Continue cooking and turning so the pancake ball doesn’t burn.
  8. Once they’re golden brown all over and cooked through, you can take them off out of the pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar. They’re commonly served with jam.

Note — you will also need an aebleskiver pan for this recipe and something to turn the pancake balls while they cook (the Danes use knitting needles, but chopsticks and skewers can work too).

Background: Danish pancake balls (aebleskiver)

Aebleskiver (Danish pancake balls) are a particularly popular snack or dessert in Denmark at Christmas. If you’re visiting in December and afraid you won’t do this Scandinavian recipe justice in your own kitchen, you can easily find them at bakeries and Christmas markets.

The name literally translates to ‘apple slices’ (because people used to make them with bits of apple inside) but this tradition isn’t as common these days. You’ll more likely find them served with sugar and jam.

As for how they originated, well it’s hard to say for sure. Some say they were invented by the Vikings, who got hungry after battle and used their battered-up helmets and shields to cook pancakes over a fire. The truth behind this tale is unknown but it makes a great story at the kitchen table.

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