Last week, I was rummaging around in the cupboard and found a forgotten gem hidden in the back: an ebelskiver pan.
I first fell in love with these little Danish pancake balls during a snow day in the second grade. My mom made them, stuffed with spiced apples, and my friend and I inhaled the entire batch before heading out to play in the snow. On our first toboggan run, fortified by all that flour and sugar, we set a new distance record — and went sailing right though the wooden snow fence at the bottom of the hill. It was our only run of the day. Minutes later we were in the car, creeping over snow-packed roads to get my friend’s forehead stitched up.
Whether it was the trauma of the sledding incident, or just that we ate all the ebelskivers before she got a chance to try any, Mom didn’t make ebelskivers for us again and eventually gifted me the pan. And then I forgot about them too, until last week.
Ebelskivers can be made plain, like little pancake popovers, or filled with pretty much anything. I used chopped spiced apples, plus a variety of homemade preserves — raspberry, chokecherry, and plum butter. Generally speaking, the thicker the filling, the better the result. The unanimous favorite was the plum butter I made a few seasons ago (and meant to recreate for you this past summer, but then there were no plums to be found anywhere.) Chokecherry jelly was a close second.
Browsing around on the internet, I found a lot of instructions involving knitting needles and metal chopsticks. Some say the proper way to make ebelskivers is to stick a pointy object (gently!) through the batter and turn them gradually to make a perfect ball. I didn’t think this would end very well for me and my jam-filled morsels, and didn’t bother to try it. Instead, I found it easiest to run a butter knife underneath the ebelskiver, then quickly flip it over and tuck the uncooked side into the well with my fingers.
And really, once you’ve tried these tender little pancake bites you won’t care about the proper technique, or burned fingers, or even that these are slightly more fussy and time-consuming than their flat relatives. Now that I’ve become reacquainted with my favorite snow-day breakfast, ebelskivers will be making an appearance during every blizzard, brunch, and holiday in my house.
These traditional Danish pancakes are perfect for a snow day or lazy weekend brunch.
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted (plus additional for greasing pan)
- 2 eggs, separated
- Preserves or chopped apples for filling (about 1/2 cup)
- Ebelskiver pan
- Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
- In a metal mixer bowl, beat egg whites until they hold soft peaks.
- Whisk sugar, egg yolks, milk, and butter together in a large bowl.
- Sift dry ingredients over wet and whisk until just combined (batter will still be lumpy). Fold in egg whites.
- Heat ebelskiver pan with about 1/4 teaspoon butter in each well until bubbly. Add 1 tablespoon batter to each well, then add 1 teaspoon of filling. Add batter to cover filling.
- Cook over low-medium heat until edges are set and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. With a knife or metal chopstick, gently turn the ebelskivers over and tuck them upside down into the wells to cook the other side.
- Cook until both sides are browned, about 4 more minutes. Serve dusted with powdered sugar.
Ebelskivers may be kept in the oven on warm until the whole batch is cooked, but they're best straight out of the pan.
Adapted from Serious Eats.