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Aebleskiver are Danish pastries which are made by frying batter in a special pan. They are traditionally served as a breakfast food at holidays such as Christmas. Some consumers compare them to pancakes, as the two foods taste similar. However, aebleskiver are almost spherical in shape, rather than flat, with a crunchy outer layer and a soft, fluffy core. Some people may be more familiar with this food in the form of “Danish ball pancakes,” which is sometimes how they are translated for English speakers.
In Danish, aebleskiver means “apple slices,” and the pastries are conventionally made with a filling of apple slices or applesauce. To make this food, the indentations in a specially designed cast iron pan are filled with butter and the pan is heated until the butter starts to foam. Batter is poured into each indentation and allowed to cook on one side before being flipped to cook on the other. Some cooks turn the pastries one quarter of the way, with four turns to cook completely, while others prefer to cook each half separately. If filling is being included, it is inserted before the aebleskiver are flipped.
After they are cooked, the golden brown pastries are turned out onto a plate and covered in powdered sugar, jam, or fresh fruit and syrup. Each person is typically served several aebleskiver, since the pastries are rather small. In Norway, an even smaller version called poffertjes, or Norwegian puff balls, is available. Regionally, this food is also sometimes called krapfchen or merfeilles.
To make aebleskiver, sift together one cup of flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Beat two eggs together with one cup buttermilk, and then slowly blend the wet and dry ingredients. The interaction of the acid in the buttermilk with the baking soda will make them light and fluffy. You will need an ableskiver pan to make the pastry, although an egg poaching pan could work in a pinch. Liberally butter each indentation in the pan, heating on medium until the butter foams, and pour a dollop of batter in, turning as it starts to brown.
The toppings for this dish vary widely. The pastry itself is not heavily sweetened, so you can use sugared fruits and syrup without overwhelming the taste buds of the consumers. You can plate the aebleskiver individually, or serve them in a big bowl with a mound of toppings in the middle. Variations on the recipe include additions of ingredients such as cardamom, cornmeal, cinnamon, or a mixture of buckwheat and regular flour.