Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tweaking My Heritage

I was going to throw all the names for the sock contest into Jenny's new hat and have Alexandra draw one out. What I hadn't factored in is Jenny's hat isn't a regular hat, therefor has no closed end on it. What makes this especially embarrassing is this didn't dawn on me until I actually reached for the hat to put the names in. A sheep mug had to substitute. The winner of the "hot off the sock cart, straight from Korea" socks is anonymous commenter Cindy!

One of my favourite Christmas traditions springs from my Danish roots. My Grandpa Chris was from Denmark, and so were many others from the small farming community where I grew up, so to me these were as much a part of Christmas as gingerbread men, the tree and hanging up stockings on Christmas Eve. Their Danish name is aebleskiver, but they are more commonly known here as Danish pancakes.

To make aebleskivers you need a special cast iron aebleskiver pan. These used to be very hard to find in North America, but now, thanks to the Internet and the growing popularity of these little Danish pancakes, there are lots of online sources if you decide to give them a try.



I was feeling a little sorry for myself since I had assumed going gluten-free also meant I would have to go aebleskiver-free. Then someone pointed out there are gluten-free recipes for aebelskivers. Why hadn't I thought of that? After all, there are gluten-free recipes for almost everything else! This is the one I settled on (I also add a teaspoon of cardamon), and this past weekend I did a pre-Christmas trial run.

The trick to making these is in the turning. You fill each hole about 2/3 full with batter. Let it cook until the bottom half is nicely done, then with a pointy object (I use a chopstick, but a skewer or knitting needle also works well) you carefully pry the bottom away form the pan and quickly flip it over so the top half cooks.

I'm sorry I don't have any pictures of me making them. I had enough trouble dealing with the hot pan, runny batter and the chopstick without adding photography into the mix. I fear the result would have been burned aebleskivers. Or worse, a kitchen fire. But I do have pictures of the finished product.




There are lots of aebleskiver variations. Some people fill them with things like applesauce, jam, or stewed prunes (this was a favourite where I grew up). My experimental batch were left unfilled, but next time around I want to try putting some homemade raspberry jam inside.




I don't know how authentic this is, but we always roll them in a bit of sugar. It not only adds to the flavour, I think it also makes them look very Christmassy.




Of course, there is nothing healthy about these. But sometimes food benefits more than our bodies. In this case it nourishes the memories of my childhood, and hopefully will have a place in the memories of my children. That's how tradition works.

31 comments:

  1. Nice buns! :-D LOL. Seriously, though, your aebleskiver look delicious!

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    1. Not quite buns, but good nonetheless. :-)

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    1. I'm curious about your Christmas baking traditions in Hungary. Maybe you could do a blog post about some of your favourite things to bake at this time of year. Hint, hint...! :-)

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  3. Your Danish pancakes look wonderful following a mention of them from one of your commenters I decided to have a go and made some over the weekend. They were a bit of a disaster. I read somewhere you could use a egg poacher - that wasn't a good idea! So thank you for sharing your pictures I wish mine had turned out like that!
    Sarah x

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    1. I'm so sorry yours didn't turn out. I don't think an egg poacher would be the same. It is important for the pan to be cast iron, and I don't think many egg poachers are. I would encourage you to see if you can find or borrow a pan and give them one more chance. They are worth the effort!

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  4. Kristie,
    The first thing I thought of when I saw your pancakes, was Dutch poffertjes. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poffertjes even there it says that they are similar to Danish pancakes.
    I have never tried making them, but they sell them from stalls in Dutch markets.

    All the best,
    Dawn

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    1. I was describing these to a friend over the weekend and she said the same thing, that they sounded very much like Dutch poffertjes. I will check out the link. Thanks!

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  5. What did you make them out of? They look delicious, and as a fellow gluten-free-eater I have craving for something doughy, fried, and sweet.

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    1. If you click on the link it will take you to the recipe. It is very similar to a pancake batter, except for the gluten-free flour instead of wheat flour. I also add about a tsp. of cardamon. You can borrow my pan if you want to give them a try!

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  6. Those look absolutely delicious!

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    1. They are! Especially rolled in the sugar, or dipped in applesauce.

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  7. In my house it's Welsh cakes, made with the hand-written recipe we found in my husband's Grandma's recipe box after she passed away. Well, more quantities and quick notes than an actual recipe of course. All three of us make the Welsh cakes, and we've been known to ship them to other family members, just to keep the tradition alive (we're the only bakers left on that side of the family).

    Those look quite delicious! Jam inside would be perfect....

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    1. I love Welsh cakes! What a treasure to have the recipe your grandmother-in-law wrote out. And having all three of you make them is a great way to keep the tradition alive. :-)

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  8. These look really tasty! And I bet even better with something sweet hidden inside! Although I'm trying to picture how one flips these things with wet batter still on top...I'm impressed! I love your statement that sometimes food nourishes more than the body. Yes.

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    1. They are better with a filling, but if you think flipping them with the wet batter on top is hard, imagine wet batter with a bit of filling in it. Actually, they aren't that hard to flip as long as you do it quickly. But I will never be as good at it as some of the older relatives in our family were. They would make huge batches of perfectly round aebleskivers. They looked like they came off an assembly line. Mine look more like someone sat on them. :-)

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  9. These actually remind me a bit of oliebollen, a Dutch treat that we used to eat at Christmas time and New Years. They are like little doughnuts and are actually deep fried (which makes them even less healthy) but they are SO GOOD! We would add pieces of apple or raisins to the batter, and once they were deep fried, we'd roll them in icing sugar. I haven't made them for years.. maybe this year I will!

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    1. Is oliebollen the same thing as Dawn in NL (commenter further up the thread) is calling Dutch poffertjes?

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    2. No, oliebollen are more like doughnuts but heavier and greasier (in my experience). Wikipedia to the rescue again: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliebol

      Dawn

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  10. They look delish!!! Don't you love making family hertiage recipes?????

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    1. I love making recipes my mom and grandmas used to make, especially the ones we would have at Christmas.

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  11. You can't have an official drawing without a regulation hat!!! I contest the results of this contest. Haha, I just wanted to work that line into the comment. Congratulations to Cindy! :)

    I'm a huge fan of traditions. The tasty ones are especially nice. I've never had an aebleskiver, but I have no doubt I would enjoy them (a lot).

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    1. I'm not sure which hole was bigger. The one in Jenny's hat, or the one in my head for thinking I could use it. :-)

      What family baking traditions do you have?

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    2. Thanks for the congrats, Ricademus. I can't wait to get the socks. Since I can't wear wool I am very happy to win these!

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    3. No good baking traditions, I'm afraid. My mom used to make a good fruit cake (they do exist) and cheesecake during the holidays. The recipes are lost, as are the recipes for whatever baking my mother-in-law did. Like your MIL, my mom passed away really young and my MIL was even younger when brain surgery left her completely disabled. We learned too late that it's never too soon to pass on a tradition.

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    4. I'm sorry you missed out on inheriting some holiday cooking traditions. Hopefully you have been able to establish some of your own. And of course good fruitcakes exist. I love fruitcake!

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  12. Okay, I know you're probably relieved you made it through November and posting every single day, but you should know I really miss seeing a daily post from you!

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    1. What a nice thing to say - you made my day! I don't think I could keep up that pace for more than a month though. I'm sure I would run out of stuff to say.

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    2. lol, I had the same reaction as Lisa. The other day I thought, "Hey, Kristie hasn't posted in a while." :)

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  13. We also made æbleskiver in december although we can make them almost the whole year round - but we also live in Denmark!! I always make them with yeast (ferment) but other make them with soda and buttermilk. From where in Denmark do yor relatives come from?
    Anni

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    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog! The yeast aebleskiver are the kind I grew up with, and I much prefer them. The problem was I needed to make a gluten-free version and I thought I would have better luck with the non-yeast kind.

      My grandfather came from the island of Aero. His family home was near Marstal, and that is the town I stayed in when I visited many years ago. It was such a beautiful place! Where do you live?

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