The first time I bit into the airy pillow of dough known as ebelskiver (pronounced ay bil skee ver), I could not quite categorize it. Was it donut, beignet, popover? Or something else entirely? The only thing I knew for sure was that I loved them—whatever they were.
As it turns out, ebelskivers are nothing more exotic than pancake balls. That’s right: pancakes shaped into balls–although this does not adequately describe the distinctive taste and texture. And for this shaping feat, only an odd-looking pan, manual dexterity, and a little initial patience are required.
Although there is a lot of speculation about the origins of ebelskivers, the consensus seems to be that they originated in Denmark around the time of the Vikings. The first pan used to make ebelskivers may have been the dented shield of a tired, hungry Viking warrior. They were most certainly not the festive versions we see today, stuffed with chocolate, caramel, sautéed apples, mascarpone, peanut butter, and Nutella.
This is not to say that they are not a celebrated treat in Denmark to this day, most often enjoyed in December.
But it’s February in Portland, Oregon, and I’ve got Valentine’s Day and chocolate on my mind. So when it came to giving my new ebelskiver pan its first test drive (it’s been staring at me relentlessly since Christmas), there was no hesitation. I just had to make Chocolate Ebelskivers. Then, after a few moments deliberation, I decided that my Chocolate Ebelskiverswere going first to Denmark and then to Mexico. In went a nice hit of fragrant cardamom, then ancho chile powder, cayenne chile powder, and Mexican vanilla.
To push the whole adventure over the top, I filled some of the ebelskivers with Burnt Caramel and others with thick Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce—turning the idea of a festive breakfast into a memorable dessert.
But whether to go simple or fancy is up to you. Just be sure to review these tips and tricks and watch the videos before diving in.
Ebelskiver Tips & Tricks
- Regardless of how you spell ebelskiver/aebleskiver, the pronunciation is ay bil skee ver: like this.
- To get the round shape and avoid batter sticking to the pan, use a nonstick or very well-seasoned, heavy, cast iron ebelskiver pan. You will get good results with Williams-Sonoma Nordic Ware Ebelskiver Pan.
- Everyone has his or her favorite tools for flipping ebelskiver. I like to use thin metal knitting needles or wooden skewers, although I couldn’t resist buying Williams-Sonoma official flipping sticks.
- Before you make your first batch of ebelskivers, check out the video, How To Make Filled Pancakes – Ebelskivers , for a tutorial on the one-turn method, or Cooking Aebleskivers for a tutorial on the four-turn method.
- Your ebelskiver batter should be similar to pancake batter in consistency. You must be able to pour the batter into the wells.
- Almost any pancake batter can be used to make ebelskivers, as long as it is the correct consistency.
- Before you begin to cook your ebelskivers, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and put it in a small bowl next to the stovetop. Put a silicon pastry brush next to it.
- For each batch of ebelskivers, brush the indents with the melted butter.
- Fill ebelskiver wells almost to the top.
- For round, rather than oval ebelskivers, make four quarter-turns, rather than only one half-turn.
- For the one-turn method, regulate the heat so that the first side takes about 2 minutes to set and brown. It should take about 4 minutes total to cook the ebelskivers.
- Ebelskivers are ready for the first turn when the bottoms are set and bubbles appear on top of the batter.
- Before turning, run a skewer around the edge of each ebelskiver to ensure it is not sticking.
- If you choose the four quarter-turn method and all of the batter sets before your final turn, no worries. Simply serve the ebelskivers with the hollow side up and fill them with something yummy, such as whipped cream, mascarpone, or sautéed apples. And be proud; there are restaurants that make them this way on purpose.
- Ebelskivers are fairly lean, so you don’t need to feel guilty if it occurs to you to roll them in melted butter and then in cinnamon sugar. You put butter on your pancakes, right?
- Do a practice batch or two of ebelskivers before inviting over a dozen of your most critical friends for breakfast or brunch. My first batch of ebelskivers looked like a sorry mess of misshapen blobs. It takes a little practice to get the timing and the rhythm of turning just right. After you get the hang of turning the ebelskiver, you will find the process quite easy.
- On the other hand, ebelskivers don’t have to be pretty to taste great, so no matter what they look like, congratulate yourself, dust them with powdered sugar, and dive in.
Mexicano Chocolate Ebelskivers
As much as I love traditional ebelskivers for breakfast or as an afternoon snack, chocolate takes them to another, more dessert-like, dimension.
EQUIPMENT NOTE An ebelskiver pan is required to get the customary oval or round shape.
TECHNIQUE NOTE There are two options here for incorporating the eggs: incorporate the whole eggs; or separate the egg yolks from the egg whites, incorporate the egg yolks, and then incorporate the whipped egg whites. The first method is super easy. The second method produces a slightly lighter ebelskiver.
1 cup King Arthur unbleached, all-purpose flour
¼ cup natural process, unsweetened cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne chile powder (or ¾ teaspoon if you can handle the heat)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten (or 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten and 2 large egg whites, whipped to soft peaks)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Mexican or Tahitian vanilla if available)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (for cooking)
Burnt Caramel, cool (about the texture of peanut butter)
Garnish Options powdered sugar in a shaker
Burnt Caramel, warmed and then thinned with a little water
- In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- In a small mixing bowl lightly whisk together the whole eggs (or egg yolks only) and sugar. Then whisk in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla.
- If using egg yolks only in Step 2, put the remaining egg whites into a mixing bowl and using a large whisk, whip until soft peaks form. Reserve.
- Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and fold just to incorporate.
- If you whipped the egg whites, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whites into the batter in two additions.
- Coat each well of an ebelskiver pan with melted butter.
- Over medium heat, fill each well with batter to almost half full if using a filling or almost to the top if not.
- If using a filling, spoon a small dollop on top of the uncooked batter and then fill each well with batter almost to the top.
- Cook for 1-2 minutes, depending on how many turns you plan to use (less time for more turns).
- Using two long wooden skewers, on opposite sides of the ebelskiver, turn each ebelskiver over (either 1 full turn or 3-4 partial turns), allowing the uncooked batter to flow out.
- Lift the cooked ebelskivers from the pan with two forks and arrange on a serving platter.
- Repeat with the remaining batter.
- When all ebelskivers are cooked, dust with powdered sugar and, if desired, serve with caramel sauce.
Makes 18-20, 2¼-inch diameter, ebelskivers.
- An American Cupcake: Chocolate Peanut Butter Ebelskivers
- Bay Area Foodie: Chocolate Ebelskivers
- Foodgawker: Ebelskiver Roundup
- Girl Meets Oven: Shiver Me Ebelskivers
- Lea & Jay: Pumpkin Pie Ebelskivers with Vanilla Whipped Cream Cheese
- My Diverse Kitchen: South Indian Ebelskivers
- My Kitchen Addition: Ebelskiver Donuts
- Seattle Foodshed: Ebelskivers—A Swedish Breakfast Pancake
- SugarMama Baking Company: Ebelskivers
- TasteSpotting: Ebelskiver
- YouTube: Cooking Ebelskivers
- YouTube: How to Make Ebelskivers
- Wikipedia: Aebleskiver
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Copyright 2012 Susan S. Bradley. All rights reserved.