Crave: How to dine like a Dane

photo by: Lori Dunn/Mother Earth News

Sweet æbleskiver may need only a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar before serving.

As a child, I looked forward to winter mornings when Mom took the special æbleskiver pan from the cupboard. The kitchen soon filled with the delicious aroma of the sweet, round treats that connected me to my ancestors.

Æbleskive are a tasty tradition in my family, offering a glimpse into our Danish heritage and a delicious way to discover our immigrant roots. As fun to prepare as they are to eat, æbleskiver give cooks a chance to show off their choicest ingredients and let true personalities shine. While there are no rules dictating how they are prepared or served, the best recipes, a little patience and proper equipment can guarantee fabulous results.

Æbleskiver, small Danish pancake balls, have been prepared for decades by chefs, bed and breakfast cooks, and many household cooks in the United States. They taste much like a sweetened pancake and are fairly easy to whip up with the proper equipment and a suitable recipe. The allure of the æbleskiver (pronounced E-ble-skee-wyr) is that they are easy to eat, and their somewhat cloudy Scandinavian history gives them a whimsical charm that trumps other breakfast fares. Danes traditionally don’t eat æbleskiver for breakfast; they are usually served for special occasions. The beauty of æbleskiver, however, is that it is completely up to you how–and when–you want to serve them.

While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact conception of æbleskiver, we accept that they were born in Denmark sometime before the 1600s and remain a traditional delicacy of Danes today. Served in Denmark for many occasions, but most often during the Christmas season, they have become popular in the United States as a delicious treat for most any meal, and an even better dessert. Æbleskiver are a perfect offering to visitors, as they look fancier than they really are and allow guests to customize their experience with any topping they choose. Served with a spread of fresh fruits, cheeses and the traditional glogg (a mulled wine drink similar to hot cider), you can embrace Danish tradition in the warmth of your own home as the winter months draw closer and closer.

Gær Æbleskiver

(Pancake Balls with Yeast)

(gayr E-ble-skee-WYr)


1 yeast cake or 1 envelope dry active yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups rich milk

2 cups flour

4 eggs


1. Combine yeast, sugar and salt. Heat milk to lukewarm over low heat, then add to flour.

Add yeast mixture, then eggs one at a time. Mix well and allow dough to rise for about 2 hours before baking in æbleskiver pan, using the following method:

2. Fill holes about 3⁄4 full of batter and bake. When half baked, turn with sharp fork or clean knitting needle. Serve with jam or jelly.

Sweetest Æbleskiver


2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1⁄2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1⁄4 cup cinnamon

1⁄2 cup white granulated sugar


1. Combine eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar and butter.

2. Prepare æbleskiver pan with additional melted butter in each well; bake.

3. When finished cooking, remove æbleskiver, and roll each in mixture of cinnamon and sugar before serving.


(Pancake Balls with Cream)



4 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups sweet cream

11⁄4 cups flour

1⁄4 teaspoon cardamom

1. Beat egg whites separately. Beat egg yolks with sugar and salt. Add cream, flour, cardamom and beaten egg whites.

2. Bake in æbleskiver pan.

Note: Sour cream may be used in place of sweet cream, but 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda will need to be added.

Kærnemælks Æbleskiver

(Buttermilk Pancake Balls)

(kayr-neh-maylks E-ble-skee-WYr)


3 eggs, separated

2 tablespoons sugar

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 cups buttermilk

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder


1. Beat egg yolks, and add sugar, salt, buttermilk and flour mixed with baking soda and baking powder. Beat egg whites until stiff and add last.

2. Bake in butter or shortening in æbleskiver pan, putting 1 teaspoonful applesauce on top of dough before turning halfway through. Serve with jam.

Healthier Æbleskiver


2 cups lowfat buttermilk

2 teaspoons baking powder

11⁄2 cups white flour

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 cup whole wheat flour

1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs equivalent of egg substitute

2 tablespoons Splenda or non-sugar baking sweetener

1. Combine all ingredients to form batter. Prepare æbleskiver pan by lightly spraying nonfat cooking spray in each well before heating.

2. Bake æbleskiver as recommended, and remove when evenly cooked.

3. Serve with choice of lowfat or sugar-free toppings, such as natural applesauce, fresh blueberries or sugar-free jam.


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