It’s actually cold and rainy in the Bay Area, and almost feels like a proper winter – as close as we’ll get for a place that hardly ever sees snow or, more pressingly, even rain. I’m finally getting to do some cozy cold-weather baking while the skies loom grey and abundant outside.
One of the very best things about chilly winter mornings is a hot breakfast, especially for our more typically cereal-and-yogurt household. The mornings we decide on a batch of morning buns or fluffy pancakes are always special ones. This weekend I had a sudden desire to pull out a piece of kitchen equipment I hadn’t touched in almost a year: my ebelskiver pan.
Ebelskivers (or aebleskivers) are a traditional Danish breakfast treat that sometimes go by the more pronunciation-friendly “pancake puffs”. To be fair, most modern pancake puff recipes are essentially exactly that, whereas ebelskiver translates to “apple slices”, since traditional versions of the recipe sometimes contain apples. Confused yet?
The key to ebelskivers is the ebelskiver pan, a rounded flat skillet-type affair with several round indentations. You fill the hollows with the batter, dollop on some fillings, and cover with a little more batter. The ebelskivers cook into rounded “puffs” that you maneuver out with skewers, chopstick-style. It takes a tiny bit more skill than just making flat pancakes, but the extra effort is worth it. You can treat ebelskivers as you would regular pancakes: cover them in syrup, jam, whipped cream, any other topping you can think of. The fun difference is that with ebelskivers you can have something sweet filling them inside as well as covering them outside.
I’m still exploring all the sweet treats that Hatchery sent me, and I found the ideal accompaniment for my ebslskivers with this Chai Spice Dulce from Soft Peaks Confections. This Southern California bakery specializes in macarons and their trademark dulce de leche spreads. Their chai spice infused caramel is perfectly sweet and gooey, and laced with the scent of cardamom and cinnamon.
As it turned out, the dulce made the perfect filling for that batch of ebelskivers. Cardamom is a staple spice in Scandinavian baking. and it shows up in many ebelskiver recipes. I added some to my dough, and filling them with the chai spice dulce was the perfect way to layer the flavors. The ebelskivers cooked up light and puffy, not too sweet, and the spices added just the right touch of homeyness. The dulce filling also made the perfect dipping sauce; warm and liquid from the cooking, fragrant and sweet.
If you don’t have dulce on hand, I give a simple method of making dulce using your oven in the recipe below. You can also use almost any other filling; try not to use liquids as they will have a hard time staying within the ebelskiver, but you could use jam, chocolate ganache, or bits of chopped fruit like apples or figs. Serve them with powdered sugar dusted over the tops, or some whipped cream on the side.
The key moment of turning the ebelskivers over. Although I try to shy away from an overabundance of specialty one-purpose cooking tools, I think the ebelskiver pan is a keeper in our house because a) ebelskivers are easy to make – the batter is virtually the same as a pancake batter; b) it cleans easily, always a big plus, and c)it doesn’t take up much space. Ebelskivers were a nice change up from our regular pancakes and Isabelle enjoyed watching the little balls of batter puff up before her eyes. For a bit of morning entertainment plus a cozy and satisfying breakfast, these lovelies fit the bill. Thanks to Hatchery for sharing some of their sweet finds with me!
Dulce de Leche Ebelskivers
If you can’t find dulce de leche at your grocery, you can make it with some condensed milk in the oven as described below.
Author: Anita Chu
Serves: about 20
Dulce de Leche
- One 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (125 g) all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup (230 g) whole milk
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for cooking
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Fillings as desired
For the dulce de leche:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Pour the condensed milk into a shallow baking pan or pie dish. Sprinkle with the salt and cover the dish with foil.
- Place baking pan into a larger roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the sides of the baking pan.
- Place roasting pan with baking pan inside, in the oven and bake for about 60 minutes until dulce is dark and thick and caramelized. Check occasionally while baking and if the water level has dropped add more water.
- Remove baking pan from roasting pan and whisk dulce until smooth. Let cool.
For the ebelskivers:
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, cardamom, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk the egg yolks and milk together in a large bowl. Add in the melted butter and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.
- Add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture and just to combine. The mixture will still be lumpy – don’t overmix.
- Whisk the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. The whites should be stiff but not dry.
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter with a rubber spatula.
- Fill wells of ebelskiver pan with ¼ teaspoon of melted butter. Heat on medium high until butter starts to bubble.
- Pour one tablespoon of batter into each well. Spoon one teaspoon of filling on top of each round of batter. Spoon one tablespoon of batter on top of the filling to close up the ebelskiver.
- Cook until bottoms of ebelskivers are golden and crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Using wooden skewers (preferred) or a knife, carefully turn the ebelskivers over and let them finish cooking, another 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer to a plate and serve immediately.