The Great Northern War – Part Deux

Behold the contender: Aebleskiver (Danish Pancakes)!

Aebleskiver are little puffed pancakes often filled with a variety of delicious fillings. The recipe makes about 30 pancakes and I made 10 with milk chocolate ganache, 10 with blackberry jam (store-bought), and 10 plain.  (Get the original recipe from Williams-Sonoma, and mine here!)

These pancakes are delicious, but they were kind of a pain to make.  My biggest issues were with keeping the filling from leaking out of the pancakes and turning them.  Maybe I need a set of these?

(picture from http://jessicaburns.com/2011/11/aebleskivers/)

Probably not, though.  I think the keys to perfect aebleskiver are:

1. making sure you put enough butter in each well (see all that buttah?)

             
2. finding a good dough to filling ratio (which I did not excel at).
These look okay, but really in the bottom well and top-right well, there’s way too much jam. Those will eventually leak out, burn in the bottom of the well, and keep other aebleskiver from cooking properly in those wells until I can clean them out…
A few things to keep in mind are:
  • make sure you keep the fillings nice and cold – the warmer they are, the soupier they are, the more likely they’ll leak out of the pancakes and mess up the pan
  • use a swirling motion to fill the pan – when you 1st put the batter in, if you swirl from outside in, you’ll create a little well for the filling; then, when you cover the filling up, swirl from outside in again to create a filling-leak-proof pancake barrier
(this one came out nicely!)

I noticed that the batter looked really yellow in comparison to other pancake batters, I think because of the buttermilk.  I thought the plain pancakes were the best – the ganache ones may have been better with dark chocolate, and the jam ones were a bit too sweet for me.  The plain ones, though, were like the glorious child of fried dough and pancakes in bite-sized puffs.

I had the same pancake-testers try both the aebleskiver and poffertjes and they came out tied, so I guess I’m the official tie-breaker.  I’m struggling a little I think the poffertjes win the easier-prep battle, while the aebleskiver win the taste battle.  Ultimately, taste has got to win…

4.25 out of 5 stackies: 

Advertisements

The Great Northern War* – Part 1

*So, technically the Great Northern War is already a thing…as in part of a series of wars fought in northern and northeastern Europe, but who’s really keeping track of those?  What I do keep track of is pancakes, so this will be the first in a two-part blog post comparing Dutch Poffertjes and Danish Aebleskiver – let the skirmish begin!

Poffertjes are basically baby buckwheat pancakes (get the original recipe here, and my converted one here!).  They’re a little smaller than a half-dollar, but bigger than a quarter and the recipe makes about 100.

There are some specialty tools you’ll need to make both these and the aebleskiver.  First, the pan:

 

This is actually an aebleskiver pan, but it’ll work for both types of pancakes.  I got mine from Amazon, I think it was $11.  Poffertjes pans are usually a lot bigger, with shallower (and many more) wells…something like this:

(picture from http://fantes.com/aebleskiver.html).  I just compensated by putting in less batter.

I guess you’re technically also supposed to have special sticks that help you turn the poffertjes, I just used chopsticks, and I saw a bunch of recipes that said to use knitting needles!

Lastly, a squirt bottle.  This made making 100 poffertjes sooo much easier, can you imagine ladling in batter 100 times? No thank you!

Also, if you don’t want to make your own batter, you can buy a mix.  I’ve never seen poffertjes mix in my grocery store, but apparently it exists.  The batter is pretty easy to put together, though, so I’m not sure if it’s worth the trouble to hunt down poffertjes mix.  Plus,  I got to work with buckwheat flour for the first time! (I felt very sophisticated checking out.)

The batter smells very nutty, and the pancakes have a really nice buckwheat taste – not too strong, but definitely present.  Poffertjes are traditionally served with powdered sugar and whipped butter, which make everything taste good, and these pancakes were definitely delicious.  Also, they were mini, and mini things just taste better, it’s science.

(close-up!)

The aebleskivers will have to be pretty delicious to beat these.  Tune in next week to see who triumphs!

4 out of 5 stackies: 

A Chocolatey Avocadon’t

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Isn’t this just a glorious looking avocado? I HAD to put it in my post.  Confession time: I had the hardest time making these pancakes because the whole time I just wanted to skip the pancakes and eat the avocados on their own – but by invoking my duty to pancake every week, I was able to overcome my weakness…I also went out and bought more avocados that I could eat plain.

The original recipe (at Mother Thyme) uses 2 different kinds of flour and cinnamon chips, both of which I ignored.  1. I was too lazy to go get yet another type of flour and I don’t think it made a big difference. 2. The cinnamon-chocolate-avocado combo was a bit too much for my brain to handle, but upon reflection, probably would’ve been really good. Oh well! (here‘s my version!)

These pancakes were…interesting. They’re not too sweet (I ended up dipping them in powdered sugar) and very soft on the inside.  If I remake them, I would definitely make sure to mash the avocado more.  The avocado I used was fairly soft and I mashed it up pretty well, but there were still chunks in the pancakes (you can see them in the picture!), and you could definitely taste that distinctive avocado taste in the pancakes which (although I normally love) seemed a bit unbalanced.  Next time, I’ll have to puree the avocado, or maybe blend the batter all together.  I also might try using a California avocado instead of the regular Hass/Florida avocados since the California ones are milder in taste.

Another thing that stuck out to me about these pancakes was the texture of the batter.  Right after I mixed everything together, it looked like your everyday chocolate-avocado pancake batter.

(see?)

But then, when I went to scoop the batter, it had aerated itself and the texture was more like that of a mousse! COOKING ALCHEMY. It was crazy, I think it’s because there’s a fair amount of baking powder in the recipe(?)

(moussified)

Last thing (I promise!) since the batter is all mousse-y, it was hard for the batter to spread out in the pan, I had to help mine along quite a bit, but the pancakes were still a bit on the thick side.  I also had to lower the heat because the mousse-consistency slows down the internal cooking process. I actually burned my 1st pancake because the outside cooked so quickly and the inside was still really liquid.

3.5 out of 5 stackies: 

So You Think You Can Passover (these pancakes)?

In the spirit of Pesach, my roommate, C, suggested we make matzo meal pancakes.  After successfully wheedling the secret family recipe from C’s mom, I present to you, matzo meal pancakes!

These are definitely oily (hence the paper towel), but that’s part of their charm.  Actually, we made a couple of batches and the batch we made where the oil ran low was definitely not as good as the ones that had a full oil bath.  The batter smelled suspiciously like crackers, but the pancakes taste sort of like the salty version of fried dough, or the outside of a corndog…so basically delicious.  The softer (aka less fried) ones had a really strong egg flavor, now, I like eggs, so I didn’t mind, but if you don’t like egg-taste, these may not be the pancakes for you.

(they even look greasy in the pan!)

I’d never worked with matzo meal before and I was surprised when I opened the bag and it looked so crumbly.

(My first bag of matzo meal!  You might notice that the box says “not for Passover use” which basically means that it’s not kosher…honestly, what’s the point? It’s a good thing my roommate doesn’t keep kosher!!!)

(super-crumbly, right?)

The nicely-fried ones made me crave vegetables.  I tried some with applesauce which was pretty good, but I think it would’ve been better with some chopped chives.  The softer ones would’ve been really good with some sour cream and caviar – I’ll have to try it some other time!

3.75 out of 4 stackies: 

Keeping it Classy with Blueberry Pancakes

This is my favorite (and only?) blueberry pancake-related song, and these are my amazing Blueberry Pancakes!!!

My recipe is a variation of one from the smitten kitchen which is itself from Martha Stewart. ((1) Basically this is the “inception” of blueberry pancake recipes. (2) Once again, all good things stem from Martha Stewart, just as I always suspected.) 

The original recipe calls for buttermilk, which I didn’t have and didn’t feel like going to get.  Normally when I don’t have buttermilk on hand I just mix-up a substitute (1 C buttermilk = 1 C milk + 1 T lemon juice that has sat for a few minutes). But besides not having buttermilk, I also didn’t have any lemons, so instead I recklessly substituted rice vinegar for the lemon juice.  I figured that since rice vinegar isn’t as vinegar-y as regular vinegar and also has a bit of a sweetness to it, that it would be fine. And I was right.  Even better, the vinegar in my faux-buttermilk and the baking soda in the recipe reacted so that the batter got pretty bubbly and the pancakes turned out super fluffy and light.

(buuuuubbles)

The original recipe also calls for 4T of melted butter, but smitten kitchen says she sometimes doesn’t use any. As a compromise, I used 3T.  The pancakes definitely had that delicious melted butter taste, and, since I didn’t use actual buttermilk, I think my pancakes need the melted butter. (or I need/love melted butter…what’s the difference?)

These pancakes have a mild sweetness, I don’t like using syrup on blueberry pancakes because I like getting that natural blueberry flavor, so I just added some powdered sugar on top to get to my desired-sweetness level.  All in all, AWESOME PANCAKES.

4 out of 5 stackies!: