The Great Northern War – Part Deux

Editor’s note: here’s the second post in the republication of my 2-part series on poffertjes vs. aebleskiver!

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: 

The Great Northern War* – Part 1

Editor’s Note: Last week’s post made me start reminiscing about the first time I made aebleskiver so I decided to republish my first series on Northern European pancakes…yeah, that was a thing. Enjoy!

*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:

poffertjes pan

(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: 

Æll Æbout Æbleskiver

Hey Fancakes!

So, I woke up with a totally different pancake plan than the recipe you’re getting. All week I’ve been thinking about chocolate chip pancakes with some sort of whipped peanut butter topping – right? I’m still excited to make those, but for some reason, when I got up, I just wanted something  salty.IMG_1611

There wasn’t too much in my fridge but I did find some green onions and parmesan cheese…so obviously I ended up making Parmesan Green Onion Aebleskiver! I’ve made aebleskiver (danish puff pancakes) a couple of times before, but they’ve always been sweet. As delicious as sweet aebleskiver are, I could feel it in my pancaking bones that savory aebleskiver would be just as good…I was right.

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The parmesan cheese makes the pancakes nice and salty while the green onions just hang out and do their green onion thang. In fact, these pancakes are sort of the hick cousins of gougeres (if you’ve never had a gougeres, your life is not complete. Thomas Keller’s gruyere gougeres complete my life) or just the regular pancake cousins of cheesy popovers. Either way, it’s hard to go wrong with parmesan and green onions. The texture of the aebleskiver are true to form, puffy and doughy but not too heavy. I think these would make excellent hors d’oeurves, maybe topped with a dollop of creme fraiche or some caviar for added fanciness.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

(makes 8 aebleskivers)

3/4 C flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 egg + 1 egg white

1/4 C milk

1/4 C parmesan cheese

3 green onions, diced

butter for cooking

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, egg, egg white, and milk. Stir in the parmesan cheese and green onions.

Put a small piece of butter in each well of your aebleskiver pan.

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Heat the pan over medium low heat until the butter has completely melted. Add 1 Tbs of batter to each well.

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Cook for 1-2 minutes. The aebleskivers should turn easily and the bottoms should be golden brown.

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(I turned the bottom 3 too early). Cook for another minute or so, until the other side is golden brown and the aebleskivers are cooked through. Cook the rest of the batter, adding butter as necessary to prevent the aebleskiver from sticking to the pan. Enjoy!

 

Sesame Street!

Hey hey Fancakes!

This past weekend I went with a few of my friends for dinner at a Japanese restaurant. Everything we got was delicious but what stuck with my tastebuds was a black sesame ice cream dessert. I love black sesame. Really, I love everything sesame so it’s no surprise that once I got a taste of that sesame goodness, I just kept wanting more. And that is why, this week, I basically had not choice but to make Sesame Crepes! (original recipe from food and punch)

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A quick note on the recipe before I dive into the flavor profile. The original recipe calls for rice flour, but I just don’t think that rice flour makes for good crepes – it makes the crepes more prone to cracking (you can see in the picture that the crepes are breaking a bit). Anyway, that’s why my recipe calls for regular flour but feel free to experiment with whatever flours you like.

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Flavor-wise, the sesame flavor is subtle, but definitely there, and, since they get mixed into the batter and sprinkled onto the crepes, there’s definitely a nice crunch to the crepes. On their own, the crepes are lightly sweet, and the orange blossom water comes through just a bit. With the extra honey and lemon, these crepes are the perfect snack – I’m definitely making them again!

3.5 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie .5

Ingredients:

(makes 8 crepes)

1/2 C flour

1 egg

1 1/2 Tbs sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 C milk

1/2 T butter, melted

1 tsp orange blossom water (or vanilla)

1 Tbs sesame seeds + more for sprinkling

honey

lemon

Directions:

Sift together the flour, salt, and sugar. Whisk in the butter, milk, egg, and orange blossom water until you get a very smooth batter. Stir in the sesame seeds.

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Cover the batter with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap touches the surface of the batter and put the batter in the fridge for at least 1/2 an hour.

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Lightly butter a nonstick pan and set it over medium heat. Giving the batter a quick stir, cook 2 Tbs of batter at a time. Swirl the batter around the pan so that you get a very thin crepe. Sprinkle a few sesame seeds on top of the crepe before it dries. Cook for about 2 minutes until the edges are crispy.

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Flip and cook for another minute or so.

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Continue to cook the crepes, stacking them up on a plate as you go. The residual heat will keep them nice and pliable.

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When you’re through cooking, fold them into quarters, and sprinkle them with honey and lemon juice.

Say hello to my little friend…

Happy Sunday Fancakes!

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m getting a little pancaked-out…not that I don’t love trying and making new recipes, but I’ve just been feeling a little uninspired. Anyway, instead of trying to force myself to try a new recipe that I wasn’t sure about loving, I decided to go back to an old favorite, the Dutch baby. These pancakes are basically always delicious (unless I mess up and do something weird – don’t blame the pancakes!) and I decided to go mini because who doesn’t like things mini?

photo 3

And, just to keep things a little bit interesting and because I had frozen berries in the freezer (I said “a little uninspired…not crazy!) I whipped up some quick (vegan) jam (following this recipe from Oh She Glows). The results were pretty delicious. Ok, back to pancakes, I thought the original pancake recipe (from Emily Bites) was pretty good, but I changed it up just a little bit (less butter, add powdered sugar) to suit my taste.

photo 2

These little poppers came out hot, buttery, and delicious. And the fresh jam really pumped up the flavor. A quick note on the jam, feel free to use any jam/fruit you have, but if you have leftover berries and access to chia seeds, you’re basically all set to go. Chia seeds naturally thicken things up (it’s basically cooking magic) and a regular sized bag goes a long way. I got some a month or so ago and I’m about halfway through it (I also like to throw some in my oatmeal in the mornings!)

chiq

(Chia seeds getting added to the berries!)

The best thing about these pancakes is that you can make a whole bunch all at once! I only made 6, but you could easily double/triple the recipe and make enough for the whole family in one go! I made full-sized Dutch babies for a group once and while they were delicious, there was a bit of lag-time (I also only have 1 castiron, but in NYC, who has room for multiple castiron pans!?!?) and then everyone’s fingers were all up in the pancakes at the same time…with the minis, everyone gets their own and you can cut the wait time by a lot! Also…if you’re eating these by yourself, you can totally fit an entire mini in your mouth at once…

4 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackiestackie

Ingredients (for the jam):

(makes enough for 6 mini pancakes)

1/2 C frozen or fresh berries – any berries you want! (I used frozen because I happened to have some leftover in the freezer)

1 Tbs maple syrup (or honey)

1 Tbs chia seeds

1/8 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Cook the berries and syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until the mixture just starts to boil. Make sure you stir frequently so nothing burns.

cooking

(yes, I”m using a small frying pan because it was already out…)

Add the chia seeds and stir until the mixture starts to thicken (about 1-2 minutes).

chiq

Remove the jam from the stove, stir in the vanilla, and set the jam in a small bowl/jar to settle while you make the pancakes.

photo 4

Ingredients (for the pancakes):

(makes 6)

1/2 C skim milk

1/2 C flour

1/4 C powdered sugar

3 eggs

3 Tbs butter, melted

pinch salt

1/2 tsp almond extract

zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 275 (F). Put everything into a blender and blend until the ingredients are totally incorporated and the batter is smooth.

photo 5

 

Lightly spray a 6-tin muffin pan with cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly between the cups.

photo 1

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pancakes are puffed up and golden brown on top. They will deflate as you take them out of the oven.

photo 2

Lift them out of the pan and onto a plate, top with…whatever you want, and enjoy!

 

 

World Cup of Pancakes – Remember When Pancakes Could Tell the Future?

Hi Fancakes, I would never want to come out and say that I’m the new Paul the Octopus but I would like to point out that my pancakes have been accurately predicting the outcome of World Cup games. Coincidence or prescience, you be the judge, but either way, make sure you check out these Mennonite Pancakes (for the record, I’m unofficially officially predicting Germany will win).

5

Have you ever just been like, “I really want a giant delicious slightly eggy neutral pancake to roll up and put whatever I want on it?” Is that just me? Am I the only one who thinks about pancakes all the time? Anyway, if you’re thinking it now (you’re welcome), you need to try these pancakes. The wooden charger sort of throws the sizing off, but the plate holding the pancakes is a full size dinner plate, so these puppies are ready to fill. your. stomach.  (that sentence is supposed to be read as Nasim Pedrad playing Heshi in this skit).

4

 

These pancakes are pretty similar to the Argentinian ones (and really any crepe-like pancake) but they don’t need to rest, and they’re slightly more substantial than your standard crepe. I did some research and it seems like you can basically put whatever you want on these: meat, fruit, cheese, syrup, etc. I went with classic powdered sugar, but I’m thinking some cheddar scrambled eggs rolled up in a pancake would make for a very hearty meal.

photo (8)

Go forth, make these pancakes, and watch the World Cup! (Is it bad that I’m maybe more interested in the predictive prowess of my pancakes than the game itself?)

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

(original recipe Mennonite Girls Can Cook)

Ingredients:

(makes 3 large pancakes)

3/4 C flour

1/4 tsp salt

2 eggs

3/4 C milk

2 Tbs butter, for cooking

powdered sugar (or topping of your choice!)

Directions:

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together all the ingredients until you get a fairly smooth batter (a few lumps are okay, but try to work most of them out).

1

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and melt about 1/2 Tbs of butter in the pan. Let the butter totally melt and just start to brown before you add 1/2 C batter. Swirl the batter so that it covers the bottom of the pan.

3

Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the edges are crispy, the top is dry and the bottom is golden brown in spots. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes. (I found the easiest way to flip was to loosen the pancake from the pan, then lifting from one side of the pancake rather than the middle).

4

Slide the pancakes out of the pan as they finish cooking and add more butter between each pancake. Top and enjoy!

 

 

 

Stay Puft!

Hi Fancakes!

So, I’ve been sitting on this recipe for awhile (one of my trusty ihopapotami sent it to me a few months ago), but I’ve been waiting for fresh corn to be in season! I’m probably still a little early, but I saw a few ears at the farmer’s market and I just couldn’t resist. Without further ado, I present a Puffy Corn Pancake with Blackberry Sauce. (original recipe from the New York Times)

2

 

Corn and blackberries are definitely at the top of my favorite foods list so I was pretty excited to make these and shove them into my mouth eat them. I have to say, though, I was a leeetle disappointed. On its own, the pancake is a little bland and chewy–there isn’t much sugar in the dough itself, so when you get the pops of corn kernels, those bites are excellent, but if you get a bite of plain pancake, it’s just sort of meh.

3

(my fancy way of cutting kernels off the cob and actually getting all the kernels in a container instead of just all over the kitchen — and yes, that is the world’s smallest angel food cake pan)

Putting the blackberry sauce on the pancake changes up the entire game.  Honestly, you just can’t go wrong with blackberries cooked in sugar until the berries just start popping and you get a thick syrupy mess of deliciousness.  The key to really kicking the pancake up a notch is letting the sauce sit on the pancake and really seeping in. I tried the pancake just minutes after I put the sauce on, about half an hour later, and the next morning, and the longer I waited, the better the pancake got.

10

The way you cook this pancake is similar to the method for Dutch Babies, the key difference (in my moderately profession pancake opinion) is in texture. Dutch babies are soft and pillowy, this pancake was pretty dense and almost had a dense sponge-cake like texture.  I was sort of expecting a more Dutch baby-like texture so this pancake threw me at first, but eventually, it won me over.

Overall, this is an interesting sort of cornbready pancake that’s interesting to try, but just be warned that it may not be a total crowdpleaser.

3 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie

Ingredients:

3 Tbs unsalted butter

1/2 C flour

1/4 C fine cornmeal

5 eggs

1/3 C whole milk

2 Tbs honey

pinch sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 C fresh cut corn kernels (it took me 1 large ear to get to)

2 C blackberries

3 Tbs sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the butter in a pie pan and let the pan heat up in the oven until the butter starts to bubble (about 5 minutes).

In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours.

flour

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

eggs

Whisk the egg mixture into the flours. Slowly whisk in the honey, salt, and pepper. Try to get as many lumps out as possible. Stir in the corn.

batter

Pour the batter into the prepared dish.

in pan

 

Bake the pancake for about 25 minutes – the sides should puff up and the entire pancake should be golden to dark brown.

While the pancake is cooking, make the sauce. Cook down the blackberries and sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then, turn the heat down to low and let the blackberries simmer while the pancake finishes cooking. The finished sauce should be thick and syrupy.

blackberries

 

Once the pancake is done baking, pour the sauce over the pancake and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then slice and enjoy!