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: 

B is for: Bacon, Bleu Cheese, and Buckwheat.

Hey fancakes,

Have you ever told your friends and family that you’re into something and then, because everyone you know is awesome, you constantly get gifts/emails/messages related to that interest area? Yeah, s0 that happens to me with pancakes and owls (this blog could’ve been “so you think you can owl” in a HEARTBEAT).  Anyway, shoutout to my friend Aryn who emailed me this recipe from what should i eat for breakfast today for buckwheat pancakes with bacon and bleu cheese.

IMG_1459

I’d been sitting on the recipe for awhile because I’m not a huge fan of bleu cheese but this morning I just felt like mixing it up a little. I ran over to the store and grabbed some mild smelling bleu cheese (yes, I stood in the cheese aisle and sniffed all the bleu cheeses to pick what I thought would be the mildest – I am that person), bacon, and green onions. Frankly, if you like bleu cheese, this mix of ingredients is hard to go wrong with.

(basically how I feel about bleu cheese – image from arcamax)

I can’t say that I love bleu cheese now, but even if you’re like me, I’d encourage you to try this recipe – it’s actually got a pretty perfect balance of salty and sweet and the bleu cheese really just lends a subtle creamy, salty, earthy underflavor to everything (“underflavor,” trademarked!).

IMG_1449

So the only ingredient I actually had a problem with was the buckwheat! I thought it made the pancakes a little too sandy/gritty. I’ve tried to remedy that problem by adding an egg and using whole wheat flour instead. I agree with the original recipe that you need something a little more substantial than regular flour for these pancakes but 100% buckwheat just wasn’t quite right to me. You could go cRaZy and do 1/2 buckwheat + 1/2 whole wheat, or even throw in some rye flour! (wut wut!)

IMG_1451

This was definitely one of those recipes where I would take a bite, chew thoughtfully, and have to take another bite to really figure out the flavor profile…I’d say I ate about a half of the stack before I felt like I had really gotten a handle of the flavor profile…totally worth it.

3.75 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

(makes 4 pancakes – enough for 2 slightly hungry people)

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1/2 Tbs baking powder

pinch salt

1/2 C milk

1 egg

1 T butter, melted

1 T maple syrup (+ more for drizzling)

1/4 C green onions, chopped

1/8 C bleu cheese, chopped into small pieces

bacon, at least 4 pieces for the pancakes

oil for cooking

Directions:

Cook the bacon! I did mine in the oven but cook yours anyway you like best.

IMG_1450

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, milk, egg, butter, and maple syrup until you get a nice smooth batter.

IMG_1452

Add the chopped green onions and bleu cheese. Whisk well with a fork making sure to break up the bleu cheese crumbles.

IMG_1453

It’ll look a little like sludge, but no worries, it’ll taste good! Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add about a quarter sized amount of oil to the pan. Cook a scant 1/3 C of batter at a time making sure to spread the batter out a little – the batter will be on the thick side.

IMG_1454

Cook for about 2 minutes, until the top is dry and you can see that the bottom is nice and browned.

IMG_1455

Flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Layer the pancakes with bacon and drizzle with syrup. Enjoy!

 

The Buckwheat Stops Here!

Two confessions:

  1. Sorry this is late! I went skiing yesterday and when I remembered to post last night, tumblr just wasn’t having it…
  2. I have no idea what that title is supposed to mean but it made me randomly giggle.

image

This week I made buckwheat crepes (get the original recipe from David Lebovitz and see mine here).  After the Clinton St pancakes last week, I wanted try another classic pancake/crepe recipe.  Buckwheat crepes are super versatile and delicious.  I tried the crepes 4 ways:

  • nutella
  • lemon and honey
  • jam
  • butter and sugar
  • fried egg and cheese

imageEvery topping was delicious – of course the simple butter and sugar and honey and lemon combos were so so good, but you can basically put anything on top of a buckwheat crepe.  Toss some lightly coated mesclun salad under that egg and you’ve got a pretty fancy lunch going!

imageThe crepe batter does need to rest overnight but besides that, the batter is super easy to put together and the pancakes are really easy to work with (aka they don’t rip very easily!)

4 out of 5 stackies: imageimageimageimage

Blini, vedi, vici

I think bagels with cream cheese and lox are one of the best meals on earth.  If you think like me, but want to mix it up, then you should definitely try these buckwheat blini with gravlax and creme fraiche!

(Get my directions for the blini and gravlax here!)

Each bite of these little morsels was basically perfect, full of salty-dill-y gravlax, lightly tart and cremey creme fraiche, and soft buckwheat-y pancake.

Speaking of pancakes, I followed Ina’s (Garten, that is) recipe and the blini came out really nicely (I would expect nothing less from an Ina recipe, of course).

On their own, they had a light buckwheat flavor but were otherwise pretty bland.  I did think they came out a little on the thick side, but I think that could be easily fixed by thinning the batter out just a bit.

The more exciting part of this whole breakfast experience was the gravlax.  

Have you ever heard of gravlax?  It’s basically dill-cured salmon, “gravlax” is the Danish word for it, “gravad lax” is the same thing…but in Norway.  This article from the kitchn was really informative, the new Martha Stewart has a feature on smoked and cured fish, as well!

(getting ready to be cured…but what was it sick with? sorry my friend Eric was being particularly “funny” when I was telling him about gravlax)

My recipe was the result of several days of internet scouring and a melding of these two sets of directions: cookstr and the Nordic Recipe Archive.  The only directions I ignored were to baste the fish (I was too lazy to keep wrapping and unwrapping it + I wrapped it so tight that there wasn’t a whole lot of liquid leaking out) and I scrupulously ignored any directions to add liquor/liqeurs (alcohol cured fish just does not sound appetizing to me.

Make sure you cut the gravlax thinly – it should come off the skin fairly easily – it did for me and I have a terrible knife/cutting skills.

(begging me to be sliced)

I can hardly wait to make more gravlax, IT WAS SO GOOD.

4 out of 5 stackies (for the whole shebang (fish + pancakes)): 

Buckwheat Pannekoek

I found myself with an excess of buckwheat flour and pomegranate molasses – it’s a good thing I found this recipe for Buckwheat Pannekoek! (Get the original from New York Magazine and mine here!)

So these are just the Scandinavian version of baked one-pan pancakes, aka’d Dutch Babies.  The recipe is for 4 pancakes and one pannekoek is a pretty satisfying breakfast for each person.  The pancake itself is sweet, but not too sweet, and the blueberries that are baked into it are nice bursts of blueberry goodness.  The edges are crispy and the middle is soft, but substantial.  

I’d never used pomegranate molasses before and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I happened to have a bottle on hand because my kitchen was the lucky recipient of a box of gourmet kitchen goods from my roommate’s parents.  (My vanilla beans are from the same source!)  The molasses was thinner than I expected, more like a nice balsamic vinegar consistency than molasses/honey/corn syrup.  The flavor was surprisingly tart, as well, not at all cloying.  

(those dark bits are from the vanilla bean)

The batter was really easy to put together, just mix everything together in a blender! (I actually used a hand mixer, but the same idea).  Then you just ladle some batter into your oven-proof pan (8”), toss some blueberries in, and bake!

My only gripe was that since I only have 1 oven proof pan, I had to repeat the whole process 4 times, oh well, someday I’ll have a whole army of castiron and I’ll be able to make pannekoek by the dozen!

4 out of 5 stackies: 

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: