My dad was Danish. For many years we drove to Janesville, Wisconsin at Christmastime to spend it with dad’s only living relatives, his cousins who had kids about my age. That was always fun for me because until I visited them, I had never seen a truck drive across a pond or lake, ridden on a snow mobile, put butter on a roast beef sandwich instead of mustard, eaten steak tartar, stollen, or Evil Skeevers – and those turned out to be my favorites. Aebleskivers are a Danish pancake or donut traditionally made with apples. Preparation requires a special pan that looks more like an egg poacher than anything else. The cousin’s pans were heavy gauge cast iron and must have weighed a ton. I loved to sit and watch them being made because knitting needles were used to flip the pastry over inside the “hole” and that was pretty amazing to me. My dad said his mom used to make them for him during Advent but he didn’t get to have them much since his mother passed away. He always looked forward to cousins Dorothy and Dee making them each year when we went to visit.
I’m not sure why I thought of them this week. It’s not like Okies have big ol’ Aebleskiver parties or billboards lining our roadways advertising the pans, and you certainly can’t find Evil Skeevers at IHOP (that’s a restaurant). For whatever reason, they popped into my head and I had to make some. I was going to order a pan from Williams-Sonoma because it was on ½ price one day last week but I forgot and didn’t make the sale. While the hubs was tending his booth at the flea market this weekend I went for a visit and looksee – where lo and behold, there was a cast iron Aebleskiver pan marked “German Muffin Pan or something”. Since the seller didn’t know what it was, I told her and quickly paid for the item lugging it back to the booth where Mr. Picky eater looked at me like I had just purchased maternity clothes! In other words, he had no idea why I would buy something like that. The pan is home now and properly cleaned. This will be the first batch I have ever made myself so I’m a little nervous. Mom gave me Dorothy and Dee’s recipe. She had it in her recipe book so I know it’s authentic but how much it will taste like the ones I remember is anyone’s guess, especially since I will be using my leftover chocolate ganache from the Swiss Cake Roll instead of apples. This is the recipe as written:
Evil Skeevers (Aebleskivers)
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Cups Milk
1 Tablespoon granulated Sugar
2 Eggs, separated
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking Powder
½ Stick of Butter (plus more)
1 Cup finely chopped and cooked apples – should measure 1 cup after cooking not before.
Powdered sugar for dusting
Sift flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
Beat egg yolks and milk together then stir in melted butter.
Whip, using beater, egg whites until they form soft peaks (2-3 minutes).
Mix milk and eggs into dry ingredients until just combined, then gently fold in the egg whites.
Turn stove on medium and place pan on burner.
Melt butter and fill each “hole” with about 1/4 teaspoon and brush up sides with a brush.
Fill each “hole” with 1 scant Tablespoon of the batter and then, very carefully, put a scant teaspoon of apples (or chocolate ganache!) in the very middle of each pastry. Finally, put 1 scant Tablespoon on top. It works best if the filling is cold so it won’t run out of the middle before the batter cooks.
Cook for 70 to 90 seconds and then flip each donut with a knitting needle, skewer, toothpicks, or even a fork allowing cooking another minute or so, until brown. They should look like this:
Scoop out of pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar if wanted.
There are a million ways to make these and I bet you could fill it with a bit of holiday cheese ball or a cube of cheese with bacon – really just anything you can come up with would be delightful. My advice? Work really fast!
Mine came out a little messy but….MMmmmmm….. They are almost the way I remember them. I guess I’ll have to practice some more!