Tak for Mad: Abelskiver

Right now I'm suffering from a not-enough-hands-and-too-many-pies kind of situation.

Maybe suffering is not the right word. Because I'm loving this time of life. Reveling in it.

My desk is covered in books on photography, typography and cooking, crowded by an empty bottle of gin, a glass of iced tea, an unopened wedding invitation, business cards, watercolor paints and brushes, my journal, a bendable ruler, an empty picture frame and a cast iron skillet.

My mess is glorious
and energizing.

Why can't I just put my hands in pies for a living?

In a serious nesting fit, a couple of weeks ago, I went a-searching on Etsy for some food art to put on the walls of my kitchen. I found a few things that I thought were fun, but nothing caught my eye and said "ME. CHOOSE ME!  YOUR KITCHEN HAS BEEN UNBEARABLY EMPTY AND COLD BEFORE NOW!!!"

I posted a few of the potential pieces on Facebook, where my friend Amanda suggested (in that sort of casual, yet genius way that she has of saying significant things) that I should just make foods that I like, photograph them and frame them myself.  I just love that girl.  I immediately connected with the idea and when James and I were talking it over that night, he added the suggestion that I make foods from my family's cookbook, photograph them and blog about it...


WELL YEAH.  I coulda thought of that. PRObably.

With enough gin.

Several years ago, my aunt Janet compiled a WHOOOLE bunch of our family's favorite recipes and bound them together in to a cookbook.  Our Danish ancestry is a big part of the food that we eat and how we eat it (I learned pretty early to spread my butter ALL THE WAY TO THE CRUST) and Janet titled the book "Tak for Mad" which is the Danish expression for "Thanks for the food."

I have my own copy and while I rarely make the traditional Danish recipes like Rabarbragrot or Frikadeller, I frequently reference it for my favorite banana nut bread recipe and my Grandma Jane's Cinnamon Rolls.

A few days after the seed for this idea was planted by Amanda and James, a birthday gift from my mom arrived in the mail that cemented the whole plan.

Good gracious, who dented my pan???

THIS, my friends is an Abelskiver pan.  And Abelskiver is THE very first recipe in Tak for Mad.

"But what is Abelskiver, Laura Jane?"

I'm so glad you asked.  Abelskiver, or Aebelskeever, or Ableskivver, or Ebelskiver or any number of variations is basically a pancake ball.  The word itself is Danish for "Apple Slices" which were sometimes put inside the pancake balls.  (Stop drooling, I see you.  Gaping mouths are unbecoming.)  These pancake balls were a part of my growing up.  We had them at family get togethers and my mom's pan got lots of use whenever my sister and I would bring friends home from college to visit.

THIS is how you make them.

Simplicity. (Or, enkelhed, in Danish.)

If you can't see the picture all that well (or if you just want to copy and paste the recipe) it's


1 T. sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
2 eggs (separated)
2 T. water in egg whites
1 1/4 c. milk

Mix the dry ingredients, add beaten egg yolks and milk. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites.

That's about where Norma stops giving instructions, so I'll let you know that you can put delicious surprises in the middle, if you'd like.  Obviously, you can put apple slices inside, or jam, or custard, or heck...peanutbutter...chocolate... You could even do some savory versions with bacon or garlic and butter or cheese inside.  The possibilities are endless!  You can have abelskiver at every meal!!


In terms of HOW to prepare these little guys, I had the best results placing the pan on a lower setting and letting the abelskiver cook slowly.  I put a little bit of butter in the bottom of each divot and let it melt first.  Then, I poured the batter in until it was about 1/2 an inch from the top.  It took long enough that I had time to snap some shots of the anticipation in the kitchen.

I like to keep him waiting because then he makes this face.
SISTER!!!! You can still kind of see the lines on her face from sleeping on the couch. heh.
I also found that it was easier to turn them over using a kabob skewer, but you can use a fork.  Or a crochet needle.  Whatever tickles your ableskiver.
In a bowl. Like a boss.
Even the puppy waited her turn.
Covered in maple syrup and powdered sugar. Oh, and clumpy powdered sugar at that. How embarrassing.

They're best served hot hot out of the pan.

And preferably with mimosas.

Next time I post a recipe from Tak for Mad, I'll try to make something that doesn't require a specialty pan like this.  Something you can make from home.  Like "Liver Postej," if you're in to that kind of thing.

So much love!

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