Æbleskiver

The food highlight for me this Christmas was the Æbleskiver I learned to make at Birgitte Antonsen‘s Christmas In Denmark class. After assisting Birgitte in her 2014 class, I was sure I would make these fun holiday treats. That did not happen. After assisting again this year, I was adamant that Æbleskiver would be part of our festivities. And it was-twice!

Christmas Eve afternoon, my parents came over for tea, Apples to Apples, treats, and gift giving. I had the batter proofing, the pan heating, the butter melted, and the powdered sugar ready for sprinkling. The batter is pancake-like, but yeasted. Brigitte uses whole grain spelt flour in her recipe and only 1 tablespoon of sugar. I made the batter with Kamut-surprise!surprise!- adjusting the amount down to account for how thirsty Kamut can be, and I used coconut palm sugar. aebelskiver 2

When the pan is hot, spoon a little melted butter into each round, then fill each round with almost too much batter. After the batter has set, use a wooden skewer to gather the overfilled batter back into the round, and work the cooked underside around so that the raw batter can meet the hot pan. Continue to rotate the now round, so all sides get in contact with the hot Æbleskiver pan. When golden brown all around, remove the pancake/fritter/Danish Holiday Treat to a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with strawberry jam. Our Christmas Eve batch turned out great but Spouse & I both wanted just a bit more sweet and I wanted a bit more cardamom.

Not on our original Christmas Brunch menu, I whipped up more Æbleskiver batter to share with my in-laws. I did add 1 more tablespoon of coconut palm sugar and increased the 1 teaspoon cardamom by 1/4. These little things were good! Addictively good! For next year’s holiday, I will have strawberry jam in my freezer to serve with these treats. Happy Holidays!aebelskiver 3

ps. If you’d like to learn to make Æbleskiver, sign up for PCC Cooks email list. Birgitte’s class will hopefully be offered next Fall. Registration opens for Fall around the end of August, and we all know that time does fly.

Fika

In October, two of my three nieces spent 3 weeks in & around Sweden, France, and the UK. The first leg of their trip was Göteborg & Stockholm. After photos of their arrival, the cobbled streets and brightly colored buildings around their inn, Instagram lit up with photos of Fika. I had never heard the term Fika so turned to Google. Much more than coffee break, Fika embodies the social, the gathering of friends, accompanied by coffee and, usually, something sweet. Growing up the child of a Norwegian Grandmother and Swedish Grandfather, my parents, aunts & uncles ALWAYS had coffee break-mid morning and mid afternoon. The idea that coffee break was an actual Thing, a big deal, a Swedish phenomenon even, tickled me. My niece at home found this book, which I promptly ordered, and with more pictures from my Eurotravelers, began investigating Fika.

Stocking up on cardamom, I first explored Johanna Kindvall’s Vetebullar. Always one to throw whole wheat flour into everything I make, the first batch didn’t respond well. The second batch made true to recipe, white flour and all, was amazing. I tweaked the third batch with half whole grain and while it was ok, wasn’t like that second batch. On my baking docket is a fourth batch of Vetebullar, one to incorporate my new-found love: Kamut.

After getting the vibe of the recipes, I turned to Tartine Book No. 3 for more. No. 3 is the culmination of Chad Robertson’s time in Scandinavia, exploring different grains, studying and creating with native bakers. With two-thirds of the book devoted to bread, and bread the reason I have the book, I forgot that the remaining recipes are pastry. Pastry using spelt and Kamut and barley and rye. These recipes, none overly sweet, fit easily into what I was reading about Fika. I arranged a baking day with Niece No. 1 and set a date for a Family Fika Event.

The Sunday following Thanksgiving had the World Travelers, most of my family and in-laws, gathered in the afternoon. We pulled espresso drinks for all, ate Vetebellar Twists & Rolls, Chamomile-Kamut Shortbread, Kamut-Walnut Shortbread, Fig-Walnut Cookies, Cardamom Einkorn Crumb Cake, an allergen-free Chocolate Sunflower Cookie, with a few other offerings. We talked and laughed and cheered on the Seahawks.IMG_0240

The Seahawks, and Fika, won.