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.

Pancake Star Wars

Junior received a set of Star Wars pancake molds for Christmas. We tried them out using our usual batter ratios, but with 100% Kamut. I didn’t read the instructions and realized after the batter was all over the first set that I should have sprayed a little something on the mold. Those pancakes went directly to the chickens. The next set, a Millennium Falcon and X-Wing turned out, except that the X-Wing looks more like a starfish:IMG_0376

The next pair, a Tie Fighter (or Tie Interceptor) and a Millennium Falcon looked pretty good (as compared to my very unstaged stove top):IMG_0374

until I tried to flip the Tie Interceptor Fighter. It crashed hard:IMG_0375

Of the 3 shapes, the Millennium Falcon was the simplest and most sure to have recognizable results. Junior had fun but what a pain to clean these things! These are the types of gadgets that seem too good to be true in their super cute packaging on the shelves at Williams Sonoma.  When the pushing gets to shoving, when the batter actually hits the griddle, it’s not really very cute. We’ll use them again; maybe we can produce some stop motion breakfast battle movie.

I was very happy with the Kamut, which produced crazy fluffy, crazy light results. I did make this batter thinner than I usually do, what with using the molds. And I didn’t drop any frozen blueberries or raspberries onto the cooking batter like I usually do. If you’ve not tried raspberry pancakes, you really should.

Here’s how the batter happened today:

Kamut Pancakes

8 oz Kamut flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 eggs

8 oz kefir

8 oz milk

Preheat a griddle or pan. I love using cast iron. In a larger bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, kefir, and milk. When the pan is ready, ladle out 1/3-1/2 cup batter. After the pancake gets bubbled, flip it.

Serve with syrup or jam or apple butter or apple slices sautéed with butter and cinnamon or add yogurt to the pancakes with any of these other things, it’ll all be good!

 

Cake Plate

Last year I gave a Green Cameo Depression Glass Cake Plate to my mom for Christmas. With the plate, I gave instructions that the green beauty be returned to me 5 times during the year, wherein I would send it back burdened with cake.

Vintage
Vintage

My mom was remiss until sometime in October, when her obedience to the gift instructions was speedily rewarded with a most delicious apple cake, a cake I have no pictures of, and whose recipe I am now unable to locate, but it did exist, the small kitchen sample being gobbled up quickly.

When the plate returned to my tiny kitchen, I was awash in pumpkin and found a pumpkin cake recipe on Food52. I did my usual alterations, combining different flours and reducing sugar, the result worthy of the delicate support.

The usual suspects
The usual suspects

The egg whites, separated from the yolks, are only whisked until white and frothy.

White and frothy
White and frothy
Folding
Folding

The finished cake requires candied pumpkin seeds for the garnish: lightly toasted seeds coated with caramelized sugar and a little butter. This was easy to carry out while the cake was in the oven.

Pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Can I get a "Yum?!?"
Can I get a “Yum?!?”

The cream cheese icing was a snap, the whole project straightforward.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas

With anything in the kitchen, nothing should be served without being tasted first. I mean, what if I had mixed up the salt and sugar or the pumpkin had turned or …? In any regard, I have 3 more cakes to go and not much time. Need to get that plate back!

So good.
So good.

Reincarnation

Swedish, Norwegian, a tiny tidge of Irish, and bits of other Northern European Peoples are what make up my DNA. I have the ruddy skin and stocky ankles belonging to any quality Scandinavian grandmother. But lefse, lutefisk, and långkok? These leave me cold. The foods that move and comfort me are pastas, red wine braises, polenta, porcini, and Sangiovese.

I must have been Italian in a past life.

My dinners and parties usually pay homage to my adopted or former nationality without apology. Most recently I made dinner for thirteen guests, celebrating friendship and the season of Christmas. Armed with my copy of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, here’s what I served:

Antipasti

Olive, Genoa Salami e Parmigiano

Prosciutto San Daniele con la Mela

Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

Primi

Ravioli con Ricotta e Pomodoro

Secondi

Manzo Brasato al Vino Rosso

Forno Patate Arrosto a Dadini

Venda Colli Euganei Rosso

Contorno

Fagiolini al Limone

Zucca Arrosto

Insalata

Verdure Miste con Scaglie di Parmigiano

Dolce

Crostata di Mele

Semifreddo di Cioccolato

There were elements that really worked and some that could have been better. A thicker ravioli pasta would have kept the parcels from rupturing but the texture and taste were very good. The braised beef was amazing, and my first attempt at semifreddo was tasty indeed.

Multiple course dinners are tricky in my tiny kitchen but I’m willing to keep practicing. The only apology I’ll make for being an Italian wannabe is that I use Google to translate. Language learning is on my list of things to do but I’d rather cook and eat. Salud!