Monday, September 6, 2010


"It's a little tricky at first cause sometimes you have to give it a bit of finger."  That was Doc's suggestion for this week's (#41) FridayFlashFiction's starter sentence, but it didn't get enough votes.  However, it has inspired me to write this story ... not fiction, it's true.


"It's a little tricky at first cause sometimes you have to give it a bit of finger."

That’s how I would have begun the lesson in making æbelskiver, or ebelskivers as we say in English.

Æbelskiver is a Danish word meaning “apple slices”. Well, “slices” doesn’t really fit the bill. Wikipedia describes them as: traditional Danish pancakes in a distinctive shape of a sphere. Somewhat similar in texture to American pancakes crossed with a popover …

I watched the “training” video on my laptop. It all went so smoothly. There was an air of monastic meditation about the almost buddha-like demonstrator as she calmly went through the steps: mixing the batter, heating the pan, brushing the butter into the little round recesses, dropping in the batter, turning them with non-metal skewers when they were cooked just so. Not a drop of batter out of place, either on her immaculately clean clothes or the counter top. It was like watching the Japanese tea ceremony.

She made it all look so-o-o-o easy. Her and her “I’m just floating through this demo” manner.

Now it was my turn. Surely I too could achieve enlightenment this way.

My sister had sent me an æbelskiver pan for my birthday. I grated apples and cooked them with brown sugar, butter, spices and lemon juice.  So far, so good.  I mixed up the batter with plain flour, baking powder, buttermilk, sour cream and so on.  So far, so good.  I heated the pan and brushed the wells with unsalted butter.  So far, so good.

I added blobs of batter to the sizzling wells, not always elegantly.  I got batter in more places than I was supposed to.  My hands are a bit shaky at the best of times.  Then I added a bit of apple mixture to each one, still not always elegantly.  Bits of apple clung to the spaces between the wells.  Finally, another blob of batter ... and wait for them to cook.  The bottoms were burning before the tops started to firm up. I turned the flame down as far as it would go without blowing out.  The timer said they still had a minute to go on that side. I turned them anyhow, using two bamboo skewers, one on each side of the pancake and ... over they went.

They didn’t always land neatly on the other side.  This is where I suggest a bit of finger is needed to position them nicely ... and that is what I did.  When the pancakes looked nice and brown, I up-ended them onto a waiting platter and waited for them to cool down a bit before hoeing in.  I dusted them with sifted icing sugar mixed with cinnamon and served them with cream.  Hmm, some are not quite cooked inside. I think I need to try another one.  Yes, that one was good.  Maybe just one more to make sure.  I ate all 21 of them in a matter of hours.

I had uncooked batter all over the counter top; and me; and the frypan; and the floor; and the utensils.  In fact, everywhere in the known universe had batter on some part of it.  It seemed, then, that this was not going to be my path to enlightenment.

I made another batch the next day. Yes, the next day. I know, I’m a guts. I made them under the pretext that I was going to share them with other people. I didn’t.


  1. Wow, I never even heard of things, though the only thing Danish about me is my birth name. They sound quite good.

  2. I am one-eighth Danish, so I reckon my talent for making Danish pancakes is about in the same proportion.
    MOVE OVER PRINCESS MARY! There's another Aussie/Dane breathing down your neck. Can you make ebelskiver?



As I walk by the river or sit in my tiny garden, not thinking of anything in particular, thoughts sometimes seep into my brain. If you'd like to read my seepage, here it is ...