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What’s for dinner? (10.4.08)

October 4, 2008

I love pancakes. Another brilliant food invention – so simple, so versatile, so yummy and satisfying. Imagine my sheer delight to discover there’s something even better out there.

I was headed to the local Williams-Sonoma brick-and-mortar at lunch one day (hunting for sources for more of my new favorite line of cookware, All-Clad Copper Core), when I stepped in the door and came face-to-face with my latest obsession: aebleskiver. Danish for “apple slices,” aebleskiver (a.k.a. ebelskiver) are small puffed pancakes stuffed with jams, chocolate, butters, fruit, etc., that Scandanavians have enjoyed for generations.

Now, working in marketing, you’d think I’d be immune to the wiles of the front-end store display. But, all the stars had aligned for the merchandisers at W-S this week, and somehow they had assembled a table of products that might as well have had a sign hanging over it reading, “Karen, these products are just for you.”

I don’t recall how I first heard about aebleskiver. Probably from the Chef’s Catalog I receive. (So, where have I been all this time, through all these Scandanavian generations, you might ask? Not sure. And heck, I even studied Swedish in college…) But, ever since I saw a photo of those little round stuffed pancakes, their potential for all manner of yummy goodness hasn’t been far from my thoughts. So, that day, I turned the corner, and all in one huge aisle-blocking display was: an aebleskiver pan, pumpkin pancake mix, and pecan pumpkin butter (huzzah huzzah). And, the kicker, a stack of recipe cards for Pecan Pumpkin Filled Pancakes.

I was powerless before it. It was simply meant to be.

So, $80 lighter and one novelty pan later, I knew what I was going to have for dinner on Saturday. (Note: the pan is the cat’s pajamas, and I’m glad I have it, but you can get it at least $10 cheaper elsewhere. Sorry, W-S, but you know you’re over-priced, and proud of it.)

Now, skipping briefly ahead to the end, the recipe is just awesome, as were the food products from W-S. Everything is highly recommended. It was also kinda fun experimenting with a technique that requires you use to wooden skewers for non-kabob purposes.

Here's the pan.  Its non-stick surface is a huge help, as these little babies are fragile until fully cooked, and makes clean-up a breeze, too.

Here's the pan. Its non-stick surface is a huge help, as these little 'skivers are fragile until fully cooked, and makes clean-up a breeze, too.

Here's the pancake mix and the pumpkin butter I used as a filling.

Here's the pancake mix and the pumpkin butter I used as a filling.

For the filling, the pecan pumpkin butter is mixed with cream cheese.  (Yeah, in case you're wondering, it's good enough to eat straight out of the bowl.)

For the filling, the pecan pumpkin butter is mixed with cream cheese. (Yeah, in case you're wondering, it's good enough to eat straight out of the bowl.)

The pancake mix is thick and lovely with spices and chopped pecans.

The pancake mix is thick and lovely with spices and chopped pecans.

Spoon the batter by the tablespoon into each cavity and let it cook for a minute or so.

Spoon the batter by the tablespoon into each cavity and let it cook for a minute or so.

When the batter begins to bubble and pull away from the side, send in the skewers.  As the recipe indicates, you'll use two skewers to tilt and turn the aebleskiver.

When the batter begins to bubble and pull away from the side, send in the skewers. As the recipe indicates, you'll use two skewers to tilt and turn the aebleskiver.

First, you use a skewer to tilt the abelskiver up so that a bit of the batter runs out, creating a pocket to spoon the filling into.

First, you use a skewer to tilt the abelskiver up so that a bit of the batter runs out, creating a pocket to spoon the filling into.

Turning the stuffed aebleskiver for the last leg of cooking is a two-handed operation (and I can't find my camera tripod), so, no photo, but, once you get the hang of it, the wooden skewers - as opposed to a spoon or tongs - makes all the sense in the world.

Turning the stuffed aebleskiver for the last leg of cooking is a two-handed operation (and I can't find my tripod), so, no photo, but, once you get the hang of it, the wooden skewers - as opposed to a spoon or tongs - makes all the sense in the world.

I placed the finished aebleskiver in a separate pan on low to keep warm while I finished preparing the remaining batches.  With a little maple syrup and a side of savory sausage links, oh my, that was one helluva meal.

I placed the finished aebleskiver in a separate pan on low to keep warm while I finished preparing the remaining batches. With a little maple syrup and a side of savory sausage links, oh my, that was one helluva meal.

I cannot wait to try other fillings – maybe even savory fillings….

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