Tuesday, December 18, 2007
On The Eighteenth Day of Christmas: [DANSK] Æbleskiver
Allow me to continue where I left off yesterday - yes, I most certainly will stretch those photos from the Julestue for as many days and posts as possible!
I shot the photos the day after the actual get-together. As I said yesterday, I try to organize myself out of anything that may happen, but I sure am busy like a little bee when I do these things. I'm not quite the proverbial chicken without it's head, and people generally get fed within a short time after they've arrived, but. Still. I have, over time, managed to get so together that I no longer relive the first birthday party I threw all by myself, where the first dish was on the table oh, a good three hours after people had arrived. But. Busy. So it's not often I get to take photos during the party (of people, maybe, but food, seldom) and besides, it was already dark outside. We all know that me + photos + darkness is no good match.
What I do try to manage is to get some photos of making the food - you can only imagine how many pictures I have of ingredients and batters and so on, with no end result. Hey, maybe I should start making little "guess what dish these photos adds up to?"-quizzes?
But, I digress. I try to organize myself out of the hoo-hah. Like, I make sure I have all the plates and glasses and serving dishes that I need ready, and I know what dish goes in which bowl and on what platter. I set the table and get out the extra chairs. I make sure new candles are put in their holders and the soap dispensers are filled (and that extra toilet paper is stocked). I make sure my pantry is well-stocked: sugar, flour, salt, spices etc. Oh yes, and freezer bags, parchment paper, paper towels, and napkins are at the ready - nothing more annoying than running out of any of these when you have 25+ people stopping by. I do this several days in advance.
I also make as much as possible of the food beforehand. I make dough for bread and leave for over-night rising. The soup (and more about that later) was made two days in advance and kept in the fridge. The glögg extract was made a good 14 days before I needed it.
This was not one of my bigger events (people-wise, yes, but the food was kept pretty simple, and my mother-in-law even brought a couple things), so arranging for extra fridge space wasn't an issue. Neither was matching recipes you could do well in advance (and maybe even freeze) with recipes that needed a simple arranging or recipes that needed heating or cutting just before serving. I will usually do a little calculating in my head - especially because I like serving lots of smaller dishes - regarding how many dishes that need to be on the stovetop and/or in the oven, and those needing to be lukewarm, compared to how many dishes that will almost already be on the table when people arrive. There is plenty of calculating to do - and sometimes, I err on things.
Like these æbleskiver. I thought I'd figured out how long it would take for me to make them. Making one try-out batch on Thursday night, using one pan, taking me about 45 minutes, I figured I could do a quadruple batch, using two pans and get it over with in about 2 hours. I figured I could heat glögg and boil water for tea and coffee and arrange cookies in between turning the æbleskiver, 'cause you don't need to watch them like a hawk all the time. It would be perfect.
As you may have guessed, that didn't work out exactly as planned, but hey, I actually think there's a charm to greeting your guests while still in an apron. I like my apron, and it just goes to show that I actually cook and bake what I serve myself. Luckily, my guests are the kind that will gladly don one of the other aprons in the kitchen and lend me a hand - that is exactly the kind of place I want to live in. A place where people feel at home, where they aren't afraid to jump in to help because they're intimidated by the cook, and where they are greeted by the scent of lemon zest, baking and freshly brewed coffee wafting through the door and down the stairs. Mmm, home.
Æbleskiver - Camilla Plum's Jul
The translation of æbleskiver is apple slices, but there's nothing slice about these and in the commercial version definitely nothing apple either. The name, however, does stem from there originally being added a slice of apple to the batter as it was cooking, just before turning it over. I added apple (in cubes) to mine, and liked the little fresh fruit burst it gave.
Commercial æbleskiver are a lot greasier and more puffy than the ones I made. I'm sure with training, I could get rounder and prettier looking æbleskiver, but tastewise, these definitely beat the commercial variety (am I surprised? No ;)) For another time, I'll make them well in advance (the day, or even two before), especially if I'm feeding a crowd - you have to start early to get them done, so no matter what, the first ones you've made will have gotten cold and need reheating. Once made, if making them well in advance, you can keep them in the fridge, then reheat them in a 50-100 degree Celsius hot oven, laying them out on baking sheets and covering with foil. It's my experience that while in the fridge, they harden up a bit, but after 5-10 minutes in that lukewarm oven they go soft and supple again, just the way I like them. In my opinion, æbleskiver aren't supposed to be crusty goods, but they can be, depending on how long you heat them. If that's the way you want them, just heat them a little longer.
You do need an æbleskiver-pande for this. That there is no way around :)
Makes about 25
250 ml. milk
15 g. yeast
3 eggs - divided in yolks and whites
1 tablespoon sugar
200 g. flour
½ teaspoon groudn cardamom - or more if you like
zest of one lemon
65 g. melted butter
8 small apples, I used a variety called pigeon, I'm nut sure what they're called in English - they're small, red-skinned, but with a perfectly white interior. The taste is reminiscent of almonds (so wise people tell me)
extra butter for the pan
Heat the milk until lukewarm and dissolve the yeast in it.
In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Into this, whisk the flour alternately with the milk/yeast blend. Stir in the melted butter, cardamom and lemon zest.
Whip the eeg whites until they form stiff peaks, then fold these into the batter.
Leave the batter somewhere warm for about 30 minutes. When the time is up, the batter should have risen a bit and be foamy and "alive".
Heat up your æbleskive-pan. Add a little butter to each hole. Once the butter has stopped foaming, add a spoonful of batter. You want the hole to be full, but definitely not overflowing. Add little cubes of apple to the batter, gently pushing it into the batter with a toothpick.
Once the batter is bubbling all around the edge, it's time to turn the æbleskive. With a toothpick (or like mu Mom suggested, a knitting pin - or maybe an old, small-ish fork?) stuck into the edge, flip the æbleskive over so the unbaked batter fills the hole. This takes some training, and the first batch usually flops (just like pancakes), but you will get the hang of it. Bake untill done, maybe turning once more. Keep up until you have no more batter.
Oh yes, last but not least - æbleskiver are served with lots of powdered sugar (NOT regular sugar!) and strawberry jam (NOT some other variety!) Heh. I mean, that's how I do it, and seeing it's Christmas and traditions and what have you, I have to say it like this, don't I? In the real world, you can have it with any kind of jam and sugar you fancy, I suppose. It's just not right, you know ;)