Æbleskiver is a traditional Danish Christmas treat that dates back to the 17th century. The Danish pronunciation of the word Æbleskiver is [ˈɛːpləˌskiːʊ̯ɐʁ], it can be difficult to pronounce, so you can also watch the video below if you want to hear for yourself how it should be pronounced in Danish. The letter ”Æ” is spelled ”AE” in English, so writing Æbleskiver as Aebleskiver, is perfectly fine to do. The word Æbleskiver is plural, and the word Æbleskive is singular.
Many Danes love to eat Æbleskiver and they are very popular in Denmark, they are often made as a snack during the afternoon or in the evening after dinner around Christmas time, which we call ”Juletid” in Danish. If you visit Denmark during December and go to one of the Christmas markets you will always find a stand that sells them.
Where does Æbleskiver NOT originate from?
One story that I’ve come across was one that I read on the web, it said there should be old Danish folklore dating thousands of years back, to when Æbleskiver was invented by the Vikings. Allegedly a group of Vikings was setting and resting next to their ships at the shore after they had fought a long and hard battle. It was then they came up with the idea to mix some flour, milk, and sugar together, and use one of their dented Viking shields, to cook these funny-looking pancake balls over an open fire.
I must admit that I had never heard about this folklore before, and neither had my family, the story is complete nonsense, and it has no basis in reality. The Æbleskive pan was invented many hundreds of years after the Viking age ended, and I doubt they used their damaged shields to cook them. It is just a little story to tell your friends over a couple of beers.
Why are they called Æbleskiver?
The name Æbleskiver literally translated into English from Danish means apple slices, æble means apple, and skiver means slices. Apple slices are not used in the present-day Æbleskiver recipes, it was actually only something that was used in the 17th century, and to the beginning of the 19th century, after that, apple slices were no longer used. However, some parts of Denmark still put fruit inside of them, in Sønderjylland and on the island of Ærø they use prune pulp.
Today it is common to use a pancake recipe to make Æbleskiver, and sometimes with a minor twist to make them Christmasly. This can, for instance, be done by adding some cardamon to the pancake dough.
Æbleskiver are cooked on top of the stove, by using a funny-looking pan made from cast iron. We call it an (in Danish: Æbleskivepande) Aebleskive pan in Denmark, and they often hang on the wall in the kitchen as a decoration all year, when they are not being used. If you are interested in purchasing one of these pans, you can find a good one by following this link to Amazon, the prices always change a bit, but the price is still one of the best that I’ve seen, and I have looked at many.. haha…
What are Æbleskiver called in Norwegian?
In Norway, they are not called Æbleskiver as they are in Denmark, but instead, they are called ”Munker”. The pans are therefore also not called a Æbleskivepande, but a Munkejern. However, the two pans are designed in the same way and are completely identical.
According to written sources from Norway, it was the Munks from an area called Arendal in southern Norway in the 19th century that was known for making these Munker. So it was probably the monks that introduced the Norwegians to this delicious Christmas treat.
What are Æbleskiver called in Swedish?
In Sweden they do not really have a tradition for Æbleskiver, however, the closest thing to them, is probably ”Munkar”, which are either round or ring-shaped just like a donut. While the name sounds like the Norwegian name Munker, they do not seem to have any connection to each other.
Æbleskiver variations in the rest of Europe
In Southern Schleswig and in Northern Friesland they call them Futjes, in the rest of Germany, they are known as Pförtchen or Pfütten. In the Netherlands they are known as Poffertjes, however, this Dutch version of a Æbleskive is much smaller and not round like the Danish version. The Poffertjes (Dutch mini pancakes) are also known as brothers, and it is believed that they originate from a Catholic tradition.
How many Æbleskiver for each person?
Portion size is typically three Æbleskiver pieces, but they are so tasty, that many people ask for 2nd and 3rds, so make sure you have more than just one portion for people to enjoy. Many of the children and adults in my family, can easily eat 6, 9, or more.
Æbleskiver recipe from 1710
This Æbleskiver recipe is from 1710 (source: Historisk Kogebog), and how our ancestors in Denmark enjoyed their Æbleskiver during Christmas. If you don’t have these ingredients, or if you don’t want to use wine, you can make Æbleskiver by using a regular pancake recipe. Although you will still need to use this unique Æbleskiver pan, which you can purchase through this link to Amazon that I talked about before. This Æbleskiver recipe is the same as the one they use in the old town (Den Gamle By) in Aarhus, in Denmark during Christmas.
It is not all the Danes that make them by themselves, pretty much all the supermarkets in Denmark sell deep-frozen Æbleskiver in December that easily can be heated in the oven. If you are in Denmark during December, I would like to recommend the brand Karen Voff if you want to purchase some deep-frozen Æbleskiver. Remember to pick up some jam as well, just pick one that you like.
- 500 grams of wheat flour
- 5 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of wine (sweet wine E.g. Port wine)
- 12 grams of yeast
- 1 (dl) decilitre of cream
- 2-3 apples cut into small pieces
How to make Æbleskiver
- Put the eggs and wine into a bowl, and mix them together while adding the wheat flour.
- Stir the yeast in a little warm water, and mix it into the dough.
- Put the cream into a pot and warm it, make sure that it is not boiling, then add it little by little to the dough.
- The dough is ready when it has a continuous but slightly thick consistency.
- Put the dough on the pan, and put a little piece of apple into each of the Æbleskiver, before you turn them.
- It is easiest to turn the Æbleskiver with a pointy tool, such as a thin knitting needle.
The Æbleskiver are served directly from the pan, and when they are still warm with your favorite jam on the side. Sometimes the drink called Gløgg, which is a Scandinavian mulled wine is served with the dish.
Æbleskiver recipe from 1888
This recipe is from the cookbook called ”Louise Nimbs kogebogen” from 1888, the portion size is for a small party.
- 500-gram wheat flour
- 1 Teaspoon of sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon of cardamom powder
- 1/2 Litre of lukewarm milk
- 3 egg yolks (save the egg whites for later)
- 25 grams of yeast
- Butter (for the cooking phase)
- Apple sauce (for the cooking phase)
How to make them
- Put the wheat flour in a bowl and mix in the sugar and cardamom.
- Stir the milk into the bowl.
- Add the egg yolks and the yeast and mix them into the dough.
- Place the dough somewhere warm for about 2 hours.
- Just before baking, whip the egg whites and fold them into the dough.
- Warm up the Æbleskiver pan on the stove, and put a little butter into each of the holes.
- When the butter is melted fill up half the hole with dough.
- When the Æbleskiver begins to turn golden brown you add a little of the apple sauce, into each of the holes.
- Turn the Æbleskiver by using a fork or something pointy, and bake them light brown on the other side.
Present-day Æbleskiver recipe
The present-day æbleskiver are made without the apple slices inside, and the recipe is pretty much the same as a pancake recipe. You can just use your own pancake recipe, and add a few spices such as cardamom to make it Christmasly.
- 250 grams of wheat flour
- 4 dl buttermilk
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon of sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon of baking soda
- 1/4 Teaspoon of coarse salt
- 3 Tablespoon of melted butter
- Divide the eggs and whip the egg whites. Then whisk the egg yolks, buttermilk, and sugar together.
- Add the wheat flour, baking soda, and salt, and whisk until the dough begins to form.
- Gently turn the egg whites into the dough, and pour the dough into a jug.
- Let the Æbleskiver pan get warm, and then add a little grease in the holes, this can, for instance, be butter.
- Fill the holes 3/4 of the way with some of the dough, and bake the Æbleskiver at medium heat.
- Turn the Æbleskiver the first time when the dough has formed a crust and is light brown, there must be so much liquid dough that the Æbleskiver can bend on the other side as well.
- Always turn them so that they can be evenly baked.
The Æbleskiver are served directly from the pan, and when they are still warm with your favorite jam on the side. Powdered sugar is often used on the side as well, or to decorate the serving so it looks a little Christmasly.