Referred to as pancakes, dumplings or even doughnut holes in English, Danish æbleskivers are served as a treat throughout the month of December. While you can buy aebleskivers pre-frozen in the shops, nothing beats the vanilla and cardamom scent and tender texture of homemade pancakes. To make them you will need a special æbleskivers pan, which is a skillet with 6 to 8 round indentations. Cast iron is best. Makes 20.
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 envelope dry yeast or .6 ounce fresh yeast (1 cake)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 vanilla bean
2 large eggs, separated
Unsalted European-style butter
Strawberry or raspberry preserves
Heat milk in a small saucepan until lukewarm. Remove from heat and pour into a medium bowl. Add yeast and let it dissolve.
Combine flour, sugar, salt and cardamon in a medium bowl. Split vanilla bean and scrape seeds into the dry ingredients. Whisk the egg yolks into the milk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour and mix well. Beat egg whites in bowl of electric mixer until stiff. Fold into batter. Let stand one hour at room temperature.
Melt 1/2 teaspoon butter in each indentation of an aebleskiver pan over medium heat. Pour batter into each indentation, about 2/3 full. Cook until golden brown underneath, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wooden skewer, turn æbleskivers over and continue to cook until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer æbleskivers to a plate lined with a paper towel, and repeat with remaining batter. Serve æbleskivers with powdered sugar and preserves. Accompany with gløgg.