Danish Aebleskiver

Culture | FIND Iowa
Apr 18, 2024 | 05:55
Question:

What cultural contributions have Danish Americans made to Iowa? 

Aebleskiver is a special Danish treat and tastes similar to a pancake or a donut.

Transcript

[Tova Brandt] Aebleskiver are basically round pancake balls.

[Abby Brown] I love pancakes.

[Tova] And so it takes a little extra practice to know how to make it. These go on a stove top and you heat them up, dip your batter in and make your aebleskiver. These are very specialized pans. You have to keep turning them and turning them and turning them. And then in Denmark you usually eat them on Christmas Eve with powdered sugar and jam.

[Abby] Even more delicious. So it would be like a special occasion.

[Tova] It's a special occasion in Denmark. But, for Danish-Americans in this country because it is so close to pancakes, this became even more common. And so more Danish-Americans will eat these as a breakfast food, not all the time, it's still a special breakfast. But eat them with maple syrup, maybe sausage and it's really more of a breakfast meal.

[Abby] We've changed it a little bit because now we eat it for breakfast. But people are still eating it today, correct?

[Tova] That's true. Both in Denmark and the United States, aebleskiver are still a special treat.

[Abby] And here in Iowa too.

[Tova] Absolutely.

[Abby] Awesome. Oh yes, it looks like we're going to be doing some cooking! What are we making?

[Annette Andersen] Oh, we're going to make you some Danish aebleskiver today.

[Abby] That sounds amazing.

[Annette] It's just kind of a small round ball or you could call it a pancake, but we call it aebleskiver.

[Abby] Aebleskiver, did I say it right?

[Annette] Right. It kind of has to cook in a little grease.

The trick is to getting the oil the right temp so they don't burn. And then I keep turning them until I get a nice ball. The trick is to get all the dough to cook through. This is what I made in the kitchen and this is what we're going to have to eat.

[Abby] I'm ready for a taste.

[Annette] Oh good. Well, it's very simple. You're going to have a plate and this is nice royal Copenhagen china. Nothing is too good for an aebleskiver.

[Abby] I love it! What do I do first?

[Annette] And then you take the bowl, it has a little sugar in there, and put a spoonful on your plate.

[Abby] That's a lot of sugar.

[Annette] You don't need to eat the whole thing. And if you like jelly --

[Abby] I do.

[Annette] Okay, you can take a little jelly too and then you can dip. And now, I have forks on the table.

[Abby] Oh, thank you very much.

[Annette] But, as Danes, that's too fussy.

[Abby] I agree!

[Annette] You take a couple and I'm going to take a couple. And dip it in the sugar and take a good bite.

[Abby] Mmm.

[Annette] They have a nice taste, better than a pancake.

[Abby] I was just going to say that, it's more like a donut than a pancake.

[Annette] It could be, yeah.

[Abby] It's delicious.

[Annette] You can put jelly in it also and a lot of people like it that way.

[Abby] Mmm-mmm.

[Annette] The jelly is good.

[Abby] I like the jelly. So, when they first started making aebleskiver it was considered a full meal, correct?

[Annette] Yes. Back in Denmark it has always been as a meal mostly in the evening. At home when I grew up, my mother liked to fix it for Sunday evening.

[Abby] So, you're a first generation immigrant from Denmark. What was growing up in your household like?

[Annette] Well, it was interesting because I didn't speak English until I went to school in Kimballton.

[Abby] Okay. So are you still bilingual?

[Annette] Yes.

[Abby] Can you teach me some of your native language?

[Annette] Yes. Mostly we teach, we taught our children to say tak, tak for måltidet. Thanks for the meal.

[Abby] Oh, I love that. And I know that you have a craft that you like to teach kids too. Tell me about that.

[Annette] Yes. I love to do papirklip.

[Abby] Papirklip?

[Annette] Yes.

[Abby] Did I just say paper cutting?

[Annette] Yes you did.

[Abby] Okay. So tell me about paper cutting.

[Annette] Paper cutting is just a matter of finding a pattern that you like and getting it on a piece of paper. I like to put it on the folded piece and then I cut that side out and then I cut an identical one out of the other side and then I sew them together, I put a string and I have a little mobile.

[Abby] Annette, thank you so much. This has been a treasured experience. Tak for måltidet.

[Annette] You're welcome.