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[MSP] Aebleskiver for Mother’s Day and beyond

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Several chowhounds gathered on Sunday morning to try the “Danish brunch” at Danebo in Minneapolis. Some part of Danebo is indeed an assisted living facility, but it is also (and, I think, primarily) a Danish cultural center.

The brunch menu opened with orange juice, coffee and a plate of pastries. A basket of rolls and thinly-sliced rye bread could be topped with butter, jam, mild cheese or salami. The main plate held scrambled eggs with ham, fresh fruit salad (strawberries, grapes, watermelon) and aebleskiver.

Traditional for Danes, aebleskiver are totally new for me. Near as I can tell, they are made in a griddle pan with six or seven indentations, as if to hold a set of ping-pong balls. The indentations are heated and filled with a bit of oil and a dollop of pancake-like batter. As the batter starts to set, attentive cooks rotate the dollop a bit at a time until it forms a ball.

The rotation seemed to produce a lighter texture than pancakes, with the tiniest bit of a crust. They were nearly hollow in the middle. Aebleskiver are served with syrup or jam – perhaps lingonberry in the old country, but strawberry here. I liked them quite a bit.

Danny, The Chowish Lurker, EarlofSandwich, ajs -- do chime in, what did you think???

As noted in another post, you can try these goodies for yourselves later this summer at the Aebleskiver Days in Tyler, MN.

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  1. A few logistical notes for those who might be interested in other events at Danebo:
    1. Mapquest met its match. The front lawn of Danebo is on the W. River Rd. between 31st St. and the Lake St. bridge, adjacent to Minnehaha Academy’s north campus. The parking lot entrance is on a neighborhood street and harder to see from Lake St. than it is from the W. River Rd.
    2. Trust but verify. The website listed brunch admission as $6.50 for adult non-members. The prices at the door were $10.00 for adult non-members, $8.00 for adult members.
    3. Promptness counts. Brunch opened at 9:30am. At 10:10am there was no table room for a party of six. We waited in line for a space to open up, and there was still a line when we left. There are no reservations.
    4. Ambience is as ambience does. A basement dining room like the one we found is symbolic of spaghetti dinners, ice cream socials, pancake breakfasts, AYCE fish fries and town hall bean feeds all over the country. It reflects a community’s effort to bring its members together and fund its own work. I might not take my mother unless it was her own community, yet do appreciate that this tradition continues.

    6 Replies
    1. re: KTFoley

      I find the descriptions of Aebleskiver so fascinating because in Thailand this past winter we went on a chartered boat tour and while waiting for our boat women were cooking up and serving what sounds like very similar little things. These women had a 1' diameter skillet with many, many quarter size indentations. The would pour the batter into them and then when they were almost done cooking either flip them over or take one 1/2 sphere and put it on top of another to make a full sphere (I can't remember which). They weren't very flavorful but it was absolutely intriguing as I've never seen anything like that contraption.

      1. re: katebauer

        Aebleskiver pans are probably about the same size but the indentations are probably 2 inches in diameter. The aebleskivers were as good as I remember them; light, fluffy and perfectly round.

        1. re: The Chowish Lurker

          Oh, I just found this recipe for Thai pancakes and they suggest using an Aebleskiver pan :)

          http://www.supatra.com/pages/thaicook...

      2. re: KTFoley

        Aebleskiver=gooood.

        The rest of the affair was pretty much what I imagined that it would be, and was mostly harmless. I was expecting a Church Supper (or in this case, brunch) sort of deal, and that's what we got.
        The room was pleasantly abuzz with a throng of happy diners. Organizational skills were kind of lacking, but as KTFoley points out, this sort of thing is really a little more about the community than the chow. Speaking of the chow...

        The cheese (a havarti?) was nicely room temperature and soft, and went well with the pumpernickel and salami.
        For May, the fresh fruit was surprisingly, well, fresh. The scrambled eggs/ham were nicely scrambled, and perfectly innocuous.
        I did not sample the coffee.
        I think that Danebo knows their audience, and played to it quite well, but I am not really their audience.

        That said, bring me about fifty aebleskivers, a vat of grade B maple syrup, maybe a bowl of melted butter to dunk them in, a rasher of bacon, and a pitcher of Mimosa any old day, and watch me chortle with delight, and full mouth. Them rascals is gooood.
        What I don't quite get, though, is why they exist. They taste very pancakelike, but would seem to be much more labor intensive. Be interesting to know how they came to be. Or, on the other hand, did pancakes descend from aebleskiver, due perhaps to a lack of proper pans over here in the Colonies?

        I note that wikipedia talks about aebleskiver traditionally being served with bits of apple, or an applesauce filling. As well as a hootch called gloogg. That could certainly be jolly. Also, in Denmark, they are associated with Christmas, which could explain how being labor-intensive is not really a factor. What do I know, I'm Hungarian-Swiss.

        Anyway, much thanks to KTFoley, et. al., for coming up with a swell way to spend a Sunday morning. In retrospect, I should have wandered up to the art gallery portion of the building, and had a gander. Another time, perhaps.

        1. re: ajs

          Once you used to making them, they're not much more labor intensive than pancakes. You just rotate the batter in the pan - the guy doing the cooking was much better at it than I am!

          And, you can make them in much bigger batches. It looked like their pan turned out 25 at a time - the one we use at home ( https://secure.lodgemfg.com/storefron... ) makes seven at a time. You need a lot more room to turn out that many pancakes using an equal amount of batter!

          1. re: Danny

            I hadn't considered the whole square footage thing, Danny. That makes very good sense to me.
            25 at a time --a nice, single serving pan, in my book!

      3. Sounds so fun! I'm sorry I missed it.

        MNSnow, in the thread where you originally mentioned this, thought Danebo does this aebleskiver brunch monthly, whereas you were under the impression it was somehow special for Mother's Day. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39884... Were you able to find out whether, in fact, they do this monthly and, if so, what was available at this brunch but not at the regular brunches?

        ~TDQ