Scones, Skivers, and Hospitality: Part Two
Aunt Gerda, my husband’s spunky 90 something year old aunt, came to the US from Denmark when she was only five. Her family has been an integral part of the Solvang, CA community for more than 80 of her years. My husband spent most of his youth there as well. Gerda always insists on feeding us when we are in her town, as hospitality is something that is as important to her as breathing.
That hospitality comes in many forms. Sometimes, it is leaving the front door open for us, sometimes it is serving us ice cream. At least once during our time in Solvang, she will insist on us going to the Solvang Restaurant where they serve authentic Danish food. They know Gerda there and treat her like the royalty she is. They seat us quickly and keep our coffee hot.
Solvang, and particularly the Solvang Restaurant is known for a melt-in-your mouth, ridiculously delectable treat called Aeblskivers. It is a sphere type pancake made in a special pan with wells that you fill with batter and slowly turn using a special stick or knitting needle.
Years ago, I discovered one of these treasures packed away and forgotten. My husband had saved his money and purchased this for his mother when he was only eight years old. He educated me on what it was and quickly added that NOBODY makes aebleskivers like Aunt Gerda. I promptly got her recipe and began experimenting.
If you have ever stayed in my home, you have probably been a recipient of this handed down mound of hospitality. Pretty much everybody gets the opportunity to partake in an aebleskiver feast, but more importantly gets to participate in the art of aebleskiver making. It is not only a delicious way to entertain company, but it gives me a chance to share a gift that was given to me, handed down from one generation to the next.
While a good recipe is important, the most vital ingredient is heart. I always balk at recipes that list “love” as an ingredient, but without love, food is just a means to an end. For me, the love part of this recipe comes in sharing a part of our family heritage, in teaching, in practicing hospitality not by just offering food, but friendship and the genuine delight when guests get their first taste of deliciousness covered in powdered sugar or jam.
I still use the fifty-plus year-old, cast-iron, well-seasoned pan. If you go to look for one of these pans, I suggest cast-iron aebleskiver pan with deep wells. You can find them on Amazon, but honestly, the best place to find a good old-fashioned pan is in an antique or thrift store.
My desire is not just to share a good recipe, but to honor the moms, aunts, and grandmas that have inspired me not to be ordinary; but be who God created me to be and to share hospitality beyond the four walls of my kitchen from my heart to yours.
Romans 12:9-13 (NIV) Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Aunt Gerda’s Aebleskivers
*Begin heating cast iron aebleskiver pan to a high-medium heat to ensure it is heated evenly.
4 cups flour
4 cups buttermilk*
¼ cup oil or melted butter*
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
*The amount of buttermilk and oil can vary depending on how thick you like your batter.
- Separate eggs
- Beat egg whites
- Add oil, buttermilk, and egg yolks into to dry ingredients
- Fold in egg whites
- Put about ½ to 1 tsp of oil in each aebleskiver well and let warm up a bit.
- Do a test run with only one aebleskiver to ensure your pan is ready
- Fill each well with batter to just below the rim
- Let cook for about one minute
- (If you want to fill with jam, fruit or other filling, do so now.
- Gently insert knitting needle straight down and pull partially cooked aebleskiver up one quarter turn
- Repeat previous step until aebleskiver is cooked all the way through and is crispy brown on the outside
- Serve with powdered sugar, your favorite jam or syrup and whipped cream
It usually takes a batch or two to perfect your art of aebleskiver making. Keep trying until you get them the way you like them. Add your own spice and fillings. If you have a cake pop maker, you can use it. But the best aebleskivers are made with a lot of love and a good cast iron pan.