So there's this pan. We've had it for, oh, maybe ten years. It's been sat in a drawer at my parents' house, unloved, and I rediscovered it over easter. It makes Æbleskiver, Danish Pancake Puffs, which I have discovered today are, quite frankly, delicious! They are little light balls which can be filled with all sorts of flavours. The possibilities for flavour combinations are endless but the ones I'm making are filled with mascarpone and lemon cream which is tangy, fresh and decidedly yummy.
If there's one person that's possibly even more addicted to baking and cooking ware and gadgets than me, it's my mum! When they spent a decade out in Toronto, we discovered our love for Williams-Sonoma and my mum used to get drawn into all the in-store demos and come home laden with all the necessary kitchenware and ingredients required to make them at home. Cue, the Æbleskiver pan. I secretly love the hordes of different cooking bits and bobs she's gathered over the years!
Making these pancakes was a voyage into the unknown as I haven't made or tasted them before. The batter and filling are simple to make; the cooking of them takes a little more technique! We start by making the Lemon and Mascarpone Cream which is as simple as it sounds -- equal amounts of mascarpone and lemon curd beaten together for a few minutes until smooth and creamy, then refrigerated until you're ready to cook the pancakes. I would make this to taste and would have an even tangier lemon cream next time as it's one of my favourite flavours.
The pancake batter is again an easy recipe using buttermilk. First of all, the dry ingredients are mixed together in a bowl. Then the egg yolks are lightly beaten in a separate bowl and the buttermilk whisked into the egg mixture. This is added to the dry ingredients and mixed until combined. You get a rather lumpy mixture so don't fear if you don't have something beautifully smooth at this stage!
As I whisked the egg white to stiff peaks, my batter puffed up in its bowl and then I added the egg whites in 2 stages, stirring through with a metal spoon. We're almost ready to make the pancakes but first need to melt some butter for your pan.
The process moves pretty quickly now, especially if you have different measuring spoons trying to get everything into the pan in order. First of all, you pop 1/2 tsp melted butter into each pan cavity and wait for it to bubble. Then add 1 tbsp batter, top it with 1/2 tsp lemon cream and then finally cover it with another 1 tbsp batter. This is all quite fiddly and I had the heat up too high for the first batch so trying to get all of these different elements into the pan before I needed to flip each ball was all very hectic.
I abandoned the spoons for the second batch and popped the batter and lemon cream into two separate piping bags. Much simpler! I also turned the heat down to low so the whole process felt much calmer :) After you've added your two lots of batter and cream to each cavity, after 3-4 minutes the balls should be ready to flip. When we make regular pancakes, we always wait for the first few bubbles to appear on the surface so we know we're ready to flip them and these little balls were the same. They're also pretty easy to slide around and check how well cooked they are underneath. I spun them round with the aid of two teaspoons but you can use cocktail sticks if you prefer.
They come out of the pan very easily and after you transfer them to a plate, liberally sprinkle them with icing sugar to make them look really pretty.
I read up on whether you need to invest in one of these pans to make the pancake balls and the unfortunate answer is that you do if you want the ball shape which after all, makes them pretty cute. Although you probably won't be making lots of different creations with this pan, the flavour combos are endless and I'm already dreaming up both sweet and savoury ideas for them :)
I squirrelled away a few of them for hubby tonight and just thought I'd check out whether they're still good cold and I am very pleased to confirm that they absolutely are -- think doughnut texture and super yummy!
My boys and I have already come up with our next few flavour combos - stay tuned ;-)
Lemon & Mascarpone Pancakes
adapted from Williams Sonoma's Lemon-Mascarpone Filled Pancakes
Makes around 20 pancake balls
- 80G MASCARPONE
- 80G LEMON CURD
- 250G PLAIN FLOUR
- 3/4 TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- 1 TSP BAKING POWDER
- 1.5 TBSP CASTER SUGAR
- 1/2 TSP SALT
- 1/2 LEMON, ZEST ONLY
- 3 EGGS, SEPARATED
- 420ML BUTTERMILK
- 100G MELTED BUTTER
- ICING SUGAR, TO DECORATE
- To make the Lemon & Mascarpone Cream, put the mascarpone and lemon curd into the bowl of a freestanding mixer and beat for around 3 minutes until smooth
- Cover and refrigerate until you're ready to make the pancakes
- Place all the dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, baking powder, caster sugar, salt and lemon zest) into a bowl and stir to combine
- Put the egg yolks in a separate bowl and whisk lightly
- Add the buttermilk and again whisk lightly until combined
- Whisk the egg and buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until combined - you will have a thick and lumpy mixture at this stage
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peak
- Gently fold the egg whites into the batter in two additions and ensure that the mixture is all combined
- Place the batter and the lemon cream into two separate piping bags
- Melt the butter
- Place the pan on a low heat and add a teaspoon of butter to each cavity
- When the butter is bubbling gently, add around 1 tbsp batter into each cavity
- Then insert the tip of the lemon cream bag gently into the top of the batter and add 1/2 teaspoon cream
- Cover this with another tablespoon of batter
- When little bubbles start to appear on the surface of the batter, it's time to flip them gently using 2 teaspoons to help rotate them
- Cook the other side for around another 3 minutes
- It's easy to rotate the pancake balls in their cavity so you can check that you're happy they're cooked all around
- When cooked, gently remove them from the pan and transfer to a plate
- Sprinkle them with icing sugar
- They are best eaten warm but are also yummy cold so be sure to make up a whole batch and you can eat them later for a sweet snack :)